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Open Educational Resources  

Last Updated: Feb 22, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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What is OER?

(Open Access logo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

"... 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." SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition)


UMass Amherst OER Initiative

Since 2011, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst's Open Education Initiative has saved students an estimated $1.3 million in textbook costs. More information about the program, including examples of how faculty have used OER in their classes, is available here. 


Are OERs Effective?

This video breaks down the findings of John Hilton's article, which assessed past studies of OER efficacy and student and faculty perceptions. (The original article may be downloaded here.


The Facts About Textbook Costs

According to a study by the Government Accountability Office (2013), textbook prices rose 82% between 2002 and 2013 -- close to three times the rate of inflation

In a survey of more than 2,000 college students by the U.S. Public Interest Research group (2014)... 

65% of students had foregone textbook purchases, due to the cost

Close to 50% of students said textbooks costs affecteded their courseloads

The cost of textbooks and supplies can cost students an average of $1,200 per year, on top of tuition

Sources: United States Government Accountability Office (2013). "College Textbooks: Students Have Greater Access to Textbook Information." Retrieved from

Senack, E., & The Student PIRGS. (2014). Fixing the Broken Textbook Market: How Students Respond to High Textbook Costs and Demand Alternatives. Retrieved from

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