OER

Open educational resources (OER) are teaching and learning resources, either in the public domain or released with an open license, that anyone can freely use and re-purpose. As universities across the US have embraced OER, academic libraries have become central to the adoption of open educational materials in the classroom.

Ariana Santiago, open educational resources coordinator at UH Libraries, leads the planning, implementation, and assessment of the UH OER program. She shares more information on how the implementation of OER contributes to student success.

Ariana and Mea in the UH Staff Lounge for OER Drop-In Consultations

In what ways do OER benefit UH students?

Textbook costs have risen more than three times the rate of inflation over the past few decades. Many college students cannot afford the textbooks that are assigned in their courses.

Ariana and Mea in the UH Staff Lounge for OER Drop-In Consultations

$1,240 is the average undergraduate budget for books and supplies at public four-year institutions

A survey conducted by the Student Government Association found that over 37% of UH students reported not purchasing a textbook due to cost. OER provides a solution to the problem of cost-prohibitive textbooks by making high-quality educational materials free and accessible online. With OER, students are prepared from the first day of class, stay enrolled in courses, and perform better on course assignments.

Examples of OER include textbooks, courses, videos, lesson plans, or any material that supports access to knowledge.


How are OER different from other online resources?

What makes OER “open” is the type of license. Open licenses give permissions that are not automatically given with traditional copyright licenses. Creators of open content give permission to retain, reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute their content. Other online resources that are protected under a traditional copyright license, rather than an open license (or being in the public domain), may be available for free online, but cannot necessarily be used in the same ways as open content; they can’t be shared, adapted, or remixed without gaining permission from the copyright holder.


The UH Alternative Textbook Incentive program (ATIP) is part of the University’s initiative to improve the academic experience for students by mitigating the high cost of textbooks. Faculty members are incentivized to adopt, adapt, or create an open textbook for use in their courses.

You can also help students by donating to the Libraries Student Scholarships Fund.

Ariana and Mea in the UH Staff Lounge for OER Drop-In Consultations

Funded 16 projects in the first year


Ariana and Mea in the UH Staff Lounge for OER Drop-In Consultations

Estimated savings through first round of ATIP: $200,000

For more information on OER, visit: libraries.uh.edu/oer, sparcopen.org or opencontent.org/definition