Why Should I Use OER?

There are many benefits to using OER.

Money: The biggest benefit of course, is the money that it saves students. With tuition costs, living expenses, and all other expenses, there’s plenty to pay for when in college (or life, really!). If we can save costs by using openly licensed resources, why not? Using OER makes learning more accessible for everyone, promoting equity and access. Research has should that due to limited financial resources, some students delay in purchasing (or completely forego) textbooks, because of the cost. 65% of student have not bought a text because of the cost and 37% have dropped a course because of the textbook cost. (Fischer et al., 2020)

Data retrieved from palni.org/palsave/about

Customized Course Materials: Textbooks are written with a specific goal in mind. Similarly, courses are built with a focus, which is usually the learning objectives. There is a movement in education, shifting the focus off of textbooks. But sometimes textbooks do not support that mission. So, when making custom materials, like OER, an instructor can remix or create a text, video, podcast, and other openly licensed learning materials that make sense for the course. Faculty can use, improve, and share materials. Faculty can network and collaborate with others. And in turn, this creates materials that are tailored to a course, with current information (and they can be updated regularly!). Please note: some Creative Commons Licenses do have restrictions, like NoDerivatives (nothing can be changed) or  ShareAlike (it must be shared with the same licensing).

Academic Success: Courses build with OER have been found to have as good or better outcomes than those using commercial textbooks. At TrineOnline, we have over 200 OER courses, with entire programs built using the content to promote our students’ success.


Learn more about PALNI, the PALSave program, and other initiatives from our library consortium: https://palni.org/palsave/about


Fischer, L., Belikov, O., Ikahihifo, T., Hilton IIIm J., Wiley, D., & Martin, M. (2020). Academic librarians examination of students’ and faculty perceptions of open educational resources. Open Praxis, 12(3). https://doi.org/10.5944/openpraxis.12.3.1081


Updated: January 2024


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Open Engagement by Andrea Bearman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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