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Open Educational Resources (Affordable Textbooks): Getting Started

What are Open Educational Resources (OER)

What are OER?

According to SPARC's Open Education initiative, OER are "teaching, learning, and research resources that are free of cost and access barriers, and which also carry legal permission for open use."  OER can be print or digital, texts, games, syllabi, lesson plans, course assignments, anything you use as a teaching resource in your class.  

Benefits of OER

For Students

  • OER address affordability.
    • User OER saves students money
  • OER improve access
    • There is nothing to buy, and no access codes to navigate
    • OER come in multiple formats so the student can choose their favorite .
    • Students retain access in perpetuity
  • OER also address equity
    • These resources can be easily manipulated for people to meet their needs
    • Examples can be adapted to reflect and be more relevant to the specific student population.  
    • The variety of OER  helps increase diversity of perspective and voice in authorship

For Faculty

  • You can have the expectation that all your students have the materials they need
  • you can start small and add on as you go
  • resources are updated more frequently and easily.
  • goodwill of the students
  • teaching and pedagogical innovation.  resources employ active learning, experimentation with new techniques.
  • Remixing OER means that you can curate the perfect resource.  That directly relates to your learning objectives and thus exercise more academic freedom 
  • whether adopt, adapt, or create – making connections and enriching the scholarship in discipline.


Introductory Video

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Todd Seguin
He, Him
Helm Commons 2020