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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
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.
Consumer price indexes for tuition and school-related items, January 2006-July 2016
Open educational resources (OER) have emerged as a solution to the runaway problem of textbook costs because they:
SPARC and the Open Education Consortium have pointed out that OER benefit not only higher education but also society as a whole because:
Credit and thanks to the University of Kentucky Libraries for allowing us to reuse portions of their Alternative Textbooks (Open Educational Resources) guide.