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Open Educational Resources


Open Educational Resources (OER) are any type of educational material that is freely available for faculty and students to use, adapt, share, and reuse.  Examples of OER include learning content (lesson plans, assignments, textbooks, exams, and videos) as well as tools for learning (software for creating videos and websites and training materials).


Research about Student Learning/Engagement and OERs:


Why Consider OER for course resources?


Move beyond the restraints of traditional pedagogy and explore new ways to connect students with learning content.  Open Educational Resources allow instructors to customize course content to the specific learning goals of their courses and adapt new approaches to teaching and learning. 


With the rising cost of higher education, every dollar counts.  The ballooning cost of expensive textbooks and course materials is outpacing inflation and wages, resulting in a negative impact on students.  The 2016-2017 report from the National Association of College Stores found students spent an average of $579 on their required course materials.   Four publishers control 80% of the course material market and do not not provide multiple user access purchase models to academic libraries - they sell exclusively to individual users.

Student Success and Retention

One study shows that 65% of students don't buy textbooks due to the cost, even when they know it will affect their grade.  Nearly 50% of students reported that the cost of textbooks directly impacts what types and the number of classes students are able to take.  Help your students succeed by using no-cost textbooks and course materials. 

Creative Commons Licenses

Most OER content is released under a public license, thus you do not have to seek additional permission from the rightsholder in order to do the things authorized by the license. However, you do still need to follow the license terms. For example, the license may require attribution to the original author or it may forbid commercial uses. Other public licenses include the licenses on the lists of free software licenses maintained by the Free Software Foundation and the licenses approved by the Open Source Initiative

The following descriptions of the Creative Commons licenses come from About the Licenses by Creative Commons and are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

Attribution: CC BY

CC BY Icon

  • This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered. Recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials.
  • CC BY License Deed
  • CC BY Legal Code

Attribution-ShareAlike: CC BY-SA


  • This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. This license is often compared to “copyleft” free and open source software licenses. All new works based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use. This is the license used by Wikipedia, and is recommended for materials that would benefit from incorporating content from Wikipedia and similarly licensed projects.
  • CC BY-SA License Deed
  • CC BY-SA Legal Code

Attribution-NoDerivs: CC BY-ND


Attribution-NonCommercial: CC BY-NC


  • This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don't have to license their derivative works on the same terms.
  • CC BY-NC License Deed
  • CC BY-NC Legal Code

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike: CC BY-NC-SA


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs: CC BY-NC-ND


  • This license is the most restrictive of our six main licenses, only allowing others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.
  • CC BY-NC-ND License Deed
  • CC BY-NC-ND Legal Code

Cathy Michael

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Cathy Michael
Ithaca College Library 953 Danby Rd
Ithaca, NY 14850‑7002