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Open Educational Resources: OER 101

Open Educational Resources: The Basics

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What are OER?

  • The William and Flora Hewitt Foundation, an organization dedicated to improving education globally by making high-quality academic materials openly available on the Internet, defines OER as teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others. OER include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge.

What are the advantages to OER?

  • Students can access OER online for zero cost, download and keep a digital copy, and print or purchase a low-cost hardcopy.
  • Educators can curate, tailor, and share OERs to perfectly suit their curriculum, and share their innovations freely.
  • Authors can disseminate their work to a worldwide audience while still receiving attribution.

Want to know more?

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and SPARC Open Education Fact Sheet have additional information and statistics.

Sources: The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the SPARC Open Education Fact Sheet

Facts About OER and Open Access

Studies conducted at Virginia State University and Houston Community College found that students who used open textbooks tended to have higher grades and lower withdrawal rates than their peers who used traditional textbooks.

65% of students report not purchasing a textbook because of its high price.

College textbook prices rose 82% between 2003 and 2013, approximately triple the rate of inflation in overall consumer prices (CPI) during the same time (27%).

81,780 articles were published in Open Access journals in 2012.

252,418 articles were published in Open Access journals between 2000-2012.

Sources: SPARC Open Education Fact Sheet and SPARC Open Access Fact Sheet

OER Guides

Library eBooks

eBooks can be a great way to way to add content to your class. We have several different eBook vendors, each with their own licensing restrictions and service models. Some eBooks, because they are only for a single user or because of their pricing model, are not good candidates for class use. Below is a quick guide to some of our biggest eBook providers. You can contact with ebook questions.

To learn more about how our eBooks work, visit our Using eBooks guide.

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