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Open Educational Resources (OERs): Home

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research materials in any medium that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others.

Open Educational Resources

What is are Open Educational Resources?

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research materials in any medium that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others. By creating or adapting OERs, you can make high-quality educational materials such as textbooks and modules available at a lower cost. Most of the materials linked from this guide are Creative Commons-licensed, so you can adapt and re-use the material as long as you attribute the author. 

Open vs. Public Access

When using open access materials for PSU coursework, it is best to use no-cost open access materials and pass those savings on to students. The term "open access" is often used interchangeably with "free of charge," but this is not always the case. An important distinction must be made between something that is open access (and freely available) versus something that is truly public access (and free of charge). For more information visit the Public Library of Science (PLOS) guide, How Open Is It? 

The Five R's of Openness:

  • Retain - the right to make, own, and control copies of the content (e.g., download, duplicate, store, and manage)
  • Reuse - the right to use the content in a wide range of ways (e.g., in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video)
  • Revise - the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language)
  • Remix - the right to combine the original or revised content with other material to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)
  • Redistribute - the right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend)

This material was created by David Wiley and published freely under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license at http://opencontent.org/definition/

Why You Should Use OER: Addressing Student Costs

The ballooning cost of expensive textbooks and course materials is outpacing inflation and wages, and this has a hugely negative impact on students. One study shows that 65% of students don't buy textbooks due to the cost, even when they know it will affect their grade. Help your students succeed by using no-cost textbooks and course materials.

This guide has been developed to support PSU faculty develop open access textbooks or incorporate OER into their course materials. We work with faculty authors to publish high-quality open access textbooks designed specifically for their courses, that are free to students at our university and to anyone throughout the world. If you have suggestions for this guide, please contact Karen Bjork. For more support in locating course materials, please contact your subject librarian.

HB 2871 and the "No-Cost/OER" Icon

Beginning winter 2018, the Schedule of Classes will have a "No-Cost/OER" icon as required by Oregon House Bill 2871. The following definition will guide the use of the icon:

"This course exclusively uses textbooks and/or course materials with no cost to the student. Instructors either develop original materials, or access freely available or open educational resources (OER)"

No cost course materials can include journal articles, ebooks, book chapters, streaming media that are licensed by PSU Library as these resources are available via subscriptions maintained by the PSU Library and students may use for free.

Tips to Reduce Textbook Costs

Portland State Library and the Office of Academic Innovation created a pamphlet for faculty to student costs by using materials such as OERs. This pamphlet provides basic tips that faculty can consider as they design curriculum and identify course materials, including for creating or adapting an open textbook and other innovative approaches.

Why Open Education Matters