OER and Students

A colorful whiteboard where students have indicated how much they spent on texts - and their thoughts about it.
Lisa Burgert, CC-BY

Messaging to Students and for Students

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Video Resources for Students

Student guide to Open Educational Resources (OER): What is OER? – A comprehensive guide for students provided by Tacoma Community College.

Open Textbook Alliance Downloadable Materials for Student Leaders – Handouts for students and faculty, a detailed guidebook that explains the advantages of open textbooks and then lays out specific ways that your college can promote open books, and an organizing toolkit for student governments.

Benefits of Using OER – OER has been shown to increase student learning while breaking down barriers of affordability and accessibility. Feldstein et al. (2012) conducted a research study at Virginia State University, where OER were implemented across nine different courses in the business department. Researchers found that students in courses that used OER more frequently had better grades and lower failure and withdrawal rates than their counterparts in courses that did not use OER.How does OER/ZTC benefit me as a student?

OER Benefits for Students – Students from Leeward Community College share why they appreciate faculty choosing to use OER.

Commercial textbooks are expensive. They drive up the price of college and often limit the number of classes students take, resulting in more student loan debt and a longer path to complete educational goals. OER (Open Educational Resources) and ZTC (Zero Textbook Cost) make college more affordable, relieving student anxiety.

  • OER has been shown to increase student learning while breaking down barriers of affordability and accessibility.
  • Open textbooks are just like traditional books except the authors published them under an open license.
  • Open textbooks are available free online and for very low cost in print.
  • Open textbooks can save students as much as one billion dollars each year.

Penn State’s OER website highlights additional benefits for students:


Resources for Engaging Students

Student Advocacy Toolkits

OER Student Toolkit: A BCcampus Open Education advocacy guide for student leaders – This toolkit explains the benefits of OER and provides guidance on how students can help promote OER adoption.

Open Textbook Alliance – Student Government Toolkit: Making Textbooks Affordable – the Open Textbook Alliance is a nationwide coalition of student government leaders who are working to bring open textbooks to college campuses. This tool kit provides guidance for running a campaign to get your college or university to create an open textbooks program.

Activities and Resolutions

Gathering student impact stories is a great way to engage students – and highlight the value and importance of OER. Student impact stories from the Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources features students who have benefited from OER use and ZTC degrees and have participated in student advocacy supporting the progression of OER. [bg_collapse view=”link” color=”#1c8fe2″ icon=”arrow” expand_text=”See more about Activities and Resolutions” collapse_text=” See less about Activities and Resolutions “]

An OER resolution adopted by the student government at College of the Canyons.

Student Senate for California Community Colleges (SSCCC) OER-Related Resolutions.

CSU Students and Affordable Learning Solutions (AL$) – How to find OER, advocacy ideas, and resolutions. [/bg_collapse]

Student Surveys

Surveys can be a great way to both provide information and gather information. Consider these sample surveys as you explore ways to engage students.

[bg_collapse view=”link” color=”#1c8fe2″ icon=”arrow” expand_text=”Show sample surveys” collapse_text=”Hide sample surveys” ]California Open Education Resources Council Intersegmental Committee of the Academic Senates Student Survey – this survey was conducted in about 2014 when California was embarking on the intersegmental OER effort that lives on in Cool4Ed today.

Butte College Open Textbook Surveys Results – In the Fall Semester of 2016, Butte College conducted a number of surveys to better understand the
needs of students and faculty. Each of four surveys collected data on a different demographic. All referenced surveys are licensed CC-BY.

Allan Hancock College Student Survey – A PDF of a survey of students

Lansing Community College Student Survey – Survey results in Survey Monkey [/bg_collapse]