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Open Educational Resources

5Rs of Open Education


Open Educational Resources (OER)

are freely available educational materials that faculty and students can use, share, adapt, and reuse.


There are many types of OER materials such as textbooks, videos, lesson plans, and quizzes. There are also open tools -  course management platforms, training materials, and software for creating and editing websites and videos, 

"The 5 R's of Open Education," by Michigan State University (MSU) Libraries is licensed under CC BY.

Improved Outcomes

Open Educational Resources remove the challenge of students' economic inequity. Students' often cite cost when deciding whether to purchase the materials for their classes. There have been numerous studies outlining the benefits of OER to students - namely the decrease in the number of D & F grades and withdrawing from classes. 

Improved Access

Students are often challenged to purchase required materials for their classes. Their only no-cost options are to borrow textbooks from the library or, if they're lucky, from a friend who has the same edition. Borrowing books from the library only serves one to a handful of students, and the loan period seldom covers the entire semester.

Students have free and unlimited access to OER textbooks and other course-related materials, not only for the term, but for as long as they want. OER enables students to review information covered in earlier courses.

OER enables students and faculty to re-use and re-purpose the materials not only during the class, but also in the future.  This is an advantage because textbooks and other learning materials are covered by copyright restrictions which prohibits modifications and reuse in other circumstances.

Saves Money

Our Core Values Statement "Service Rooted in Solidarity and Justice" calls for us "to stand with those impoverished and marginalized, to identify inequity and exclusion created by society, and actively respond not merely with charity, but with courage, creativity, and compassion. This pursuit embodies the Lasallian vision, dispatching its practitioners to go to the roots of poverty and injustice in order to find just solutions that improve the lives of individuals, families, and communities worldwide."  Last year, 31% of our undergraduates met the requirements for receiving Pell Grants.

Open Educational Materials allow us to take a big step towards fulfilling this goal. OER are free to use - think about the cost of the textbook and other resources like workbooks, problem sets, and online quizzes you use for your classes. Custom materials that you select from a publisher cannot be shared or passed on to a student taking the class in the future. 

Unless otherwise indicated, Open Educational Resources by Carol Brigham is licensed under CC BY.