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Faculty Guide to Affordable Educational Resources


Welcome to the Saybrook Library Affordable Educational Resources Guide!

This guide was developed to help promote resources, ideas, tools, and partnerships that can help lower the cost of textbooks and other required readings for students attending TCS Education System affiliate institutions. 

In addition to providing help in finding library-licensed materials to replace expensive textbooks, our library team will be maintaining a guide to Open Educational Resources (OER) that will include links to Open Textbooks, OER Repositories, OER by Disciplines, as well as best practices on adopting and evaluating OER. Our librarians are also willing to work with faculty to identify potential opportunities to use library-licensed materials or OER resources instead of cost-prohibited textbooks. 

Affordable vs. Open Educational Resources

What's the difference between Open Resources (OER) and Open Access (OA) and Affordable Educational Resources (AER)?

Open Educational Resources (OER) 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 and Flora Hewlett Foundation)

Open access (OA) refers to teaching, learning and research materials that are available free online for anyone to use as is, but they may not be revised, remixed, or redistributed. This terminology is typically used for scholarly works (journals, books, etc.), but can also refer to other class materials.  Examples of OA materials include government documents, articles from open access journals, reports from think tanks.

Affordable Educational Resources (AER) can include Open Educational Resources (OER) but also supplemental resources such as library-licensed materials* (eBooks, journal articles, streaming videos, etc.) low-cost print-on-demand textbooks, and subsidized resources. 

Affordable Education Resources include any resource that can reduce the cost to the student, but may not be an Open Education Resource. 

*Library-licensed materials are available 'free' to library patrons. They include eBooks which may or may not be downloadable/retainable; they may or may not be accessed offline; the license may allow for multiple users or only one user to use the material at the same time.  Library-licensed materials can be adopted for courses. While they are free for library patrons, they are not free—rather, they have been paid for by the library.

Why OERs Matter

OER materials are released under an open license granting permission 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.

OER include digital learning materials such as:

  • open textbooks
  • full courses
  • modules
  • syllabi
  • lectures
  • homework assignments
  • quizzes

Why Open Educational Resources Matter from Brendan Walsh on Vimeo:

More OER Information