Recognizing the Value of OER

Listen to Ann Inoshita, Instructor of English at Leeward Community College, Hawaii, describe the value of OER as reads she her poem “Our Future is Open Access,” which poignantly synthesizes the importance and impact of OER.

You already recognize the value of OER. It not only makes college more affordable (with the reduction of costs connected to the purchase of books and other learning materials), but it also brings to faculty agency that allows us to rethink our pedagogies in ways that center on access.

As faculty who use OER, we don’t just save students money on textbooks: we directly influence students’ ability to enroll in, persist through, and successfully complete a course. In other words, we directly affect their ability to attend, succeed in, and graduate from college.

What is the analogous additional potential of open educational resources, compared to commercial textbooks and other commercial resources? OER are:

  • Free to access
  • Free to reuse
  • Free to revise
  • Free to remix
  • Free to redistribute

Access and Equity

When we talk about OER, we bring two things into focus: that access is critically important to conversations about academic success, and that faculty and other instructional staff can play a critical role in the process of making learning accessible.

Consider this access as an extension of the social justice agenda of community college and public education: these invite learners across socio-economic levels to participate — equitably — in the educational system.  OER is, in essence, an extension of this educational opportunity, one that promotes greater and more equitable access to learning.

OER have broad benefit, reach, and impact. Sharing them is promoting their value.  In this regard, they:

  • Provide ready access to a myriad of learning materials
  • Can transform the way students engage in their learning
  • Lessen financial burdens for students
  • Drive changes in the way we teach

Photo of Kelsie AguieleraRead Rachael Inake’s Learning with Technology blog post “Kelsie’s OER Journey Continues” to learn about how Kelsie Aguilera, instructor of anthropology at Leeward Community College, Hawaii, promotes OER because of her successful experience using them with her students.


Creative Commons CC BY License ImageUnless otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


The content in this course is adapted from the following works:

“Faculty Guide to Open Educational Resources” by Tacoma Community College is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
“Why OER?” by ISKME is licensed under CC BY 4.0
“OER Playbook” by Tompkins Cortland Community College is licensed under CC BY 4.0
“Metadata” by Anna Page, licensed under CC BY 4.0