OER (Open Educational Resources) are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and repurposing by others. OER include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge. (Definition from the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition [SPARC]). For more information, read OER Mythbusting on SPARC's website.
To help increase access to higher education.
By making sure each course includes all materials and resources needed, we are putting all students on the same level. Each student has equal access to the same information, ensuring fairness and equality among all students enrolled in the OER course.
To make higher education more affordable.
By eliminating the burden of additional textbook costs, the actual cost of taking an OER course is reduced. Often, this is a significant reduction which translates to considerable savings over time. This can result in much lower student debt, making attaining the Associate Degree easier and more valuable.
To help increase student success.
By giving all students in an OER course equal access, and removing the burden of additional expenses to those who can least afford them, students have a better chance of being successful in the course, continuing their enrollment, and achieving their academic goals.
(Presentation excerpt from 'The OER Trifecta: Access, Affordability and Student Success,' by Dr. Wm. Preston Davis for WCET, Nov. 21, 2014)