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Open Education Resources (OER)

Did You Know?

  • The high cost of some course materials can impede students’ academic success.
  • The College Board estimated that during the 2016-2017 school year, the average undergraduate could expect to pay $1170 for textbooks and supplies alone.
  • The cost of textbooks is rising at a rate of 4 times inflation.
  • Seven out of 10 students don’t purchase a required textbook during their academic career because of cost.
  • 60% of students have delayed purchasing textbooks until they’ve received their financial aid.

Benefits of OER

   OER can...By Markus Büsges (leomaria design) für Wikimedia Deutschland e. V. (Wikimedia Deutschland e. V.) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Save students money                                                                                         

Give instructors the freedom to customize their course materials

Create opportunities for open, learner-centered pedagogy

Be shared with teachers and learners around the world

The 5 R permissions

Open Educational Resources are published under open copyright licenses that empower teachers and learners to engage in the following activities:

Retain: the right to make, own, and control copies of the content. 

Reuse: the right to use the content in a wide range of ways (e.g., in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video).

Revise: the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language).

Remix: the right to combine the original or revised content with other material to create something new. 

Redistribute: the right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others.

Attribution: Florida State University Libraries Open Educational Resources Guide / CC-BY

OER Mythbusting

Myth #1: Open simply means free

Fact: Open means the permission to freely download, edit, and share materials to better serve all students

Myth #2: All OER are digital

Fact: OER take many formats, including print, digital, audio, and more

Myth #3: “You get what you pay for”

Fact: OER can be produced to the same quality standards as traditional textbooks

Myth #4: Copyright for OER is complicated

Fact: Open licensing makes OER easy to freely and legally use

Myth #5: OER are not sustainable

Fact: Models are evolving to support the sustainability and continuous improvement of OER

Myth #6: Open textbooks lack ancillaries

Fact: Open textbooks often come with ancillaries, and when they do not, existing OER can provide additional support

SPARC (2017). OER Mythbusting. Washington, DC: SPARC.

Understanding OER in ten videos