Learn About OER

What are Open Educational Resources?

Open educational resources (OER) are openly-licensed educational materials that can be used for teaching, learning, research, and other purposes - without cost or access barriers. Open educational resources include textbooks, full courses, course materials, modules, streaming videos, tests, software, study aides, games, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge. (source: Hewlett Foundation)

What are the benefits of OER?

Cost Savings

According to a report from the Student Public Interest Research Groups, textbook costs have risen expotentially 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.

In a survey of USU students, 74% said they pay for textbooks with their own money, with the average cost per semester for all textbooks that semester ranging from $200-$600. 85% reported that they have delayed purchasing a textbook for a class. Of those that delayed purchasing textbooks, 58% 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.
Student behind stack of books

Increase in the cost textbooks since 2006, 4 times the rate of inflation


Students spend on average $1,200 a year on textbooks


85% of USU students delayed purchasing a textbook due to cost


58% reported suffering academically due to this delay

Sources: Student Public Interest Research Groups; 2016 Student Survey, Utah Academic Library Consortium.