Appendix B: OER Benefits

For instructors, have the following benefits:

  • Assurance that every student has immediate and unlimited access to course content
  • Choice of technology partners rather than being locked into a particular platform or system
  • Ability to use, edit, and adapt existing materials without needing to acquire copyright permission
  • Availability in a variety of formats (e.g., HTML, PDF, ePUB) or ability to produce the resource in alternate formats
  • Ownership of the content forever
  • Flexibility in when and whether to move to a new edition

For students, OER offer cost savings as well as the following benefits:

  • Access to course content in appropriate formats for various devices and situations, including the option to download the text for when internet access is not available
  • Ability to share the content on social networks and public forums, including blended learning environments
  • Instant, unlimited, and permanent access to content,
    • eliminating the need to buy content multiple times or for a longer period of time in order to use the content for multiple semesters;
    • enabling use of the content as a reference for more advanced courses (e.g., using an introductory statistics book as a reference for a research methods course);
    • easing study for higher education entrance and certification exams (e.g., GRE, GMAT, MCAT, CPA); and
    • providing access to content for lifelong learning and career changes.
  • Ability to print all of the course material when convenient

For institutions, OER offer the following benefits:

  • Broader student access to course materials, which may result in increased retention and degree progression (Fischer et al. 2015) and/or lower failing and withdrawal rates (Colvard, Watson, and Park 2018)
  • Increased impact and visibility for instructors creating and sharing OER, potentially impacting course development at other institutions
  • Enhanced pedagogy, because instructors can adapt course materials to their learning objectives instead of making their course content “fit” an established textbook
  • Positive public relations and an opportunity to showcase efforts to reduce student costs


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Marking Open and Affordable Courses: Best Practices and Case Studies by Breeman Ainsworth, Nicole Allen, Jessica Dai, Abbey Elder, Nicole Finkbeiner, Amie Freeman, Sarah Hare, Kris Helge, Nicole Helregel, Jeanne Hoover, Jessica Kirschner, Joy Perrin, Jacquelyn Ray, Jennifer Raye, Michelle Reed, John Schoppert, and Liz Thompson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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