Appendix B: OER Benefits

For instructors, open educational resources (OER) 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 Copyright © 2020 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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