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OER: Open Educational Resources


What are Open Educational Resources?

Illustration of Redistribute, remix, reuse, rework, open educational resourcesReuse • Remix • Rework • Redistribute

"Open Educational Resources" (OERs) are any type of educational materials that are in the public domain or introduced with an open license. The nature of these open materials means that anyone can legally and freely copy, use, adapt and re-share them. OERs range from textbooks to curricula, syllabi, lecture notes, assignments, tests, projects, audio, video and animation." (UNESCO).

Original image CC By Recyclethis) licensed Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0

Why promote OER?

Improve Access, Boost Success

Many students rent their textbook from the bookstore or compete with other students for access to the library's reserve copy.  For those that do purchase textbooks, many attempt to regain their money by selling the books back to the bookstore or online after the course is over. OER and other low/no cost alternatives can get learning materials into students hands from day one.

Traditionally published textbooks and educational materials are subject to copyright restrictions, which do not allow them to be modified or reused in other contexts. With OER, students and instructors can re-use and re-purpose the materials not just during the class, but in the future as well.

Reduce Student Financial Burden

Textbooks can be prohibitively expensive for our students, especially those who rely on grants and student loans to attend. A Florida Virtual Campus study published in 2018 found that the high costs of textbooks led the student respondents to the following outcomes:

64.2% did not purchase a required textbook
42.8% took fewer courses
40.5% did not register for a specific course
35.6% reported earning a poor grade
22.9% dropped a course

These numbers actually represented a slight improvement over a Spring 2016 survey, owing to staff and faculty strategies to reduce textbook costs. College faculty around the nation are adopting OER in their courses, improving student experience and success.

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