1. UNESCO defines OERs as:
“Teaching, learning and research materials in any medium, digital or otherwise, that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions”.
2. "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" - William & Flora Hewlett Foundation
OERs are licensed in a manner that provides users with free and perpetual permission to engage in the 5R activities:
This material is based on original writing by David Wiley, which was published freely under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license at http://opencontent.org/definition/.
This guide provides information and resources to assist with the use of Open Educational Resources (OERs).
OER offer a low- or no-cost alternative to traditional textbooks in a time when students have an increasingly difficult time paying for books, while books continue to become more expensive.
Stephens and Pickavance (2017) note that "While faculty and administrators have little control over the rising cost of tuition, they are able to offer students ... OER," which "can deliver comparable results for students as traditional textbooks, but at no cost."
In addition to being free of charge, OER are free to use and expand upon, following the terms of their licenses. Most OER are highly customizable for individual instructors and courses, allowing you to use a text that contains exactly what you need.
Studies including Grewe & Davis (2017) have found that OER implementation is correlated to higher final grades.
Hilton & Laman (2012) found that after implementing OER in an introductory psychology class, students' final grades and exam scores improved, and the number of student withdrawals was halved.