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OER: Open Educational Resources

Learn about Open Education Resources.

Benefits & Drawbacks

  • They are affordable for students: Because of their open licensing, OERs are often free or represent only nominal costs to students, such as costs of printing. When in use, students have access to course materials from day one. Studies have found that many students avoid or delay purchasing textbooks when costs are high, which can negatively impact their academic success and persistence.
  • They can be easily adapted: The licenses of many OERs permit adaptation or “remixing.” This lets instructors customize the resource to their class by adding, deleting, or modifying material. Instructors who involve students in the production or adaptation of OER materials may also be participating in “open pedagogy.”
  • Knowledge sharing: The distribution of knowledge goes beyond the classroom, to anyone seeking lifelong learning.
  • Availability: More general, widely-taught courses will have more OER available and findable. OER for more specialized courses may be hard to find.
  • Time: Finding, evaluating, and adopting OER materials can be time-consuming. Adapting and creating OER also require a time commitment.
  • Find-ability: OERs are not marketed and advertised as traditional textbooks are. Faculty may need persistance to find relevant material for their courses. See the "Find OER" section of this guide for repositories and search engines to assist this process. 
  • Quality: OERs should be evaluated carefully before adoption. Some are high-quality and peer-reviewed, but others may not be.
Creative Commons License

Unless otherwise noted, the content of these guides by Loras College Library, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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