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.
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.
Source: Statista Survey. (July 12, 2017). Share of consumers who prefer to purchase textbooks used or new in the United States 2017 [Graph].
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This material is based on original work by David Wiley, used under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.