Open Educational Resources
The high cost of textbooks is a significant factor in college affordability. Oregon has supported continuing efforts to promote high-quality, no-cost and low-cost course materials, in particular by developing and marketing Open Educational Resources (OER) for use in Oregon public colleges and universities. This statewide effort was spearheaded by the HECC in coordination with campus-led activities, and supported by 2015, 2017, 2019, and 2021 legislation and investment. The activities financially supported by this investment are currently led through Open Oregon Educational Resources.
What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?
OER are openly licensed teaching, learning, and research resources (e.g. textbooks, videos, and images) that the public has the legal permissions to use, share, and build upon. OER are available for free online or in print at low cost.
Implementing the State’s investment
2021 – present
In 2021, House Bill 2919 expanded on textbook affordability by adding requirements for course materials cost transparency; this bill requires public institutions to display or establish a link to a website that displays cost information for course materials required for no less than 75 percent of courses offered each term. In addition, HECC received funding to continue developing the OER initiative.
In 2019, House Bill 2213 expanded on textbook affordability by requiring public institutions to establish and adopt textbook affordability plans, and HECC received $669,000 to continue developing the OER initiative. In addition, one-time GEER pandemic relief funds were awarded to expand the OER initiative. Statewide OER activities continue to be led on behalf of the HECC by Open Oregon Educational Resources and the statewide OER Librarian.
In 2017, HB 2727 supported ongoing textbook affordability work by convening faculty, staff, and librarians from colleges and universities; continuing an OER grant program to fund public postsecondary institutions to create or adapt OER course materials; and evaluating progress. Textbook affordability efforts at the HECC on behalf of both the colleges and the universities were brought together under Open Oregon Educational Resources and managed by the OER Librarian.
The following 2018 research report requested by HECC evaluates the effectiveness of the no-cost and low-cost schedule designations implemented at Oregon’s colleges and universities, as required by HB 2871.
The Oregon Legislature passed its first textbook affordability bill in 2015 with HB 2871. This legislation included several components: designation of courses using low-cost and no-cost materials in the schedule; establishing a grant program; and the funding of an OER specialist in 2015-2017.
Also in 2015, Linn-Benton Community College hired an OER Librarian, initially funded solely by Community College Support Funds through the HECC Office of Community Colleges and Workforce Development. The OER Librarian worked with the colleges to develop the openoregon.org website and led numerous statewide OER coordination efforts that were built upon in recent years.