Skip to Main Content

Open Educational Resources


This guide is for faculty at Commonwealth University to learn about, find, and use Open Educational Resources (OER) and other no/low cost course materials in their classes.  If you are a student needing to access an online textbook or access code for your class, visit the FAQ for online textbooks.

To get started, let's get some terms straight.

Open Educational Resources (OER): teaching and learning materials that you may freely use and reuse at no cost, and without needing to ask permission (definition from OER Commons). OER creators license their works with Creative Commons (CC) licenses that wave most or all restrictions under copyright. 

Zero-textbook cost (ZTC) courses: courses that do not require students to purchase any course materials, even if there is some other fee for the course. The course could use an OER or some other free but copyrighted material.

Low-cost course: at Commonwealth University, a designation that means all total costs for a course (course materials + fees) is $40 and under.

To learn more about how faculty have been using OER and other no/low cost course materials to increase student success, visit the OER Initiative page.

What Are OER? Are They Any Good?

Have you heard about OER but aren't sure what they are, how they can be offered for free, and if they are any good?  This video provides a short overview.  Running time ~9 minutes.  Closed Captioning.

Attribution--CC BY

Link mentioned in the video:

Why OER?


The Council of Chief State School Officers. CC BY 4.0. 3 mins 48 secs.


Need more research on OER?