What’s OER?

“Open Educational Resources are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and repurposing by others. OER include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge.”
William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

The 5R Permissions of OER

Open Educational Resources (OER) provide teachers, learners, and others with legal permissions to engage in the 5R activities.

Make, own, and control copies of the content (e.g., download, duplicate, store, and manage)

Use the content in a wide range of ways (e.g., in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video)

Adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language)

Combine the original or revised content with other material to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup).

Share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend).

Have questions? Get in touch.

Why Choose OER?

In eleven separate research studies published in peer-reviewed journals, which include over 48,000 college and university students, 93% of students whose faculty assigned OER in place of commercial textbooks received final course grades that were the same or higher than control students using commercial textbooks (1).

When individual faculty replace commercial textbooks with OER, students get a nice surprise. When an entire degree program replaces commercial textbooks with OER, students get a predictable decrease in the cost to graduate that they can factor into their financial planning.

Open educational resources give faculty the legal permissions necessary to personalize teaching and learning materials for their students, or have students personalize them for themselves, or for each other – opening the door to a wide array of teaching and learning activities that are simply not possible with commercial curriculum.

After Tidewater Community College launched its Z-Degree initiative in fall 2013, it was 20% cheaper to graduate from the Z-Business Administration program compared to students who started with the traditional business program in fall 2012. These savings add up to thousands for every student who completes the OER program. That’s a marketing message that resonates with students who are shopping for the best value.

Initial research studies indicate that students whose faculty assign OER in place of commercial textbooks drop their courses at lower rates (2), keeping them on track to graduate. These students also reinvest the money they saved not buying textbooks in taking additional credits (3), helping them move through their programs faster.

When students stay in class rather than dropping, institutions hold on to tuition revenue they would have otherwise refunded to students. When students reinvest money they would have spent on textbooks to take additional credits, institutions receive net new revenue. And when students move steadily toward graduation, schools that receive formula funding see an additional positive financial impact.

How Do We Engage with Institutions?

With significant prior experience helping institutions and state systems launch OER degree programs, Lumen Learning is a preferred support partner for developing OER degree programs that impact student success.

Contact us to discuss your goals and any questions you may have about OER degree programs.

Contact us

We work with you to provide:

  • Strategy and Planning:  We provide guidance around how to approach OER degree programs academically and administratively, as well as planning for strong alignment with institutional goals and priorities.

  • Training: We train administrators and faculty around the transition to open educational resources, best practices in OER-based course design and pedagogy, and how to support the success of a complete zero textbook cost degree program.

  • Courseware: We provide a complete course structure designed using OER. Then we support faculty as they customize courses to fit their learning outcomes, instructional approach and degree program requirements.

  • Course Design: For high-enrollment courses that are not already part of Lumen’s course catalog, we can work collaboratively with your faculty on OER discovery, instructional design, course-building and licensing review to create new courses designed using OER.

  • Support: We provide guaranteed hosting and availability for all content and tools, LMS integration, and ongoing training and faculty support for instructors teaching with OER.

  • Analytics: We conduct efficacy testing along with content and learning analytics to measure how students are performing and guide faculty to improve and augment course content to strengthen student learning.

  • Continuous improvement: We evaluate student outcomes and incorporate data-driven improvements to strengthen student learning and program sustainability.

  • Community: You become part of a growing community of educators and institutions engaged in using OER to improve affordability, access and student success.

Success Stories

  • Two Cerritos College students, a young man and a young woman, sit on a low stone wall outside a gray classroom building. A third woman is passing by them on the sidewalk, carrying an artist's portfolio.

Cerritos College

The Business Administration Department at Cerritos College began turning to open educational resources because faculty members saw many students struggling when they could not afford to buy expensive textbooks. After OER led to demonstrable improvement in [...]

Salt Lake Community College

    At Salt Lake Community College (SLCC), students in classes that use Lumen-supported OER course materials have higher passing rates, more A’s and fewer failing grades than classes that use expensive commercial publisher materials. [...]

Tidewater Community College

  In 2013, Tidewater Community College, located in coastal Virginia, became the first accredited institution in the U.S. to offer a degree in which students pay nothing for required textbooks. Dubbed the “Z-Degree” (for zero textbook [...]

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