Open Educational Resources (OER) are "teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others."*
OER allow users to:
Open textbooks are a subset of open educational resources. It is important to clarify that not all online textbooks are open--online textbooks that are open must meet the 5 Rs requirements listed above.
Why are open textbooks important?
Textbook costs are unsustainable. There are numerous studies and statistics that tell us current landscape is problematic.
Average student costs for textbooks are estimated at about $1,207 annually (Trends in College Pricing 2013 - College Board Report)
In a 2014 survey of more than 2000 students, 65% reported that they never purchased a course textbook because of its high cost (US Public Interest Research Group Education Fund report 2014)
College textbook prices rose 82% between 2003 and 2013; triple the rate of inflation during the same time span (Consumer Price Index Database 2014 - Bureau of Labor Statistics)