Learn About OER

What Are Open Educational Resources?

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that you may freely use and reuse at no cost, and without needing to ask permission. Unlike copyrighted resources, OER have been authored or created by an individual or organization that chooses to retain few, if any, ownership rights. 

OER commonly enable you to:

  • Download a resource and share it with colleagues and students at no cost.
  • Edit a resource and distribute it as a remixed work.

OER often have a Creative Commons license or other permission to let you know how the material may be used, reused, adapted, and shared. (source: OER Commons)


Finding OER

Use our Open Educational Resources LibGuide, where you can learn more about Open Licenses and browse a list of repositories to locate Open Images and Open Educational Resources, conveniently organized by college and discipline.

What are the benefits of OER?

Cost Savings

According to a report from the Student Public Interest Research Groups, textbook costs have risen exponentially since 2006, contributing significantly to the cost of higher education.

  • On average, students are spending around $1,200 a year on textbooks.
  • The cost of textbooks has risen 73% since 2006, four times the rate of inflation.

A 2019 survey of WSU students found:

  • 73% of respondents pay for textbooks with their own money.
  • The average cost per semester for all textbooks ranges from $200-$600.
  • 85% reported that they have delayed purchasing a textbook for a class.
  • Of those that delayed purchasing textbooks, 59% said their grade was negatively impacted due to the delay.


Open Licensing and Online Access

The open licensing on OER means that students are free to use the materials as they see fit (and as licensing allows), allowing them to keep, print, and share OER with friends, or even remix and share study materials of their own.

OER are open and online, meaning they will be available to students on the first day of class and can be kept after class ends. No more waiting for books or access, as every student can have immediate and unlimited access to their course materials they need.


Academic Freedom and Pedagogy

In addition to saving students money, OER also increase academic freedom for professors. With Creative Commons licenses, instructors are allowed to adapt learning materials to their specific teaching style and the learning needs of their students.

  • OER can be remixed and adapted for specific use, making it an innovative, customizable option for your course.
  • OER are revised with new versions and content, ensuring you're teaching the most up-to-date material.
  • Faculty grants are available so that you can adopt, adapt, or create your own OER.


Want to learn more about OER?

The library is offering an introductory course to learn more about OER. This course is available to WSU faculty, adjuncts, and staff. The course consists of 5 units with a short quiz at the end of each unit and one final exam. Once enrolled you will receive email from Bridge with a link to the course.

Enroll in the course here.


Have a syllabus? We can provide an OER Syllabus Review

The library can help see what resources are available. Fill out our form and include your syllabus and we will review the syllabus and let you know if there are any comparable OER resources.

OER Syllabus Review Form