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Open Educational Resources



Because of the COVID-19 crisis, many publishers have opened up access to their resources for a limited time. You can find a list of these newly opened resources on this guide.

What are OERs?

SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) defines Open Educational Resources (OERs) as teaching, learning and research resources released under an open license that permits their free use and repurposing by others. OERs can be textbooks, full courses, lesson plans, videos, tests, software, or any other tool, material, or technique that supports access to knowledge. 

Why OER? - Teaching

Using OER in the classroom presents a unique opportunity to customize your courses and get your students more involved in their own learning. 

  • Since OER can be remixed and revised, it's possible to create customized resources that fit your specific course.
  • Students who have their course materials from day one, won't have a delay in learning or need to play catch up later.
  • Students can review and revise existing resources to improve them and to help them master a subject.
  • Students could create resources to add to their portfolio.
  • Resources that students create could be licensed for reuse in order to benefit others.

Why OER? - Costs

Required materials, like textbooks, can represent a significant cost to students. Textbook prices have increased over 1,000% since 1977, or more than 3 times the rate of inflation (Bureau of Labor Statistics data, 2015). 

According to research on open textbook pilots conducted by Student PIRGs (Open Textbooks: the Billion Dollar Solution, 2015): 

  • Students save an average of $128 per course when traditional textbooks are replaced with open textbooks
  • 65% of students have declined to obtain a required textbook because they were too expensive

Instructors can directly influence the cost of education for their students by adopting low- or no-cost course materials. 

If you are unsure of how to talk to students, faculty, or administrators about OER, please review our helpful talking points document. 

Need help with OER?

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Colleen Lyon
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About this Guide

This guide was originally compiled in 2016 by Ashley Morrison, Graduate Research Assistant at the University of Texas Libraries and graduate student in the School of Information, as part of a capstone research project. 

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic License.