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Shenandoah University

Open Education Resources (OER): Why use OER?

What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?

Open Educational Resources (OER) are online textbooks, online courses, media, or other teaching and learning materials published under open access licenses. Many OER licenses allow users to “remix” their content to fit specific course goals. Most university-level OER are peer-reviewed, and are free or mostly free.


The low cost of OER allow faculty to broaden their course materials or mix-and-match textbook sections or chapters without requiring students to purchase or rent each book. 

Why Use OER?

OER promotes an open scholarly community, where more people have access to more information with fewer barriers.
Additionally, textbook prices are out of control. Since 2006, college textbook prices have risen 88% in the US. That's significantly faster than the rate of inflation. Students can easily spend hundreds of dollars each semester on textbooks. Those who can't afford them are more likely to fail or drop the course, skip the reading entirely, or resort to piracy. 

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor,

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How to take advantage of OER

Retain - Make, own, and control copies of the content 

Reuse - Use the content in a wide range of ways 

Revise - Adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself 

Remix - Combine the original or revised content with other material to create something new

Redistribute - Share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others 

This material is based on original work by David Wiley, Download, edit, and share the original for free under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license from: Thanks to Anita Walz at Virginia Tech. 

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Andy Kulp