Leveraging the Benefits of OER

Why use OER?

OER supports a future where students and instructors have free access to a wide variety of high-quality educational resources that have been collaboratively developed, reviewed, revised, and shared across institutions. A future where educational resources can be easily adapted to fit within the context of specific courses, and to meet the needs of specific students. A future where the cost of creation, use, and maintenance is much lower than the current rising costs of textbooks and other classroom resources.

Take some time to listen to stories from our colleagues at SUNY Canton:



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 huge financial burden on students, which not only affects student success, but could also delay graduation for students who are taking fewer classes per term because of that cost, further increasing financial costs for students over time. OER provide students with day one access to free course materials, and 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.

Open Educational Resources allow students to have learning materials as soon as the course starts, so they can make the most of them to support their learning. They no longer have to wait for financial aid disbursements or delayed shipments from online orders.

This is not a negligible point, as recent results of Florida Virtual Campus’ 2018 Student Textbook and Course Materials Survey show:

  • 64.2% of surveyed students did not purchase a required textbook because of the cost, which these students felt resulted in them earning a poor grade (35.6%) or failing a course (17.2%)
  • 42.8% of students surveyed also indicated that they have taken fewer courses occasionally or frequently.

Because of the cost of required textbooks,

  • 40.5% did not register for a course
  • 22.9% dropped a course
  • and 18.1% withdrew from a course.

Benefits for Faculty

Faculty using OER enjoy great freedom in selecting course materials, and can customize these materials to fit the specific needs of their students and goals of their classes. Since most OER permit adaptation, educators are free to edit, reorder, delete from, or remix OER materials.

Listen to this OER Stories podcast to learn more about the benefits of using OER from Lorena Mathien, Assistant Professor in the Business Department at SUNY Buffalo State.

Use, Improve, and Share

  • Save time and energy by adapting or revising resources that have already been created
  • Tailor resources to fit specific context within your courses and research
  • Expand interdisciplinary teaching by integrating resources from multiple sources

Network and Collaborate with Peers

  • Access educational resources that have been peer reviewed by other experts in your field
  • Explore reviews and annotations that provide more in-depth knowledge of the resource
  • Collaborate on creating new resources that can be used within or across disciplines

Lower Costs and Improve Access to Information

  • Reduce the cost of course materials
  • Enable all students to have equal access to course materials
  • Provide students with the opportunity to explore course content fully before enrolling

Further Exploration

For a more in-depth exploration of the benefits of OER, you can watch this 15 minute Ted Talk from David Wiley on the future of open education.



Write on this Course: Opportunities and Challenges

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As you further explore OER, it is important to discuss the benefits and challenges that come to light. We know that OER has tremendous potential to contribute to improving the quality and effectiveness of education, but what challenges stand in our way? And how do we address those challenges?

Share your thoughts and experiences by responding to these questions:

If you are new to using OER:

    • What challenges do you think you might face when integrating OER into your own classes, or helping others integrate it?
  • What opportunities might OER enable?

If you have already integrated OER into your classes, or supported those who have:

  • What challenges did you face?
  • What opportunities did OER enable?

You can use Hypothesis to add your answers as public annotations to this page. Comments are welcome anywhere on the page. Please use the tag #SUNYOERChat in your posts.

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