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Open Educational Resources (OER) at Montana State University

Information on Open Educational Resources (OER) and initiatives at MSU.

What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?

Open Education Resources

Open Educational Resources (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."  

From The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

The Basics of OER:

  • Created and published by faculty
  • Often are published under the same or similar standards of traditional academic publishing through academic institutions and organizations.
  • There is peer-review and research studies on efficacy of OER.
  • Uphold the 5Rs of open education, allowing faculty and students to revise, remix, reuse, redistribute, and retain.Meaning, they can be downloaded, customized to your course, saved locally, and shared.
  • ‚ÄčFREE & Only ONLINE: OER materials can be found online, but print options for faculty or students are easily available for a low cost.
  • Textbook Affordability means ONLY FREE TEXTBOOKS:  Actually, affordable means just that, affordable options for students.  Open education is about providing the best resources for students to be successful in their courses while being affordable.  This can be using open texts, supplementing copyrighted materials with open materials, using library resources, or other combinations that provide students with a quality, accessible education.
  • OER include a variety of digital learning materials such as: open textbooks, full courses, modules, syllabi, lectures, homework assignments, quizzes, lab activities, games, simulations

Why OER Matter

Textbooks costs have risen 812% - 1,041% over the past three decades. Consequently, 65% of students in a national study did not purchase textbooks and 82% of students agreed that free online access to textbooks would help them do “significantly better” in their courses. Open Educational Resources (OER) offer a solution.

Faculty using OER in their classrooms are already bridging equity gaps, making learning more affordable and accessible.  With open licensed materials, faculty can adapt their courses to be more diverse, the content more inclusive and reflective of their students and the multicultural world they live in, and customize them with a discipline or degree specific focus.  The potential to truly impact the student success, engagement, and quality of learning with OER is limitless.  Research consistently demonstrates improved student success rates in courses that utilize open educational resources over traditional course materials.