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Open Educational Resources: OER Explained

OER are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others.

Spring 2021 Affordable Learning Webinar Series

South Carolina Affordable Learning will host a series of free webinars for librarians and faculty this spring.
Registration is required. Please use the links below to register.

  • Introduction to Open Educational Resources (OER) |  January 26, 2021 | 2 - 3:30 pm  | REGISTER
    Learn about the different ways that open educational resources (OER) can help both you and your students get the most out of your class. OER can give you the freedom to include the material you believe is most important for your students to know and understand. It also provides your students with the ability to have the textbook and other course materials on day one of the class, making sure that no one is trying to play catch-up once their financial aid has arrived. Please note: This webinar is scheduled to last 1 1/2 hours.

  • Searching, Finding & Evaluating OER  |  February 25, 2021 | 2 - 3 pm  | REGISTER
    Are you wondering how can you take part in an education evolution? Want to impact students both academically and financially with your courses? Have you tried incorporating library owned materials or open educational resources (OER) into your courses? Our session will get you started with some tips and tricks for searching and finding low / no cost course materials that you can use to replace your costly textbooks. Did you know that a lot of these materials can be found from within your library’s online catalog?



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.

Source: The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation


OER Mythbusting addresses the top seven myths about OER in North American higher education, as voted on my more than 100 faculty, librarians, students and other members of the OER community.


Outreach & Reference Librarian

Hope Johnson's picture
Hope Johnson
Subjects:Art, Design


  • Reduce student costs 
    Many students opt out of buying textbooks and other course materials due to cost. Reducing or eliminating the costs of course materials is one of the most compelling reasons to use OERs.

    Options Don't Stem Textbook Woes
    Report, citing crippling textbook costs, argues for more use of open-source materials.


  • Support student success and retention 
    OERs can ensure that every student in a course has access to course material, which helps students succeed in a course and in their advancement towards graduation.

    Multi-institutional Study of the Impact of Open Textbooks Adoption on the Learning Outcomes
    Study of 16,000 students across 10 institutions, compares several measures of student academic success between those using open textbooks and those using traditional textbooks.

    Alternate Textbooks + Engaged Students = Retention Value
    ACRL President Steven J. Bell discusses how alternatives to traditional textbooks can increase student engagement and retention.


  • Innovate teaching practices 
    Adapting, adopting, or creating OERs gives faculty the opportunity to tailor course content in new ways, while providing innovative and optimized learning experiences for students. 

    Mainstreaming Open Textbooks: Educator Perspectives on the Impact
    Results shows that OER enables a majority of educators to better respond to student needs, making teaching easier, and changing teaching practices.


The Open Education Consortium
A global network of educational institutions, individuals and organizations that support an approach to education based on openness, including collaboration, innovation and collective development and use of open educational materials. The Open Education Consortium is a non-profit, social benefit organization registered in the United States and operating worldwide.


Open Education Resource Foundation
The Open Education Resource (OER) Foundation is an independent, not-for-profit organisation that provides leadership, international networking and support for educators and educational institutions to achieve their objectives through Open Education.‚Äč


Creative Commons Education
The Open Education program at Creative Commons works to minimize barriers to universal access to education, supporting the CC mission through education, advocacy and outreach on using the right licenses and open policies to maximize the benefits of open educational resources (OER) and the return on investment in publicly funded education resources.