The Basics 

Open educational resources (OER) are materials for education which are shared with an open license that allows faculty & students to do the 5 R’s: revise, remix, reuse, redistribute, and retain.

Meaning, they can be downloaded, customized to your course, saved locally, and shared back out with attribution.

Sounds simple?  Here's a few more things you should know.

OER: is not a real term.  If you are looking for these resources, use "open educational resources" or "textbook affordability".

​Only FREE & ONLINE: OER materials can be found online, but print options for faculty or students are easily available for a low cost.

Textbook Affordability means ONLY FREE TEXTBOOKS:  Actually, affordable means just that, affordable options for students.  Open education is about providing the best resources for students to be successful in their courses while being affordable.  This can be using open texts, supplementing copyrighted materials with open materials, using library resources, or other combinations that provide students with a quality, accessible education.

Affordable options are typically classified as Low Cost courses.  Each institution has its own definition of what a low cost course is.  While the amount varies, most courses classified as having low cost materials total $50 or under. 

Below are some other related terms.


And since we're talking about affordable...

Here are some facts.

  • Americans hold over $1 trillion dollars in student loan debt.

  • Textbook prices have risen over 1,000% since 1977.

  • 5 major publishers own 90% of the $9 billion textbook market.

  • If every college student in the US has just one textbook replaced with an OER, it would save students $1 billion every year.

CONTACT >  T: 406-994-5715


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Site and subsequent materials, created by Christina Trunnell, licensed with CC-BY 4.0 International License to TRAILS OER Program.  Images on the site, unless otherwise noted, are licensed to Christina Trunnell.