OERs are materials for teaching and learning that are made available to others for free or at a substantially lower cost than traditionally published materials. OERs can be anything from full textbooks, to lesson plans, online labs and tools, problem sets and more. OERs are also licensed so that they can be adapted, re-mixed, and/or re-distributed by other faculty to fit their own curricular needs.

For more information, go to Open Education by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC).

Why OERs?

The rising costs of college tuition and textbooks can be prohibitive for many students. OERs are one crucial way that universities can help students succeed and stay in school. New research indicates that OER also have an impact on student learning outcomes including increases in final grades and lower DFW rates.

For more information about the impact of high textbook prices on college students, see that 2016 report Covering the Cost by Student PIRGs (Public Interest Research Groups).

Colvard, N.B,. Watson, C.E., & Park, H. (2018). The impact of open educational resources on various student success metrics. International Journal of Teaching & Learning in Higher Education, 30(2), 262-276.

NDSU Student Government Initiatives

NDSU Student Government has untaken an initiative to implement, enhance, and sustain open educational resources and open access textbooks at North Dakota State University. In order to accomplish this, Student Government has created a grant program to promote and support the implementation of open textbooks and other open educational resources. The grant is meant to compensate faculty members for the effort of adapting their curriculum to a new textbook, or for creating or adapting an open textbook.

For more information about the NDSU Student Government Progressive Education Grants and to apply for a grant, please go to 

Open Textbooks

The following are collections of open textbooks, all produced by academic faculty. Each collection is multi-disciplinary and easily searched. They vary in their licenses - some titles may be shared only and others can be remixed and modified.

OpenStax - Rice University May be accessed online, or purchased as a print version through NDSU bookstore. Supplemental materials available online. The Libraries purchased a number of OpenStax printed textbooks for faculty to take a look at. Please ask for them at the checkout desk. Titles include: Introduction to Microeconomics, Introduction to Macroeconomics, Anatomy and Physiology, American Government, Calculus 1 & 2, College Algebra, and Introduction to Sociology.

Open Textbook Library - University of Minnesota This is a collection of textbooks from various universities. All are available online and are downloadable. Some have print options. All have detailed reviews from outside reviewers.

Open SUNY Textbooks Textbooks developed by SUNY faculty. Read online or downloadable. No supplementary materials offered.

OER Commons - Open Textbooks This is a collection of textbooks from various universities. All are available online and are downloadable. There is no print option. Supplemental material available for some texts.

Supplementary Course Materials

The following are collections of additional supplementary resources such as slides, demonstrations, and assessments. They vary in licenses. There are also numerous subject-specific repositories of supplementary materials; your subject librarian can help you find other materials specific to your needs.

OER Commons - Supplemental Resources This is a searchable collection of datasets, videos and other materials from various organizations.

National Science Digital Library A searchable collection of materials in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, provided by various partner organizations. Individual items may vary in the level of rights provided.

Library Resources

While these aren't OERs, they can help reduce textbook costs for students.

  • Course reserves - Make up your own course reading list from a variety of sources. Materials owned by you, NDSU Libraries, or Tri-College Libraries can be put on reserve for your class.
  • Course packs - The bookstore can help you create a course pack where students pay for copyright clearance to readings not available for course reserves.
  • Ebooks with multiple users - the library purchases some online books that can be accessed by many students simultaneously. Search our online books for current availability or contact your subject librarian about purchasing one.
  • NDSU's Institutional repository - Materials where the copyright is held by you, students, faculty, and staff can be added to NDSU's online repository for free, online, searchable access. Materials may include journal article preprints, dissertations, videos, course materials such as lectures, and more.
Creating Open Educational Resources

If you, or your department are interested in developing a new open textbook or adapting an existing open textbook to better match your curricular needs, please contact the Office of Teaching and Learning for assistance. OERs need to be accessible to all students. Please contact NDSU's Disability Services for more information, and evaluation of OER accessibility. To connect with a community of like-minded academics involved with the creation of new OER and to see projects in development, go to the Rebus Group to check out their resources, ask questions, and find out what other people are doing and creating.

The following resources offer an overview of the textbook creation process, information about popular publishing platforms, and licensing considerations.

Guide to Developing Open Textbooks

Produced by the Commonwealth of Learning in 2016 and released as CC BY SA. 66 page guide presenting technical advice for textbook development in a variety of platforms and formats.

Authoring Open Textbooks: A Guide for People Who Want to Make Open Textbooks

This guide is for all who are involved in the production of open textbooks in higher education. Content includes a checklist for getting started, publishing program case studies, textbook organization and elements, writing resources and an overview of useful tools. By Melissa Falldin and Karen Lauritsen.

Modifying an Open Textbook: What You Need to Know

Produced by the Editing Working Group of the Open Textbook Network in 2016. This is a five-step guide for faculty, and those who support faculty, who want to modify an open textbook. Step-by-step instructions for importing and editing common open textbook file and platform types are included.

Creative Commons - Share Your Work

Information about Creative Common's free, easy -to-use copyright licenses that provide a way to share your work on your terms.