Open Educational Resources

What are Open Educational Resources?

The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, or SPARC, defines OERs as teaching, learning, and research resources released under an open license that permits their free use and repurposing by others. OER can be full courses, course materials, lesson plans, open textbooks, learning objects, videos, games, tests, software, or any other tool, material, or technique that supports access to knowledge. (Source: SPARC OER Factsheet)

Why is this movement important?

OER give faculty the opportunity to redesign courses to lesson financial burden on their students. From 2006-2016 the cost of textbooks increased by 82%, triple the rate of inflation (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics). During the same period, tuition at public four-year universities increased by 40% (Source:

A Student PIRG report from 2014 found that 65% of students report not buying a textbook because of cost, and nearly half reported choosing classes based on textbook cost. The average student at a public, four year-university now spends $1,200 each year on books and supplies.

By utilizing educational resources that are freely available on the internet, faculty can decrease the financial burden that students face, increasing student success and increasing student retention.

Last reviewed: 12/2017