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Affordable Learning Ohio

Introduction to Affordable Learning

This guide is intended to provide an overview of what Open Educational Resources and Affordable Learning initiatives are. To learn more, reach out to one of our OhioLINK Affordable Learning Ambassadors or visit the OhioLINK Affordable Learning Initiatives page to discover how other Ohio libraries are promoting these initiatives on their campuses.

What is an Open Educational Resource (OER)?

The term Open Educational Resource (OER) was coined during the Forum on the Impact of Open Courseware for Higher Education in Developing Countries that was convened by United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in association with the Western Cooperative for Educational Telecommunications (WCET) and William and Flora Hewlett Foundation in Paris, France July 1-2, 2002. In the 15 years since, the OER movement has seen steady growth and has helped to promote “wide access to quality higher education in developing countries and full participation of universities in these countries in the rapidly evolving world higher education system” (UNESCO, 2002).

The Hewlett Foundation defines OER as “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 repurposing by others.” Other definitions of OER exist and, generally, they identify three primary components; learning materials that are freely available and licensed in a way that enable their reuse by users.

Affordable Learning Initiatives

Affordable Learning Initiatives look to reduce costs for students by substituting low-cost or no-cost resources in place of commercial textbooks. The scope of material used can be wider than just OER materials. Examples include:

  • Using library-licensed materials, including books, eBooks, and electronic journal and magazine articles for course instruction, or making use of library physical and electronic reserves. These materials have already been purchased by libraries or institutions, but are no-cost to students.
  • Using existing Open Educational Resources for course instruction and/or modifying/enhancing existing resources.
  • Creating open content that can be used by students you are teaching or by other instructors or scholars.
  • Institutional efforts to negotiate across-the-board lower costs for traditionally-published textbooks and materials. 

Learn More

Below you'll find links to tools and resources that provide additional information on Open Educational Resources and Affordable Learning Initiatives.


Affordable learning initiatives led by library consortia