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Open Educational Resources (OER)

Information about using open educational resources (OER) at Red Deer Polytechnic.

Why should I use OER?

Why should I use OER?

There are many benefits to using OER, including affordability, improving student success, promoting accessibility and inclusion, and easy access.


The price of textbooks has increased significantly over time, even accounting for inflation. According to the CBC, “over the past 15 years, the cost of university textbooks has increased more than four times the rate of inflation. In the past three decades, the costs have risen some 834%; this is more than double the rate of increase in house prices and triple the cost increases in the Consumer Price Index” (CBC, 2014). For students already struggling financially, the cost of textbooks can be insurmountable.

Student Success

Due to the high price, 65% of students report not purchasing a textbook because it was too expensive; of these students, 94% were concerned that not purchasing the textbook would hurt their overall grade (Student Public Interest Research Groups, 2014). What starts as an economic challenge becomes an academic issue, as students can’t learn from textbooks they can’t afford. Matt Reed argues that “a great book that goes unbought and unread isn’t as good as a pretty good book that a student actually reads” (Reed, 2021).

Accessibility & Inclusion

Unlike proprietary publisher content, OER can be adapted to meet accessibility requirements.

OER offers the opportunity for instructors to adapt and curate a wide range of materials. This material may be “authored by a diverse set of individuals, including those who identify as disabled, normalizing and reducing stigma while sharing viewpoints that have historically been marginalized” (SPARC, 2018).


With the permissions granted by open licenses, OER have enhanced access options. Although OER can be in any format, they are primarily available digitally. Since OER are free, students do not need to log in or use a special platform to access these digital texts. Students can read OER on any device, including mobile devices, and in any country. OER can also be downloaded to be read offline, as well as printed without restriction.

About OER

Open Educational Resources (OER) are "teaching, learning, and research resources released under an open license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others. OER can be textbooks, full courses, lesson plans, videos, tests, software, or any other tool, material, or technique that supports access to knowledge." —SPARC Open Education Fact Sheet (pdf)

Open = Free + Permissions

Remember! A resource is only considered "open" if you have the following rights when using it:

the right to make, own, and control copies of the content

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

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

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

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

Image created by Canvas Network (CC-BY)

Text created by Lumen Learning (CC-BY)

Openly Licensed Materials

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