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Open Educational Resources: Home

This guide introduces and explains open educational resources and provides help for faculty on finding, evaluating and creating OERs.

In This Guide

Use this guide to learn about what open education resources are as well as:

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If you want to learn more about open educational resources, check out these free books and online classes.


Online Classes

What are Open Educational Resources?

Open educational resources are any material used in the classroom to help students learn that have been made freely available online and licensed for others to reuse them.

The movement for OERs started in response to rising costs of traditional college textbooks. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, college textbook prices increased 187.5 percent in the past decade, more than any other cost to college students in that same time period. The College Board estimates college students are supposed to spend $1,200 a year on books and supplies based on their class requirements. 


A graph from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showing the rising costs of various college-related items from 2006 to 2016: all items 122 percent, childcare 139 percent, technical school tuition fees 142 percent, housing 151 percent, K-12 tuition and fees 155 percent, college tuition and fees 163 percent, college textbooks 188 percent

Chart created by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

However, students often can't afford their textbooks and other supplies. The 2015 National Survey of Student Engagement found that 31 percent of first-year college students and 40 percent of seniors did not buy required classroom materials due to cost, an increase from 27 percent and 34 percent, respectively, in 2012. Almost half of students (48 percent) have said the costs of books has impacted their decision on which classes to take, according to a report by the Student Public Interest Research Groups

The goal of OERs is to make sure all students have access to materials necessary for their academic achievement.

Why Open Education Matters (video)

Nicole Allen at the OER Summit (video)


Guide Licensing

Creative Commons License
University of Nevada, Reno Scholarly Communication and Open Access Guide by Teresa Auch Schultz is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.