University of New England - Innovation for a Healthier Planet

Open Education Week

March 7-11 is Open Education Week! OE Week is a celebration of the global open education movement. The goal is to raise awareness about the movement and its impact on teaching and learning worldwide.  

Cost of course materials is a top concern for both students and parents as prices have risen four times the rate of inflation over the past 20 years. Students often increase their educational loan amounts to cover these costs, adding to their debt upon graduation, or choose not to purchase books, affecting their academic performance and retention. Low income, BIPOC, and first-generation students are disproportionately impacted.

Celebrate OE Week  


Fill out this brief and survey to tell us how much you spent on textbooks this semester. We are collecting data about the cost of textbooks so that we can better understand your needs. Your responses are anonymous.


See our new webpage on affordable course materials.  

Follow us this week on social media to learn more about OERs! 

What are OERs?

Open Educational Resources (OERs) 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 re-purposing by others.

William & Flora Hewlett Foundation  

OERs allow revising and remixing of content so that faculty can teach exactly what they want to teach and how they want to teach it. 

OERs are released under an open license, known as the 5Rs, which grant permissions for everyone to: 

  • Retain — users have the right to make, archive, and own copies of the content 
  • Reuse — content can be reused in its unaltered form 
  • Revise — content can be adapted, adjusted, modified, and altered 
  • Remix — original or revised content can be combined with other content to create something new 
  • Redistribute — copies of the content can be shared with others in its original, revised or remixed form. 

OERs include a wide variety of digital course materials, from textbooks, full courses, quizzes, homework assignment and more.

What About the Quality of OERs?

Studies show that 93% of students who use OER do as well or better than those using traditional materials, since they have easy access to the content starting day one of the course. 

Many open textbooks are created within rigorous editorial and peer-review guidelines. Many OER repositories allow faculty to review and see others’ reviews of the material. Here is some evidence supporting the quality of OER:  

One of the most recognized open textbook publishers—created a library of 27 peer-reviewed, professional-grade open textbooks for the highest enrollment college courses. These books are kept up to date through a centrally-controlled errata process. 
The Open Textbook Library
Collection of over 400 open textbooks. Prospective users can read public reviews of the books written by faculty, which assess the text through a star rating and a ten-point rubric. 

OER Support

if you’ve thought about adopting Open Education Resources and aren’t sure where to start—let us know! We can assist you with a search for high-quality open-source resources and set up access via the Library website or DUNE.  

Are you using OER in your classroom? We would love to hear from you!