What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?

Open Educational Resources are free educational materials that reside in the public domain or have been released under a license that permits their free use and repurposing by others. OER include full courses, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other materials used to support access to knowledge. 

The Open & Affordable Education Committee is working to support OER and other affordable course materials at Iowa State. Our major contributors include representatives from the three offices below: 

Recent News

June 18, 2019

As a German Studies prof at the University of Waterloo, and someone who has a strong affinity to the humanities and liberal arts education, I wanted to explore how well the OER concept might work in a field like mine. I teach a lot of courses in cultural studies – cultural history, literature, film – that are open to all students, and which are tailored to the particular context of our university, our department, and the interests and aspirations of our institution’s students.

May 6, 2019

McGraw-Hill and Cengage, two major textbook publishers, announced Wednesday that they would merge, creating the second-largest supplier of textbooks and higher-education materials. Right now, five companies control about 80% of the textbook market and, if the merger is approved by regulators, that number could go down to four.

May 3, 2019

There's no single template for professional development that can be applied at every institution or in every context. But seeing the breadth of professional development approaches might inspire solutions or plant seeds for ideas that will bloom later. "Inside Digital Learning" examined three professional development programs: two for online instructors and one for incorporating OER into the classroom. Here's how they developed their models, and what they've learned in the process.

March 28, 2019

Though the financial impact of OER and other affordability initiatives is important, especially as tuition rates continue climbing, it's not their only advantage, said Abbey Elder, open access and scholarly communication librarian. There are significant educational benefits, too. For instance, OER course content can be edited and updated frequently and simply, personalized for teaching styles and accessed by students on the first day of class into perpetuity.

March 15, 2019

Abbey Elder, Open Access & Scholarly Communication librarian, and Kyle Collins, associate dean of Online and Blended Learning for Northeast Iowa Community College, presented to the Iowa House and Senate Education Committees on Feb. 18. The purpose of this presentation was to educate the legislature about the high cost of college textbooks and to explain how open educational resources (OER) can help with these costs in some cases.