Answered By: The Library
Last Updated: Oct 19, 2023     Views: 135

The use of Open Educational Resources (OER) has been shown to increase student learning while breaking down barriers of affordability and accessibility. Researchers found that students in courses that used OER had better grades, and lower failure and withdrawal rates compared to courses that did not use OER.

In addition to demonstrating support for sustainability education and the University’s commitment to Sustainable Development Goals, there are specific benefits to using OER in your curriculum.

Benefits to using OER include:

  • Expanded access to learning: Students anywhere in the world can access OER at any time, and they can access the material repeatedly.
  • Scalability: OER are easy to distribute widely with little to no cost.
  • Augmentation of class materials: OER can supplement textbooks and lectures where limitations in information are evident.
  • Enhancement of regular course content: E.g., multimedia material such as videos can accompany text. 
  • Quick circulation: Information may be disseminated rapidly, especially when compared to information published in textbooks or journals. Quick availability of material may increase the timeliness and/or relevance of the material being presented.
  • Showcasing of innovation and talent: A wider audience may learn of staff research interests and expertise. Potential students and donors may be impressed, and student and staff recruitment may be enhanced.
  • Ties for Alumni: OER provides an excellent way for Alumni to stay connected to the institution and continue with a program of lifelong learning.
  • Continually improved resources: Unlike textbooks and other static sources of information, OER can be improved quickly through direct editing by users or through solicitation and incorporation of user feedback. Instructors can take an existing OER, adapt it for a class, and make the modified OER available for others to use.

This infographic provides an overview of the benefits of using OER.

Contact your School Librarian for more information about the Western Open Books service.

For publishing support with your open textbook, please submit your query through the Western Open Books form.