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Open Educational Resources (OER): Home

Why OER matters

What is OER?

United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO) defines Open Educational Resources (OERs) as follows:

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise – that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions.

OER Video

What makes it "Open"?

OERs are licensed in such a way that enables adopters to utilize the 5 R permissions:

Retain a copy of the content
Reuse the content in a range of ways
Revise the content as needed
Remix original or revised content with other material
Redistribute the original, revisions, and remixes with others

Creative Commons licenses are often applied to OERs to license these rights to adopters.

Rising expenses in higher education

It's not news that higher education has become increasingly expensive over the years. Students struggle to afford tuition increases and fees. Add in the sky rocketing costs to purchase textbooks to the equation and the ramifications are even more pronounced. Access to course material and textbooks play a critical role in student success.  A Florida Virtual Campus study conducted in 2012 reveals that 23% of students choose not to purchase textbooks due to the high cost.

According to U.S. PIRG:

1. High textbook costs continue to deter students from purchasing their assigned materials despite concern for their grades.

2. High textbook costs can have a ripple effect on students’ other academic decisions.

3. Students want alternatives, expressing support for textbooks that are available free online and buying a hard copy is optional.

Interested in Converting Your Course to OER?

Faculty interested in converting a course to employ Open Educational Resources (OER) are urged to contact the Library at or (973) 720-2116. Our staff can assist you in the process with advice and assistance to facilitate making a course available with Open Educational Resources.


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Richard Kearney
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Electronic Resources Librarian
Reference and Information Services Office, Room 107g
David and Lorraine Cheng Library
William Paterson University
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ 07470