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Open Educational Resources at TWU

A resource to learn more about OER, finding OER, evaluating OER, applying for OER mini-grants, and the impact of OER on TWU's community.


Open Educational Resources are teaching, learning and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise – 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.  -UNESCO


Why Open Education Matters

Created by Brendan Walsh


5 Rs of Open Educational Resources

To enhance the affordability of higher education and to create a student-centered learning environment, many educators have created, adopted, or adapted peer-reviewed instructional materials that are freely available online for reuse and modification.  Because of their flexibility and ready availability, such alternative textbooks are grouped under the term "open educational resources" (OER) or "affordable course content." 

According to SPARC's Open Education initiative, OERs are "teaching, learning, and research resources that are free of cost and access barriers, and which also carry legal permission for open use."  They facilitate access to knowledge and exist in different formats, including but not limited to full courses, course materials, supplementary materials, openly licensed textbooks, learning objects, and software

OERs democratize teaching and learning with the aid of the internet and open licensing, and ultimately lower the costs of education.

NBC: The Rising Cost of Textbooks

Benefits of Open Educational Resources

The shaded area represents a recession as determined by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Open educational resources (OER) have emerged as a solution to the runaway problem of textbook costs because they:

  • are based on a new model for disseminating knowledge that is designed to take full advantage of the digital environment to improve teaching, learning, and access to education 
  • grant blanket permission for full reuse rights, which facilitates further creation of OER and contributes to the public good.

SPARC and the Open Education Consortium have pointed out that OER benefit not only higher education but also society as a whole.



  • can access OER online for free on the first day of class and are relieved of the financial burden of having to purchase expensive textbooks
  • can spend the savings on enrolling in more courses and completing their programs instead of dropping out
  • can retain, share, copy, paste, edit, adapt, and interact with the content for educational purposes



  • can draw on resources from around the world, customize them to suit their pedagogical and cultural needs, and find creative ways to help students
  • can update their instructional materials whenever necessary and expand their academic freedom in teaching
  • can retain and share their teaching materials with peers and network with educators internationally



  • can disseminate their instructional materials to a worldwide audience and receive attribution and international recognition


Lifelong learners:

  • can acquire new knowledge that helps them personally and professionally



  • can build businesses around OER by offering products or services that add value, such as assessments, software, or enhanced formats

Credit and Thanks

Credit and thanks to the University of Kentucky Libraries for allowing us to reuse portions of their Alternative Textbooks (Open Educational Resources) guide.