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Open Educational Resources

What are Open Educational Resources?

Open Educational Resources:

  • Can describe any type of educational resource - textbooks, videos, labs, even entire courses!
  • Are usually created by educators, libraries, museums / archival organizations, government agencies, publishers, etc. 
  • Can be used and shared freely
  • Can be revised or remixed with other materials
  • Usually have Creative Commons licenses or are in the public domain

How open educational resources benefit...

Pedagogical freedom

A typical textbook covers a specific set of topics in a specific order. Most OER can be modified, which means:

  • You can restructure or reorganize the content in your preferred order.
  • You can add or remove topics as you see fit.
  • You can revise outdated information.
  • You can mix and match content from various OER.

Cost savings

Because most OER are free, adopting OER can save students a significant amount each semester. OER adoption has already saved SUNY students $47 million (between 2017 and 2019).

Immediate & Lasting Access

Students often have to wait for student loan dispersements or other financial assistance in order to purchase their textbooks. By adopting OERs in your class, your students will have access on the first day of class.

Equivalent or better learning outcomes

Research summarized by Hilton (2019) suggests that students generally experience equivalent or better learning outcomes when using OER, as compared to outcomes when using traditional textbooks.

Student success and retention

Colvard, Watson, and Park (2018) found that "OER improve end-of-course grades and decrease DFW (D, F, and Withdrawal letter grades) rates for all students. They also improve course grades at greater rates and decrease DFW rates at greater rates for Pell recipient students, part-time students, and populations historically underserved by higher education [emphasis added]" (p. 262).

Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license imageThis guide is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International license.

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