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Open Educational Resources: Impact of OER

Advantages of Adopting OER in the Era of COVID

The COVID-19 pandemic creates greater urgency for high quality, customizable, no- and low- cost instructional materials designed with remote instruction in mind. 

OER has four advantages over traditional textbooks in the COVID-19 learning environment June 9, 2020

  • Remote-instruction friendly.  Almost all OER is born digital, available for free online or in print at low cost. Much OER comes pre-loaded in a format that is compatible with the most commonly used learning management systems.  
  • Adaptable. In contrast to traditional textbooks, which are locked by copyright, OER can be customized by instructors as they adapt their courses to remote instruction.  
  • Accessible forever.  Given the economic impact and potentially long duration of COVID-19, students are more likely than ever to take extended periods to complete their degree paths.  Being able to reference materials from prerequisite courses months or years later will help them persist.  Unlike commercial ebook access codes that expire at the end of the semester, students can retain OER permanently. 
  • A good investment.  These are times of tight budgets for both students and institutions. OER adoption is one of the few interventions that both saves students money and generates additional revenues for institutions.  OER has saved higher education students nearly a billion dollars in textbook costs in the US and Canada.  Research shows (PDF) that there is also a positive financial return on investment (ROI) for institutions that adopt OER, as students who save money on texts take additional credits.

Accelerating Adoption of OER in the Era of COVID-19 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International LicenseBased on a work at  Driving OER Sustainability for Student Success (DOERS3) is a collective of 22 higher education systems and state/province-wide OER initiatives in the U.S. and Canada. 

Impact of OER: quick facts

OER in Action at Community Colleges

Reports about OER

Types of OER

OER include learning materials such as:

  • open textbooks
  • full courses
  • modules
  • syllabi
  • lectures
  • homework assignments
  • quizzes
  • lab activities
  • games
  • simulations

Organizations Supporting OER

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Creative Commons License
Oakland Community College Library Research Guide on Open Educational Resources by OCC Librarians is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on a work at and

Guide Editor: Wendy Kamps-Tsao

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