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Affordable Course Materials: Quick Guide to Open Educational Resources (OER)


What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?

Open Educational Resources are educational materials and resources offered freely and openly for anyone to use and under some licenses to re-mix, improve and redistribute.They include:

  • Learning content: full courses, course material, content modules, learning objects, collections, and journals.
  • Tools: software to support the creation, delivery, use and improvement of open learning content including searching and organization of content, content and learning management systems, content development tools, and online learning communities.
  • Implementation resources: Intellectual property licenses to promote open publishing of materials, design-principles, and localization of content.

Why OER?

OER help alleviate the burden of student debt while providing opportunities to students who might not otherwise be able to afford or access materials. They also provide an opportunity to try new ways of teaching and learning, many of which are more collaborative and participatory.

Textbook Alternatives

A common type of OER is the open textbook—very similar to the traditional kind bought at the university bookstore, except they are freely available online. In many disciplines, instructors are also making use of the library's purchased or licensed e-books for course readings. See the Faculty Resources tab on this guide for more information.


Get Help!

Are you interested in incorporating Open Educational Resources into your Blackboard course? Academic Technology Services can help with that!

A Two-Minute Video About OER

Video Testimonials

Two faculty members at other universities talk about why they support open textbooks.