What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?

Creative Commons defines OER as teaching, learning, and research materials that are either a) in the public domain or b) licensed in a manner that provides everyone with free and perpetual permission to engage in the 5R activities: retaining, remixing, revising, reusing, and redistributing the resources. 

Why use OER? 

  • Affordability: OER can be used to lower costs of class materials for students
  • Customizable: Adapt, update, or correct materials as needed to suit your class needs
  • Academic Freedom: Choose from a variety of learning objects, materials, and technologies based on your specific course objectives
  • Inclusivity: Incorporate interdisciplinary perspectives that might not be offered by a traditional textbook
  • Collaboration: Work with colleagues around the globe on creation, adaptation, and use of OER

What makes OER Open? 

Open Educational Resources are not only free: a truly open resource is one that you can not only access and use but one that grants you permission in perpetuity to use it in a variety of ways. The key elements that make a resource an OER are referred to as the 5 Rs:

  • Retain: The right to make, own, and control copies of the content (e.g. download, duplicate, store, and manage)
  • Reuse: The right to use the content in a variety of ways (e.g. in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video)
  • Revise: The right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content (e.g. translate the content to another language)
  • Remix: The right to combine the original or revised content with other material to create something new (e.g. incorporate the content into a mashup)
  • Redistribute: The right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (e.g. give a copy of the content to a friend) 


The Library supports faculty to find, adopt, adapt, or create OER into their courses. Learn more by reading our OER guide or emailing OER@tamucc.edu.

Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) Faculty Stipend Program

In March 2022, the library received $50,000 in CARES Act funding (later increased to $65,000) to develop a stipend program to support faculty professional development in the area of open educational resources as well as to fund faculty to eliminate the commercial textbook in a class in favor of adopting, adapting, or creating open educational resources. When the program wrapped up in April 2023, $57,500 had been disbursed to 44 faculty, and the textbooks in 17 courses had been eliminated, resulting in student savings of over $90,000 per semester.

Due to the success of this pilot program, the Bell Library is inviting TAMU-CC faculty to apply for stipends to adopt, adapt, or create free open alternatives to today’s expensive textbooks. Ranging between $1,000 and $3,500, the competitive Zero Textbook Cost stipends will be awarded to help faculty pursue innovative uses of technology and information resources that can replace pricey traditional textbooks. Larger stipends may be available for larger-scale or especially high-impact projects. Proposals submitted by faculty with high-enrollment classes, as well as faculty that have not participated in previous stipends or Open Education Resource (OER) Communities of Projects will be prioritized.  

To learn more about the Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) Stipend, as well as to apply (applications will open September 1), please see the ZTC Stipend Page.

ZTC Program Timeline

ZTC Stipend Timeline

  September 1

 Call for Proposals opens 
 September 13 2:30 PM  Informational Session 2nd Floor  Library
 September 28 10:00 AM  Informational Session via Zoom
 October 13   Call for Proposals closes
 November 1   Awardees Announced
 December 7  Required Orientation for Awardees
 January and February  Optional cohort meetings
 March  Awardees meet with OER Working  Group
 May 15  Progress Report Due
 July 15

 Deadline to submit materials

 2024-2025 Academic Year

 ZTC Course(s) Taught and Assessed