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University of Portland Clark Library

Open Educational Resources: About OERs


This LibGuide is designed to introduce Open Educational Resources (OERs) to the University community.   

Open educational resources (OERs) are defined as "resources for teaching, learning, and research 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."  William and Flora Hewlett Foundation defines OER as "openly licensed teaching, learning, and research resources (e.g., textbooks, videos, and images) that the public has the legal permissions to use, share, and build upon.  OER are available for free online or in print at low cost."

Why Open Educational Resources are Important

Using open textbooks or open course materials benefits students in a variety of ways, including:

  • reducing the cost of education because the course materials are free or greatly reduced in cost;
  • creating a positive impact on academic performance because students have access to the course materials;
  • allowing multimedia elements such as images, videos, and podcasts within the content to enhance learning; and
  • facilitating quick updating to respond to changes in knowledge.

Further Reading

Armellini, A., & Nie, M. (2013). Open educational practices for curriculum enhancement. Open Learning, 28(1), 7–20.

Clinton, V. (2018). Savings without sacrifice: A case report on open-source textbook adoption. Open Learning, 33(3), 177–189.

Colvard, N. B., Watson, C. E., & Hyojin P. (2018). The impact of open educational resources on various student success metricsInternational Journal of Teaching & Learning in Higher Education, 30(2), 262–276.

Feldstein, A., Martin, M., Hudson, A., Warren, K., Hilton, J., III, & Wiley, D. (2012). Open textbooks and increased student access and outcomes. European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning, 2.

Young, J. R. (2015, July 9). In students' minds, textbooks are increasingly optional purchases. The Chronicle of Higher Education. | 503.943.7111 or 800.841.8261 | 5000 N. Willamette Blvd., Portland, OR 97203-5798
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