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Open Educational Resources (OER): Home

Open Educational Resources (OER) are digital materials published openly and offered free of charge to educators and students for use in teaching, research, and learning.


According to OER Commons, "Open Educational Resources are teaching and learning materials that you may freely use and reuse, without charge. OER often have a Creative Commons or GNU license that state specifically how the material may be used, reused, adapted, and shared."

OER Commons is a top resource - search for resources now on their site.

Questions? Contact your Instruction & Outreach library liaison or the Research Desk - or 651-641-8812

OER Opportunities

Why consider OER textbooks?

  • Undergraduates now pay $1,200 or more annually for ​​​textbooks and supplies (see here).
  • Textbook costs have an impact on student success and retention (see here).
  • A recent study says students using OER textbooks do as well or better than their peers with traditional textbooks - and also enroll in more courses in subsequent semesters (see here).
  • Large universities like the U. of MN. are promoting the use of OER textbooks (see here)
  • 66% of U of MN. profs who review an open textbook end up using one (info from here)
  • If your college wants an OER initiative..."open textbooks should be a focus..." (request article here)

Education = Sharing

From image here:

OER Challenges

Before you use an OER textbook...

  • Do you or colleagues have time to evaluate it ("quality control")? (note: other academics have reviewed several sources)
  • How does it align with your course's learning outcomes?
  • Are there texts you can use from the library's ebook collection instead?
  • Can you do without textbook-publisher-produced test banks?
  • Do you have the skills and resources to produce your own OER?

Thoughts from: Pierce, M. (July 28, 2016). Looking at OER with a Critical Eye: Strengthening OER Initiatives by Focusing on Student Learning. Community & Junior College Libraries, 1-7 (request article here).

Not all Creative Commons licensed materials are OER

For more on how CC licensing works, go here.

OER Primers


Examples of OER include:

Electronic textbooks / Interactive mini-lessons and simulations / Full university courses

Who produces Open Textbooks?:

For-profit publishers / Government, university and foundations / Individual authors