Skip to Main Content

Open Educational Resources (OER): Home

This guide provides information and resources for faculty who are interested in exploring opportunities for using textbooks and learning materials published through non-commercial sources in their (physical or virtual) classrooms.

OER Resources: An Overview

Welcome to Atlantic Cape Community College's guide to understanding, finding, and using open educational resources (OER) and other materials that minimize costs to students. The guide contains many resources for faculty who wish to understand more about OER, help for getting started, identifying and selecting textbooks and classroom materials, and tools for creating new OER material and adapting existing resources. In the spirit of OER, many of the items in this guide have been adapted, with appropriate accreditation, from OER guides published by other libraries.

Upcoming Events

The Five Rs of OER

1. 1.	Retain: Make and own a copy; 2. Reuse: Use in a wide range of ways; 3. Revise: Adapt, modify, and improve; 4. Remix: Combine two or more; 5. Redistribute: Share with others.

"5Rs image" by David Wiley, Lumen Learning is licensed under CC BY 4.0


Further Reading

Understanding OER

Creative Commons provides the following definition of Open Educational Resources:

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research materials that are either (a) in the public domain or (b) licensed in a manner that provides everyone with free and perpetual permission to engage in the 5R activities

Creative Commons

This definition, from the Hewlett Foundation, is widely quoted by many scholars interested in this topic:

At Hewlett, we use the term “open education” to encompass the myriad of learning resources, teaching practices and education policies that use the flexibility of OER to provide learners with high quality educational experiences. Creative Commons defines OER as teaching, learning, and research materials that are either (a) in the public domain or (b) licensed in a manner that provides everyone with free and perpetual permission to engage in the 5R activities– retaining, remixing, revising, reusing and redistributing the resources.

~William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

OER: Opportunities and Challenges

The primary reason why most instructors and institutions move toward using OER materials is cost. The following chart, from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, shows how the cost of textbooks is helping to put higher education beyond the means of many people.

Chart: Consumer Price Index Textbooks, Tuition, All Materials Comparison shows how between 2006 and 2016, the rising cost of textbooks outpaced general inflation by over 30%.

Many OER proponents have identified other advantages:

  • Material can be tailored to a specific course.
  • Save time by adapting existing material instead of starting from scratch.
  • Expand opportunities for cross-disciplinary teaching and learning.
  • Increase opportunities for collaboration within and across institutions.
  • Better meet the needs of diverse learners, and include many voices.
  • Can encourage students to transition from knowledge consumption to knowledge creation.


This guide was developed by Leslie Murtha, Robert Mast, Amanda Carey, Janet Hauge, and Mike Sargente, Atlantic Cape Community College Libraries.
Published June 2020.