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Open Educational Resources: Get Started

An introduction to open educational resources (OER).

What Are Open Educational Resources?

 Open Educational Resources (OER) are "teaching, learning and research materials in any medium, digital or otherwise, that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions. " ( 2012 Paris OER Declaration, UNESCO, Paris, June 20-22,2012)

Open Textbooks are a specific type of OER. They provide a free or low cost substitute for a traditional textbook.

Why Use OER?

Benefits of OER:

For Students:

  • Low- or no-costs for students 
    While the college textbook price increased 187.5% between 2006 - 2016, which ranked the highest among all educational costs (Consumer Price Index, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics), OER, especially Open Textbook, has the potential to help lower the cost of higher education. 
  • Convenience and timely access for students
  • Opportunities to contribute to teaching materials

For Instructors and Institutions: 

  • Flexibility of customizing teaching materials and introducing Open Pedagogy
    Instructors can re-mix content from multiple resources to suit their class needs.
  • Time-saving comparing to create your own teaching materials
  • Attracting and retaining more students with lower costs and interactive education

How Can I Be Involved?

The Colorado legislature passed and the Governor signed Senate Bill 17-258, which creates the Open Educational Resources Council. This statewide body is charged to develop a plan for digital repositories to benefit college and K-12 students throughout Colorado.

In 2017, the Colorado OER Council is conducting a state-wide survey to investigate the use of OER. To respond collectively, we are collecting information on Mines campus.

Please provide your feedback regarding OER via one or more of the following means:

  1. Join us for an open session on Thursday, Aug. 31st, 12-1pm, at the Library (Boettcher Room).
  2. Complete this brief survey 
  3. Contact Ye Li at if you’d like to join a focus group discussion on Wednesday, Sept. 6th, 12-1pm.

How Can I Learn More?

Learn more about OER and one of the first few campus-wide conversations on OER by watching the recorded events below. 

Colorado Open Scholarship Series 2017

April 13 - @ Colorado School of Mines

Part I: Open Educational Resources: Reducing Cost, Expanding Access, Improving Quality
Presented by: Nicole Allen, Director of Open Education, SPARC