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Open Educational Resources (OERs): Tools for Affordable Learning: Home

This guide describes high-quality educational resources that can be used to decrease material costs for courses at WSU and in higher education more broadly.


Over the past several years, students and educators have watched with concern as the cost of educational materials has risen dramatically. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, textbook costs have increased more than 1,000% since 1977, outpacing the cost of medical care, new homes, and the consumer price index. These costs can be detrimental to students as they may struggle to keep up in courses and may be more likely to drop out when they cannot readily access textbook material. Seeking to address these concerns, colleges and universities have begun to seek educational materials that are both high-quality and affordable for students.

As a public land-grant institution, WSU is committed to helping all students succeed in their courses. The cost of educational materials is of immediate concern at this university, as suggested by the recent Course Material Cost Reduction Initiative brought by the Associated Students of WSU. This guide addresses the issues raised by ASWSU and points to resources that can be used to help reduce costs in WSU courses.

What Is the Problem? Textbook Cost Inflation Explained

What Are Potential Solutions?

Open educational resources (OERs) are free and openly licensed educational materials that can be used for teaching, learning, research, and other purposes. OERs are emerging as a strategy for lowering barriers to student academic success, specifically by ensuring that all students have access to course materials regardless of their financial situation. A key advantage of OERs is that they can reduce cost for students while increasing faculty control over course content..

Washington State University is encouraging use of OERs through a variety of initiatives, including

WSU provides support for faculty members who wish to locate, adopt, or create OERs through several units on campus. To learn more, please see this guide or contact the Open Education Support Team at

Why Open Educational Resources? A Graphical Take on OERs

@bccampus #OERforum @opencontent Why Open Education? [visual notes]

Giulia Forsythe Visual Notes. (2012). OER Forum, BCCampus. Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial Share Alike License. 

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Talea Anderson
Scholarly Communication Librarian
Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation
Washington State University Libraries


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