Open Educational Resources (OER) are any type of educational material freely available for teachers and students to use, adapt, share, and reuse.
Examples of OER include learning content (such as lesson plans, assignments, textbooks, exams, and videos) as well as tools for learning (like software for creating videos and websites, course management systems, word processing programs, and training materials).
Textbooks are prohibitively expensive for some students, especially those who rely on grants and student loans to attend college. Studies show that 60% of students have not bought a textbook because it is too expensive, and 23% of students routinely forego purchasing a required course textbook because of the expense.
The Open Textbook project at BC Campus showed that the adoption of Open Textbooks by 43 institutions in classes saved their students over $30 million dollars between 2012-2022.
Read current research on OER cost saving from ERIC database.
Numerous studies indicate that the use of OER increases student success measures such as GPA, retention, and test scores and decreases withdrawal rates. Furthermore, research shows that first students from historically underserved groups and first-generation students benefit the most from the open textbooks and OER adoption.
OER are free and available online, which means that anyone can access and use them. When an instructor makes their teaching material openly available, they can teach far beyond their own classroom. Students can also access these materials, whether they are supplementing a course they are already taking or starting out on an educational journey.
By creating and adopting OER, students and teachers can connect around the world, opening up networks of learning and enhancing collaboration opportunities. Read a story here about a yak herder in Tibet learning poetry from a Stanford professor.