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Faculty OER Toolbox

This guide provides an introduction to OER and links to OER and other resources available.

What is an Open Educational Resource?

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that you may freely use and reuse, without charge. That means they have been authored or created by an individual or organization that chooses to retain few, if any, ownership rights. For some of these resources, that means you can download the resource and share it with colleagues and students. For others, it may be that you can download a resource, edit it in some way, and then re-post it as a remixed work. OER often have a Creative Commons or GNU license that state specifically how the material may be used, reused, adapted, and shared. -- from OER Commons

OER content does not require a request for permission to use it. There are 5 R's of Open Education Resources use.

1. Retain:  You can keep the work forever.

2. Reuse:  You can use the work for your own purpose.

3. Revise:  You can adapt, modify, or translate the work.

4. Remix:  You can combine it with another resource to make a new work.

5. Redistribute:  You can share the work with others.

For more information on OER and Creative Commons licenses, visit the NC LIVE OER Guide

Why use OER?

Pile of money with graduation cap on top depicting the high cost of education.

Students need access to course texts to be successful. Yet the cost of textbooks has risen 3 to 4 times the rate of inflation over the last few decades. Consequently, students often do not buy their textbooks because they simply cannot afford them.

Did you know?

  • The cost barrier kept 2.4 million low and moderate-income college-qualified high school graduates from completing college in the first decade of this century.*
  • 50% of community college students were food insecure.**
  • 46% were housing insecure.**
  • 12% were homeless.**
  • About 2/3 of students borrow to get through school.***
  • The average student borrower in North Carolina owes more than $25,562 in student loans (Class of 2015).***



*The Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance,

**2018 Still Hungry and Homeless in College, study available at:


***The Institute for College Access & Success Project on Student Debt, available at:

UNC-Greensboro Students Share Their Thoughts on Textbook Costs