Image Map Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Open Educational Resources (OER): What are OERs and Why Are They Important?

Free or low cost teaching resources - textbooks, courses, study guides and more.

Definitions and Dollars


Open Educational Resources (OER) are textbooks, courses, study guides, sample tests and other teaching and learning resources available for free or at a very low cost.

Creative Commons-licensed works are articles, pictures, courses and other resources where the author has specifically released some of their rights.  They might allow anyone to make multiple copies, or to use their work to create another work, for example. For more information, see


Why Should Instructors Consider Using OER?

Textbooks cost too much.

  • College textbook costs have far outpaced inflation over the last two decades.*
  • Textbooks  made up more than 1/4 of the cost of 2011-12 public two-year college costs, at over $1,000 per year.**
  • 7 in 10 students have skipped buying a textbook because of its cost.*** 


Some RTC Instructors Are Already Using OER

Curt Holman, Accounting Instructor:  "OER textbooks are wonderful for students. Prior to OER books, some students could not afford to buy a book until the middle of the quarter (if ever). Not having a resource book can be a major contributor to failure."


*"Rip Off 101 - 2nd Edition".  CALPIRG. 

**"Average Net Price - Public Institutions" in Trends in College Pricing 2012.

***"7 in 10 students have skipped buying a textbook because of its cost" in Chronicle of Higher Education.