Open educational resources (OER) are completely free to access online and also free of most copyright restrictions, meaning it’s legal to copy, share, edit, mix, keep and use those materials.
“Affordable” materials are zero-cost or low-cost to students. Zero-cost materials may include no-cost online materials (such as government reports or data sets) and library-licensed materials (such as eBooks or videos purchased by the library for campus-wide use). “Low-cost” is subjective; we encourage folks to ask local students what “affordable” means in their context.
Zero cost means OER can be used as an equity strategy to ensure that all students have equal access to learning materials needed to succeed academically. Research shows that all students benefit from OER, but Pell-eligible students benefit disproportionately more.
Freedom from conventional copyright constraints means that OER offer maximum pedagogical flexibility. Instructors can exercise full authority over their learning materials by editing, updating, and remixing without commercial editorial control.