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Open Educational Resources: About

This guide includes resources specific to EC through 12th grade.

What are O.E.R.s?

Open Educational Resources Logo

"Open Educational Resources are teaching, learning and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise – that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions." - William & Flora Hewlett Foundation

Why are OERs Important?

To enhance the affordability of higher education and to create a student-centered learning environment, many educators have created, adopted, or adapted peer-reviewed instructional materials that are freely available online for reuse and modification.  Because of their flexibility and ready availability, such alternative textbooks are grouped under the term "open educational resources" (OER) or "affordable course content." 

According to SPARC's Open Education initiative, OERs are "teaching, learning, and research resources that are free of cost and access barriers, and which also carry legal permission for open use."  They facilitate access to knowledge and exist in different formats, including but not limited to full courses, course materials, supplementary materials, openly licensed textbooks, learning objects, and software. 

OERs democratize teaching and learning with the aid of the internet and open licensing, and ultimately lower the costs of education.

Benefits of Open Educational Resources

Consumer price indexes for tuition and school-related items.


Open educational resources (OER) have emerged as a solution to the runaway problem of textbook costs because they:

  • are based on a new model for disseminating knowledge that is designed to take full advantage of the digital environment to improve teaching, learning, and access to education 
  • grant blanket permission for full reuse rights, which facilitates further creation of OER and contributes to the public good.

SPARC and the Open Education Consortium have pointed out that OER benefit not only higher education but also society as a whole because:


  • can access OER online for free on the first day of class and are relieved of the financial burden of having to purchase expensive textbooks
  • can spend the savings on enrolling in more courses and complete their programs instead of dropping out
  • can retain, share, copy, paste, edit, adapt, and interact with the content for educational purposes


  • can draw on resources from around the world, customize them to suit their pedagogical and cultural needs, and find creative ways to help students
  • can update their instructional materials whenever necessary and expand their academic freedom in teaching
  • can retain and share their teaching materials with peers and network with educators internationally


  • can disseminate their instructional materials to a worldwide audience and receive attribution and international recognition

Lifelong learners:

  • can acquire new knowledge that helps them personally and professionally


  • can build businesses around OER by offering products or services that add value, such as assessments, software, or enhanced formats

Why Open Education Matters

Credit & Thanks

Credit and thanks to Texas Woman's University Libraries for allowing us to reuse portions of their Open Educational Resources guide.