4 Open Education Resources (OER)

What is oer?

Open Education Resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others. [1]

OER can either be in the public domain, or under a Creative Common license, which allows creators a choice of which rights they wish to retain.

OER can be revised, remixed, added upon, translated, and then shared again to meet different needs.

OER can take many forms, such as: syllabi, lesson plans, videos, software, tests, teaching techniques, group activities, writing prompts, textbooks, learning modules, experiments, simulations, and course designs. There are no platform restraints.[2]

Why Use OER?

There are many reasons instructors might want to use OER:

Free and Legal to Use, Improve and Share

  • Save time and energy by adapting or revising resources that have already been created
  • Tailor educational resources to the specific content for your course, by incorporating multi-media or by adding scenario-based education
  • Practice Open Pedagogy and include your students in the co-creation of OER
  • Exercise academic freedom to go beyond the confines of “teaching to the book”
  • Host your adopted, adapted, or created OER conveniently on NIC’s Pressbook platform

Network and Collaborate with Peers

  • Access educational resources that have already been “peer reviewed” by other experts in your field
  • Review OER texts so other instructors quickly have more in-depth knowledge of the resource and its quality
  • Connect and collaboratively review, adapt, or create OER with others in your field

Lower Educational Cost and Improve Access to Information

  • Reduce the cost of course materials, particularly textbooks, so that all students have access and aren’t as financially burdened
  • Students have early and forever access to OER
  • Improve student motivation, retention, completion, and engagement
  • Support the current Project Z statewide initiative to make it possible for students to earn an Associate Degree with zero or very low (less than $30) textbook costs

Global Impact

Multiple studies on faculty implementations, misunderstandings, acceptance of, and evaluation of OER have been completed. The Review Project has curated a number of empirical studies published in scholarly journals on the topic. Their general conclusion is:

Once adopted, OER provide the permissions necessary for faculty to engage in a wide range of pedagogical innovations. In each of the studies reported above, OER were used in manner very similar to the traditional textbooks they replaced. We look forward to reviewing empirical articles describing the learning impacts of open pedagogies.

Impact at NIC

Since Fall of 2022, OER-adopting NIC faculty have saved students approximately $71,000 by replacing costly textbooks with high quality Open Education Resource textbooks.

In addition, three OER have been created by NIC instructors in the last year with more currently in production. Messages That Matter became NIC’s first published OER Pressbook in May, 2023.

In Summer 2023, a “low-cost materials” icon was added to the Course Catalog, which allows students to filter their course searches by this criteria, and find those courses which use OER, require no textbooks, or have textbooks that cost less than $30. Instructors, whose course should include a low-cost icon, should contact their department administrative assistant to have the designation added.

a brief overview

  1.  Watch the short film below for brief overview.
  2. Explore the OER@NIC guide for more information on OER and Project Z at North Idaho College.
  3.  Review the Open Education Resources page on NIC’s eLearning website.

More information?

Your OER Coordinator can help you:
1.  Find Open Education Resources
2. Get access and training in using OER tools like Pressbook and H5P
3. Learn about Creative Commons licenses
4. Connect you with others in your field using, adapting, creating OER
5.  Implement your OER into your Canvas course
6. Find financial incentives to support your OER work
7. Connect with the NIC OER Workgroup


OER Coordinator: Geoff Carr
Office: Boswell Hall 146B
Phone: 769-3228

  1. Source: The William and Flora Hewlett FoundationLinks to an external site.
  2. Source: The Review ProjectLinks to an external site.


2024/25 Faculty Handbook - North Idaho College Copyright © 2022 by alhasz. All Rights Reserved.

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