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Textbook Affordability and Open Educational Resources (OER)

This guide is an introduction to Open Educational Resources (OER) and efforts to lower student textbook and course material costs at CCC.

What are OER?

Open Educational Resources 

Open Educational Resources (OER) are any type of educational materials that are in the public domain or introduced with an open (Creative Commons) license. The nature of these open materials means that anyone can legally and freely copy, use, adapt and reshare them. OER can include:

  • Learning content: full courses, course material, content modules, learning objects, collections, and journals.
  • Tools: software to support the creation, delivery, use and improvement of open learning content including searching and organization of content, content and learning management systems, content development tools, and online learning communities.
  • Implementation resources: Intellectual property licenses to promote open publishing of materials, design-principles, and localization of content.

Benefits of OER

Open educational resources are exciting from both student and faculty perspectives.

Student Perspective: OER helps reduce textbook costs!

  • Textbook costs have become a barrier for students. Since 2006, the cost of a college textbooks has increased by 73% (US PIRG, 2016).
  • Textbook prices disproportionately impact community college students: 50% of students report using financial aid for books at community colleges, compared to 28% at 4 year public schools. And, on average, community college students use more financial aid than their peers at 4 year schools (US PIRG, 2016).

Faculty Perspective: More control over pedagogy.

  • "The real promise of OER is not just the free high-quality learning materials and textbooks. It's the process itself, how materials are created, used, adapted and improved that creates a whole new set of possibilities." ~Lisa Petrides, Ph.D Founder Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education

OER create equality in educational opportunities

Blank screen, prefer the HD version, or want Closed Captioning? Watch the YouTube video.
Originally published by intheacademia (2012).

Oregon's OER initiative - HB2871

The State of Oregon, through House Bill 2871, made a "legislative investment in the area of textbook affordability, with a specific focus on the development of Open Educational Resources (OER)" (HECC, 2015). In layperson language, Oregon has asked public colleges and universities to work to reduce textbooks costs for students.

Oregon House Bill 2871 highlights:

  • Section 1: Provides funding to develop OER for 15 high enrollment courses across the state
    • Impact for CCC: Easily accessible, available, reviewed OER and materials for high enrollment courses like WR121, PSY101 and other general education courses will become available soon.
  • Section 2: Provides funding for statewide OER Specialist to support identifying, developing and adopting OER in Oregon higher education
    • Impact for CCC: Additional support, help and funding from the State of Oregon
  • Section 4: Each public university listed in ORS 352.002 and community college shall prominently designate courses whose course materials exclusively consist of open or free textbooks or other low-cost or no-cost course materials. The course designation required by this section must appear in the published course descriptions that are on the Internet or are otherwise provided to students at the time of course registration, including on the campus bookstore course materials list that is provided for the course.
    • Impact for CCC: CCC is developing and implementing a sustainable process and system to designate OER courses at CCC.

Thank you CCC HB2871 Workgroup for the above language.

Who is using OER @ CCC?

Learn about colleagues who have already adopted OER and/or zero-cost textbooks in one or more of their courses.

Already using an OER but not on this list? Contact a librarian ( to discuss how to be added to the CCC OER list. 

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