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Open & Affordable Education Resources

Open & Affordable Educational Resources

Open educational resources (OER) and affordable educational resources (AER) are no-cost and low-cost alternatives to traditional (and expensive) textbooks for courses. Choosing to implement OER/AER can save your students money and increase their likelihood of successfully graduating. Any teaching and learning material that is free and openly licensed, with permissions to use can be considered OER.

The low- or no-cost nature of OER directly combats the increasingly expensive textbooks and digital content fees that are impacting students’ access to college, and jeopardizing their overall potential for academic success. OER are particularly helpful for underserved populations, such as first generation college-goers, low-income families, immigrants, and minority students.

Besides student cost savings, the use of OER has strong correlations with the following:

  • Enhanced student equity
  • Increased persistence
  • Stronger completion
  • Greater retention
  • Student engagement


Girl at Desk

Open Educational Resources (OER)

Course resources used by faculty to meet or enhance learning needs with ZERO cost to students, using openly licensed material.

  • Completely FREE resources
  • Can freely be revised, remixed, reused, redistributed, and retained
  • Can be a textbook, streaming films, lecture, syllabus, lesson plan, entire course, etc.

Man with Laptop

Affordable Educational Resources (AER)

Course resources used by faculty to meet or enhance learning needs with minimal cost to students.

  • Low-cost resources (Under $40/course at CVTC)
  • Typically protected by copyright, sometimes hidden behind paywalls
  • Can include free-to-students library or web resources such as YouTube
  • Can include vendor resources such as Cengage, Intellus, Follet, etc.

Both OER and AER can be in digital or print format.

As a first-time college student, I didn’t know the extent that OERs would have on my educational experience when I first started. I wasn’t until I had to purchase/rent textbooks for general courses that I realized what a true blessing OERs are. Because of the financial savings OERs provided for me, I was able to take a full course load and graduate debt-free!

– C.C., CVTC Student

Open Education Resources at CVTC

Since 2013, CVTC has been a leader in course development that includes a range of OER resources. OER teaching and learning materials have a license that allows them to be used, shared, adapted, and retained at no charge, and do not require extra permission. Like OER, affordable educational resources (AER) make use of resources such as eBooks or journal articles that cannot be shared, adapted or retained, but may be used at no cost to the student. The growing use of OER for online, face-to-face, and remote learning improves CVTC’s ability to reduce one of the greatest barriers to higher education and many CVTC courses make use of both these types of materials.

2022-2023 CVTC OER Highlights

  • $3,171,232 in student savings
  • 9,307 students enrolled in an OER/AER course
  • 593 unique courses & 1,928 sections used OER/AER
  • $341 average student savings
  • 42% of CVTC courses use OER/AER
  • 300+ faculty, staff, and leadership trained as OER Champions

The 5 Rs of OER



Faculty and students should be able to keep the resource



Faculty and students should be able to reuse the resource



Resource should be able to be edited, modified, or tweaked



Resource should be able to be remixed



Resource should be able to be redistributed through print, e-mail, etc

Adopting OER/AER at Your Organization

So, you want to get started adopting an OER resource into your organization? Think outside the book! Find resources based on competencies and learning objectives. Consider using a diverse variety of resources instead of one main resource, such as a textbook, for a class.


Our Adoption Process

The adoption process for your school will differ, but this is the process CVTC decided to finalize.


Identify Your Textbook or Other Resources

Consult with your program director or department chair. Explore resources or contact the library to help identify OER/AER resources.


Adopt Your Textbook

Adopt your textbooks by the due date to ensure they are available for students when needed. From Canvas, click on the CVTC Bookstore icon. You can also go directly to the CVTC Bookstore website.



Your OER/AER resources are reported automatically and are searchable by students when searching for courses as no-cost or low-cost.

Contact Us

We are here to help answer any questions you may have about open and affordable learning resources.

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