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Affordable Textbooks and Courseware: What is OER?

What are Open Educational Resources

Open Educational Resources...

...are free-to-use teaching resources: textbooks, videos, courseware, test banks, teaching materials, learning objects, modules, courses, etc. Here are answers to some of the most common questions about OER.

Ready to look into OER for your course or department? Click the "Finding OER" tab above for step-by-step tips.

The 5 Rs

Open Educational Resources allow you to:

Retain copies
Reuse content
Revise, adapt or modify
Remix with other content

Redistribute freely 


Are OER materials high quality?

Not all OER materials are high quality, but many are. Quality indicators to look for include:

  • Peer-review
  • Grant or university funding
  • Vetted authors selected for expertise

Supplemental materials

What about supplemental materials?

Accompanying materials such as test banks, problem sets, instructor guides, and courseware are available for some OER texts, free or at a low cost for students.


Does using OER affect transferability of courses?

No. Per CCM's Transfer Services Office, using OER has no effect on 4-year colleges accepting transfers.

Free to use

Open Educational Resources are free because they are either in the public domain, or are covered by a Creative Commons license. A CC license grants users the freedom to use materials in various ways depending on the type of license.

Who uses OER?

Colleges and Universities around the country now use OER, including Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, and Cornell. 


Are OER Materials accessible?

Like other texts and courseware, OER materials should be reviewed for accessibility. An advantage of many OER texts is that they can be downloaded to a student's preferred reading or viewing app with no DRM issues.