What is OER?

We’re glad you asked! 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 repurposing by others.

We see OER as a powerful force to shape curriculum in the ways that we want, and that our students need. Let us help you make it part of your classroom.

Why does this matter?

  • Free or low cost textbooks keep costs down for students.
  • High quality, up-to-date content keeps your course fresh.
  • Adapt content to work for your unique classroom.
  • Permanent access allows student use after the course ends.
  • It’s the way the world should work!
  • “With the money I saved on textbooks from this course, I helped my boyfriend get away from his abusive home.”

    - Monroe Community College student

  • “I’m thankful my teacher chose to use OER because I was able to save more money and put it towards my courses for next semester.”

    - Brianna, Monroe Community College student

  • “With the money I saved on textbooks from this course, I [was] able to use for gas, food, and rent.”

    - Mohamud, Monroe Community College student

  • “I’m thankful my teacher chose to use OER because buying and producing so many text books is a huge waste of paper and money.”

    - Alana, Monroe Community College student

  • “I spent $550 on textbooks this semester. With that I could have made a mortgage payment.”

    - Chris, Monroe Community College student

  • “I’m thankful my teacher chose to use OER because I was able to save some money for at least one class. I’m thankful anytime I am able to save a few hundred dollars.”

    - Luke, Monroe Community College student

  • “ I appreciate that my professor chose to use OER. I have spent $0.00 on textbooks this semester. This has been a benefit, since I am a student in the adult degree program. I hope that you continue to provide this type of option in the future. ”

    - Ralph, Lehman College student

  • “I was enrolled in Eng 121 and I’m thankful that my professor chose to use OER because as a college student not having to spend money on books really helped me out this semester. I was able to use the money I would spend on books to pay for transportation. ”

    - Rushane, Lehman College student

  • “I spent $0.00 dollars on text book this semester. I am thankful that my teacher choose to use OER, instead of using books. With the money i saved, i used it to complete my tuition fees for this semester.”

    - Albanellys, Lehman College student

  • “This semester I spent roughly $200 on textbooks, and while that isn’t a lot compared to other costs I still think finding an alternative to using textbooks is beneficial to future classes. The money that the students save could potentially be put to other college funds or to other means of learning.”

    - Andrew, Lehman College student

  • “I was so glad that i didn’t have to buy a textbook for this class. With the money i would’ve spent on a text book i can buy my metro card, pay my utility bill.”

    - Nathalie, Lehman College student

OER in the News

Governor Cuomo announces $8 million for Open Educational Resources Initiative at SUNY and CUNY to Cut High Cost of Textbooks

New York Doubles Down on Open Educational Resources

Awesome and growing collection of @SUNYOERServices published #OER texts.

The beta cohort of our online #UnderstandingOER #SUNY #OER professional development course is live today! We're polishing and refining, and will release the full schedule of all 7 mini-course offerings in '18-19 through @sunycpd very soon. #SUNYOERChat

OER level the academic playing field? New study suggests #OER courses improve course grades and and decrease D/F/withdraw at greater rates for #Pell recipient students & historically underserved populations. #equity #comm_college #parttime #studentsuccess https://t.co/iFU4oFSRyR

Ever wondered what students really think of #OER? Check out what some amazing Kingsborough Community College students had to say, and find out how #OER are like bathrooms. https://t.co/jPb2iIYEcm

@insidehighered coverage of the University of Georgia #OER report out last week https://t.co/NVdoJjeSwt

Come on out CUNY!

Open-NYS is the collaboration of the State University of New York (SUNY) and the City University of New York (CUNY) to provide support for the implementation of Open Educational Resources (OER) across both systems.
This year, SUNY and CUNY were given $8 million by Governor Cuomo and the state of New York to implement OER in high-enrollment, general education courses.

  • “OER helps you connect fundamental ideas to what is happening in real time.”

    - Jessica Kelly, faculty member, Herkimer College

  • “If you build your course around a textbook, switching is hard, but if you build your course and fit in the text as a resource, it’s not that hard.”

    - Dr. Eddie Watson

  • “I’m standing on the shoulders of everyone who taught me, and OER is a way to surface that.”

    - Alan Hersker, faculty member, SUNY Potsdam

  • “I had a huge success in terms of increasing passing rates because not only the material was accessible to students from day one, the quality of the [OER] materials was better than the paid product.”

    - David Usinski, faculty member

  • “In doing OER, you are taking back teaching.”

    - Steve Mezik, faculty member, Herkimer College

  • “Our job is not to make money off books. Our job is to be good teachers.”

    - Sophia Georgiakaki, faculty member, Tompkins-Cortland CC

  • “Using Open Educational Resources in my course allows me to customize content more effectively and use examples that students can relate to.”

    - Nora, faculty member, New York City College Of Technology

  • “OER has reallly opened my eyes to a new world of possibilities and resources for teaching my courses!”

    - faculty member, CUNY School Of Professional Studies

  • “”I teach a course in professional communication, and we are switching to an OER; one of the advantages of this book, Business Communication for Success, is that it has brilliant chapters on working in and with the global market place. ”

    - faculty member, CUNY School Of Professional Studies

Your guide to Open-NYS

Getting started


We outline resources and techniques. Faculty discuss how OER helped them make a difference to their students.

Where do I start?

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Meet others in your discipline who are using or want to partner with you to create OER content. We also have librarians, course designers, and OER experts here to help.

Engage with the community

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Meet others in person, in seminars, and in workshops in your area.

Come out and meet us