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Affordable & Open Educational Resources (A&OER)

Affordable & Open Educational Resources are academic materials that everyone can use, adapt and share freely. The purpose of this guide is to help faculty learn about and use affordable OER to support student success.

Affordable & Open Educational Resources (A&OER)

The OER movement, which supports the creation and dissemination of freely accessible and openly copyrighted course materials, has driven the conversation about course materials and textbook affordability and its impact on student success. 

OER, Open Educational Resources logo“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 re-purposing 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.” Source: Open Educational Resources, William & Flora Hewlett Foundation 

OER Quick Start Guide

OER Basics

The 5 Rs of Openness

The 5Rs of Openness

The Open Education movement is built around the the 5 Rs of Openness,  coined by David Wiley.

  • Retain – the right to make, own, and control copies of the content
  • 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 open content 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)  (David Wiley Blog)

Five R's of Openness Retain, Redistribute, Revise, Remix, Reuse

Levels of Openness

1) Truly open - free resources that can be used in whole or part. These may be public domain (copyright free) or have a CC (Creative Commons) copyright license that allows open use, including copying, modifying, use in course packs, etc. 

2) Free to use with restrictions - there are several levels of Creative Commons copyright permissions, some of which require that the resource be kept whole (not modified or remixed), include attribution, and/or include a link back to the source. TED Talks are an example of this. Always read the site's usage policy. 

3) Low cost to the student - this includes library resources or other materials paid for by the institution and  "OER" textbooks on a paid platform. Some institutions provide OER textbooks and subsidized printing, so they are free as e-books and low cost as hard copies for students. Library materials under copyright may or may not already be licensed for classroom use; fair use guidelines may apply. 

Levels of Use

1) Adopt - use an existing open textbook or other OER without making changes.

2) Adapt - modify an open resource or mix parts of several existing open resources.

3) Create - author your own textbook or other resource, and make it open. 

St. Louis Community College Libraries

Florissant Valley Campus Library
3400 Pershall Rd.
Ferguson, MO 63135-1408
Phone: 314-513-4514

Forest Park Campus Library
5600 Oakland
St. Louis, MO 63110-1316
Phone: 314-644-9210

Meramec Campus Library
11333 Big Bend Road
St. Louis, MO 63122-5720
Phone: 314-984-7797

Wildwood Campus Library
2645 Generations Drive
Wildwood, MO 63040-1168
Phone: 636-422-2000