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Open Educational Resources (OER) at WCC: Discover OER

Impact of Textbook Costs on Students

Impact of Textbook Costs on Students
47.6% Take Fewer Courses
45.5% Don't register for a specific course
26.1% Drop a Course
20.7% Withdraw from a course
37.6% Earned a poor grade because they didn't buy the textbook
19.8% Failed a course because they didn't buy the textbook
66.6% Don't purchase the required textbook

Finding OER

OER Search Basics

Boolean Operators

Public Domain

Introduction to Open Educational Resources

What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?

OER are educational materials that are specifically designed by their creator/s to be openly available, and are often licensed to be re-used, re-mixed, and re-distributed.  Open is not just about low cost (though that is an important benefit of using OER) but about the ability to take what others have created, customize it for your specific educational needs, and then share your creation with others.  

OER come in a variety of forms:

  • Primary sources - Images, video, and sound recordings.  Some  sources are in the public domain, while others have been licensed as open by their creators.   In addition, many texts that are in the public domain are available online/electronically.
  • Learning content - created content that ranges from individual lectures, animations, and assessments to complete courses and textbooks.  

Why OER?

The open resource movement has been around for a while, starting with static learning objects (about 2000), and transitioning to OER that allowed for revision and reuse. It is the ever increasing cost of textbooks and materials for students that is now pushing the OER movement forward.  Textbooks and learning materials cost students approximately $1,200 per year.  According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, 7 in 10 students didn't purchase a textbook because it was too expensive.  Through OER the cost of student materials can be drastically reduced.  OER also give instructors the ability to customize the materials, creating the "perfect" textbook instead of being bound to traditional print resources. 


SUNY and CUNY were given $4 million each by Governor Cuomo and the state of New York to implement OER in high-enrollment, general education courses for the 2018-2019 Academic year.  WCC established an OER program and hired an OER coordinator in January 2018. 

How to get started

The first step is finding OER, and that is what this guide is designed to do, so check out

  • the Open Textbooks page will link you to repositories of open and free textbooks you can customize and adopt for your courses.
  • the Discipline Specific OER section shows examples of content specific to your discipline, and new discipline areas appear regularly
  • the Finding OER section will help you navigate through discipline-specific sources of OER, as well as find openly licensed images.

SPECIAL NOTE:  This page is specifically designed to introduce OER to the WCC community, but don't forget that there are electronic resources available to you through the College Library.  WCC Libraries have licensed journals, databases, primary content, and an increasing number of ebooks. These resources are restricted to faculty, staff and students, they do not allow for customization and re-use in the same way as OER. Though these are not "open", they are resources that you can make available at not cost for your students. For more information: Ask a Librarian.

Read More about OER


Creative Commons License Open Educational Resources (OER) from Westchester Community College by Elaine Farrally-Plourde is a derivative of Open Educational Resources (OER) by UWM Libraries and JCC Library and Tutoring Center used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.  

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