On Affordable/Open Educational Resources



Open educational resources (OER) are materials that are freely and openly licensed for use in teaching, learning, research and other purposes. One of the most commonly cited definitions follows:

OER 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. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge. (The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation)

Affordable educational resources (AER) are materials are those that offer access to students for lower costs than traditional publisher texts, often at $40 or less per course. AutoAccess is a collaborative program between the UMSL Triton Store, faculty, and publishers that provides required materials automatically when a student enrolls in the course--at a reduced cost. For more information, contact the bookstore.


Frequently Asked Questions


If materials are free, doesn't that mean they are of low-quality?

No! Even though many of these resources have been made freely available, they are often produced with a great deal of thought and care.

Most OER are written by academics and peer-reviewed. Furthermore, most who adopt OER are experts in their fields and are therefore optimally suited to judge a resource's quality.1

Why should faculty consider switching to lower or no-cost materials?

Between the years 2006 and 2016 college textbook prices increased at a rate more than three times that of inflation outpacing college tuition and fees... students are being taken advantage of when it comes to course materials. OER also enables pedagogy impossible with traditional textbooks and resources.
1. All defintiions are from the University of Oklahoma OER page.

Where did the idea of "open" resources come from?

The term "open content" was coined in 1998 by David Wiley and was inspired by the open software movement. The prevalence of open educational resources and the community supporting them has been growing since.

What do I need to know about licensing?

Creative Commons Licenses are legal terms that supplement copyright –not an alternative to copyright. They work alongside copyright and enable the modification of its terms to fit specific needs. Applying a Creative Commons License to a work can be thought of as changing the familiar "All rights reserved" to "Some rights reserved."

Learn more about open education by browsing Judy Baker's open online text, "Introduction to Open Educational Resources."




A/OER: A UM System Initiative



Why Adopt A/OER Materials?





For more information, please visit the UMSL Open Educational Resources LibGuide.