Why OER?

Why Use OER?

Benefits for Students

Using OER can provide tremendous cost savings for students as well as impact student success and completion rates. 

The cost of textbooks can be a financial burden on students, which not only affects student success but could also delay graduation for students who are taking fewer classes per term, further increasing financial costs for students over time. OER provide students with day one access to free course materials. Research reviewed by the Open Education Group shows that most students perform as well or better using OER course materials compared with students using traditional textbooks.

OER allow students to have learning materials right from the start of their courses. This is not a negligible point, as the results of the Florida Virtual Campus’ 2018 Student Textbook and Course Materials Survey show: 65 percent of surveyed students did not purchase a required textbook because of the cost, which these students felt resulted in them earning a poor grade (36 percent). 43 percent of students surveyed also indicated that they have taken fewer courses occasionally or frequently, 41 percent did not register for a course, and 23 percent dropped a course.

Figure 1. 2018 Florida Virtual Campus Student Textbook & Course Materials Survey Impact of Textbook Costs on Students

Benefits for Educators

Faculty enjoy more freedom in selecting course materials and can customize these materials to fit the specific needs of their students and goals of their classes. Since OER permit adaptation, educators are free to edit, reorder, delete from, or remix OER materials. OER provide clearly defined rights to users, so educators are not faced with interpreting Fair Use and TEACH Act guidelines.

Material on this page was adapted from Iowa State University’s OER Starter Kit website under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial License. Additional material was adapted from REMC Association of Michigan’s page Learn About OER, SUNY OER Services’ Understanding OER page, Brendan Walsh’s Why OER Matters page, Community College Consortium for OER’s Why Open Education page, and Santa Fe College Educational Media Studio’s Open Educational Resources page.