Over the past several years, students and educators have watched with concern as the cost of educational materials has risen dramatically. According to an NBC News study, textbook costs have increased more than 1,000% since 1977, outpacing the cost of medical care, new homes, and the consumer price index.
Expensive course materials can be detrimental to students as they may struggle to keep up in classes and may be more likely to drop out when they cannot readily access textbook material. Seeking to address these concerns, colleges and universities have begun to seek educational materials that are both high-quality and affordable for students.
Open Educational resources (OER) are free and openly licensed educational materials that can be used for teaching, learning, research, and other purposes. OER are emerging as a strategy for lowering barriers to student academic success, specifically by ensuring that all students have access to course materials regardless of their financial situation.
To be more specific, when we say that OER are openly licensed, we mean that they can be retained, reused, revised, remixed, and redistributed. In practice this means:
This page modified from Anderson, T. & O'English, L. (2018). Open educational resources: Tools for affordable learning. Washington State University Libraries under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).