Open Educational Resources (OER) are learning materials shared in the public domain or with highly permissive licenses that allow educators and students to access, update, and adapt high quality textbooks and materials for free without many of the restrictions that come with traditionally copyrighted materials.
As textbooks become increasingly expensive, incorporating low- and no-cost course materials can have a significant impact on student success. The body of available OER is growing rapidly, and resources like the Open Textbook Library now offer 1100+ textbooks to consider. The University of Minnesota Libraries are enthusiastically committed to supporting no-cost course offerings by facilitating the adoption and even creation of OER textbooks and course materials through our platforms and programs.
The cost-free nature of OER textbooks make them a powerful option for making higher education more affordable and accessible to students, though the support for affordable learning also includes Libraries resources. With tools like Reading Lists, instructors can work with the Libraries to assemble articles, book chapters, and entire eBooks in a central access point on course Canvas pages. By assembling OER, Libraries resources, and online materials in Reading Lists, instructors can replace expensive traditional textbooks to offer students a learning experience that is cost-free after tuition.
If you are curious to hear more about OER, and/or would like assistance exploring resources in your discipline, please consider reaching out to the Libraries for a consultation. The primary contact is Micah Gjeltema, Open Education & Affordable Content Librarian.
For a deeper dive into finding and creating OER, check out the OER Starter Kit.