Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
JavaScript disabled or chat unavailable.

Open Educational Resources


Open Educational Resources OERs are "digitised materials offered freely and openly for educators, students, and self-learners to use and reuse for teaching, learning, and research" (cited from OECD).

OERs can include: full university courses, open textbooks, interactive mini-lessons and simulations, or K-12 Lesson Plans, worksheets,and activities

Leveraging the Benefits of OER

Why Use OER?

OER supports a future where students and instructors have free access to a wide variety of high-quality educational resources that have been collaboratively developed, reviewed, revised, and shared across institutions.  A future where educational resources can be easily adapted to fit within the context of specific courses, and to meet the needs of specific students.  A future where the cost of creation, use, and maintenance is much lower than the rising costs of textbooks and other classroom resources.


Benefits for Students

Using OER can provide a tremendous cost savings for students as well as impact student success and completion rates.  The cost of textbooks can be a huge financial burden, which not only affects student success, but could also delay graduation for students who are taking fewer classes per term because of that cost, further increasing financial costs for students over time.


Open educational resources allow students to have access to learning materials as soon as the course starts, so they can make the most of them to support their learning.  Research reviewed by the Open Education Group shows that most students perform as well or better using OER course materials compared with students using traditional textbooks.


This is not a negligible point, as recent results of Florida Virtual Campus' 2018 Student Textbook and and Course Materials Survey show:

  • 64.2% of surveyed students did not purchase a required textbook because of the cost, which these students felt resulted in them earning a poor grade (35.6%) or failing a course (17.2%)
  • 42.8% of students surveyed also indicated that they have taken fewer courses occasionally or frequently

Because of the cost of required textbooks:

  • 40.5% did not register for a course
  • 22.9% dropped a course
  • and 18.1% withdrew from a course


Benefits for Faculty

Faculty using OER enjoy great freedom in selecting course materials, and can customize these materials to fit the specific needs of their students and goals of their classes.  Since most OER permit adaptation, educators are free to edit, reorder, delete from, or remix OER materials.

Use, Improve, Share

  • Save time and energy by adapting or revising resources that have already been created
  • Tailor resources to fit specific context within your courses and research
  • Expand interdisciplinary teaching by integrating resources from multiple sources

Network and Collaborate with Peers

  • Access educational resources that have been peer-reviewed by other experts in your field
  • Explore reviews and annotations that provide more in-depth knowledge of the resource
  • Collaborate on creating new resources that can be used within or across disciplines

Lower Costs and Improve Access to Information

  • Reduce the costs of course materials
  • Enable all students to have equal access to course materials
  • Provide students with the opportunity to explore course content fully before enrolling


Source: Understanding OER. Provided by SUNY OER Services. Located at Project: OER Community Course. License: CC BY.