Open and affordable educational resources are any learning or teaching resources that are available at little or no cost to students. These can include textbooks, course readings, course syllabi, multimedia, games, assessment tools, or any other material that can be used for educational purposes.
Open and affordable educational resources are transforming the educational landscape today:
- They are free or low-cost to students
- All students have access to course materials on day one of classes. They allow customization, remixing, and the ability for instructors to be more involved with their course content
- They often include ancillary materials, such as multimedia, lecture slides, lab manuals, and more
- Students can be involved in the creation of ancillary materials, quiz banks, and other learning tools, which deepens their engagement with course content
- Because open and affordable materials are freely available online, students can return to it as much as they choose to, enabling the possibilities of life-long learning
- A University of Georgia study found that students using Open Educational Resources (OER) actually got better grades
Finding Open and Affordable Educational Resources
One of the biggest challenges Rutgers faculty face in converting their courses to low- or no-cost is finding discipline-specific, appropriate, and rigorous materials. The links on this site are selected to promote discovery of open and affordable educational resources.
The Open Textbook Library is a multidisciplinary curated list of open textbooks. It is a great place to find best-bet texts in your discipline. The standards for inclusion in the Open Textbook Library are that the book must be available to download at no cost and/or printed at low cost and that it must be used at multiple higher education institutions; or be in some other way associated with an institution, scholarly society, or professional organization. Additionally, many of these books have been reviewed by faculty to assess their quality. The Open Textbook Library is supported by the Center for Open Education and the Open Education Network.
There is no comprehensive way to search for open course materials, but The Metafinder from George Mason University provides a one-stop search of most major repositories, including OER Commons, OpenStax, and BC Commons.
Not Finding What You Need?
Rutgers University librarians are available to help faculty members and instructors interested in incorporating open and affordable materials in their classroom, or those wanting to find these materials in order to apply for the Open and Affordable Textbooks (OAT) Program. For more suggestions, or if you would like to be referred to a subject specialist in your area of teaching, please contact an OAT team member.