7 Why else are Faculty using OER?

In addition to student impact, accessibility and social justice concerns, faculty are using OER in the classroom for a myriad different reasons. These include:

  • By providing an openly licensed digital textbook as the core text in the place of the previously used publisher’s textbook, students are able to access the  textbook from one of their devices before the first day of classes. This means that students are able to engage with course material from day one, regardless of the book’s availability in the bookstore or on Amazon, or on a student’s ability to afford the cost of the textbook.
  • Using an OER allows students and professors to scan, email, print, distribute and even modify core course materials without worrying about traditional copyright concerns.  Faculty can, therefore, tailor textbooks to meet the interests and/or needs of their students, as well as to improve sections of a textbook that they are not completely satisfied with (Martin & Kimmons, 2020).
  • The online nature of most OER is appealing to faculty as this allows for a resource to be modified as soon as it becomes out-dated (no need to wait for a second print edition to come out) and also allows for the integration of other media sources (such as videos, interactive quizzes, etc.).
  • OER enables faculty to author their own content. By publishing an OER, faculty can easily share their work with others in similar fields,  increasing their visibility in academic circles and enabling opportunities for networking with like-minded colleagues.
  • In one study (Eulho et al. 2017), 62% of faculty members surveyed found the OER they assigned in class to be “about the same quality as traditional textbooks,” whereas 19% of faculty members surveyed found the OER they assigned in class to be “better quality.” Thus, faculty are using OER resources because they are just as good (if not better) as traditional textbooks.

Teach Concepts, Not Chapters

Perhaps the best reason faculty use OER in their teaching is because OER enable faculty to teach concepts, not chapters. Many faculty find that when they move away from a commercial textbook, they are better able to align resources with their specific learning objectives. Based on the ability to legally copy and repurpose OER, content can be customized by faculty in alignment with their course learning outcomes. Furthermore, course content can be edited and sequenced to make learning outcomes transparent and learning tasks more active.


Euhlo, J., Bauer, C.,  & Heaps, A. (2017). Higher education faculty perceptions of open textbook adoption. International Review  of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 18(4).

Martin, T., & Kimmons, R. (2020). Faculty members’ lived experiences with choosing open educational resources. Open Praxis, 12(1). Retrieved from https://openpraxis.org/index.php/OpenPraxis/article/view/987/682 



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OER @ Niagara College: A Quickstart Guide for Faculty Copyright © by Jackie Chambers Page and Siscoe Boschman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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