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Free Textbooks and other benefits of Open Educational Resources

April 8, 2016

Open Educational Resources, OER, are a popular topic in the educational press right now. But what is OER? Who is producing OER and where can they be found? What institutions are using OER and what kind of impact are they measuring?

Hands holding a stack of books

Explore these and other questions with our new Library Guide, Open Educational Resources.

UNESCO, an early proponent of Open Educational Resources, defines OERs as: 'any type of educational materials that are in the public domain or introduced with an open license. The nature of these open materials means that anyone can legally and freely copy, use, adapt and re-share them. OERs range from textbooks to curricula, syllabi, lecture notes, assignments, tests, projects, audio, video and animation.'

Adoption and use of OER can save students the expense of buying traditional textbooks while still providing the course content needed for successful learning.

By some estimates, textbook costs have risen over 1000% since the late 1970s. Recent research has demonstrated that students buy fewer and fewer textbooks and that financially challenged students buy the fewest of all. Adopting open access textbooks and other open education resources provides students with the instructional materials they need without increasing students' educational expenses.

Visit our Library Guide to learn more about Open Educational Resources.

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