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Open Education Resources (OER): Home


Built upon the 5R Permissions, the goal is to reduce the cost of college and increase the quality of pedagogy by ensuring that OER, including open textbooks, are freely available for postsecondary courses. [1]

"OER are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge." [1]

In other words, OERs are educational materials that are specifically designed by their creator/s to be openly available, and are often licensed to be re-used, re-mixed, and re-distributed.  Open is not just about low cost (though that is an important benefit of using OER) but about the ability to take what others have created, customize it for your specific educational needs, and then share your creation with others.  

OER can come in a variety of forms:

  • Primary sources - Images, video, and sound recordings.  Some  sources are in the public domain, while others have been licensed as open by their creators.   In addition, many texts that are in the public domain are available online/electronically.
  • Learning content - created content that ranges from individual lectures, animations, and assessments to complete courses and textbooks.  

SPECIAL NOTE:  This guide is designed to introduce OER to the Rollins community, but remember that there are additional electronic resources available at the Olin Library  We offer licensed journals, databases, and e-books to support Rollins programs.  Although these resources do not allow for customization and re-use in the same way as OER, they are resources that you can make available at no cost for your students. 

The open resource movement has been around for a while, starting with static learning objects and transitioning to OER that allowed for revision and reuse.  The ever-increasing cost of textbooks and student materials has helped to drive the OER movement forward.  

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, 7 in 10 students didn't purchase a textbook because it was too expensive. Through OER, the cost of student materials can be drastically reduced.  OER also give instructors the ability to customize materials, creating the "perfect" textbook  instead of being bound to traditional print resources. 

Benefits for Faculty

  • Customize your course content
  • Avoid issues with students not being able to immediately access their textbook
  • No book orders needed. No need to work with publishers
  • Support students by reducing their costs

Benefits for Students

  • Save money
  • Access textbooks on day 1 of course (or before)
  • Access the textbook after the course ends