Skip to Main Content
Roosevelt University in Chicago, Schaumburg and Online - Logo

Open Educational Resources (OER): OER Essentials

Information and resources for finding, creating, and engaging with OER

What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?

Open educational resources (OER) are teaching, learning and research materials in any format or medium 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. OER are unique because many allow for modification of the source material so that instructors can reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute the material to match the needs of their students or course.

from Open Educational Resources -

Types of OER

The word open with each letter on the cover of an old bookImage by

OER can include learning content, learning applications and virtually any other material that can be used for educational purposes. For example:

  • textbooks
  • book chapters
  • essays
  • research data
  • courses
  • syllabi and lesson plans
  • learning modules
  • teaching techniques
  • tests
  • writing prompts
  • group activities
  • handouts
  • audio and video recordings
  • games
  • software applications
  • experiments

Contact Us

For more information about faculty resources, workshops, and support, contact Barb Anderson (


An Introduction to OER by Abby Elder

Why use Open Educational Resources?

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, 7 in 10 students will not purchase a textbook because it was too expensive; textbooks and learning materials cost students approximately $1,200 to $1500 per year [1].  Through Open Educational Resources (OER), the cost of student materials can be drastically reduced.  In addition, OER gives instructors the ability to customize textbook materials, thus creating the effective textbook.  OER also relieves instructors of being bound to traditional, expensive print resources. It is the ever increasing cost of textbooks and materials for students that is now pushing the OER movement forward.

  • One in five college students has skipped or deferred a class due to the price of the required learning resources.

  • The cost of textbooks is rising at a rate of 4 times inflation

  • 60% of students have delayed purchasing textbooks until they’ve received their financial aid.

Through OERs the cost of student materials can be drastically reduced

OERs give faculty the ability to customize course materials, creating the "perfect" course packet or textbook instead of being bound to a traditional one-size-fits-all model. Customization gives faculty control over the quality of their course materials as well as the type and timing of updates to textbooks and other resources. Customization also allows faculty to infuse course materials with pedagogy that reflects the  mission of "preparing leaders for the transformation of society". Some faculty also enjoy the opportunity to include upper-level students in the creation of course materials. OERs also allow required textbooks or materials to be available to all students from the very first day of class or beforehand.

Kramer, Larry. (2018, November 16). "OER Basics: Why use Open Educational Resources?. OER Commons.