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Open Educational Resources

Open Educational Resources (OER)

What is OER? OER is defined as “teaching, learning, and research resources released under an open license that permits their free use and repurposing by others. OERs can be textbooks, full courses, lesson plans, videos, tests, software, or any other tool, material, or technique that supports access to knowledge.” Unlike traditionally copyrighted materials, these resources are available for “open use,” which means faculty can edit, modify, customize and share. Students receive immediate access to the text and OER is no cost/low cost for students.

OpenStax Homepage - OpenStax

CSN joins OpenStax’s network of over 60 institutions leading the way in free and flexible textbook use

We are excited to announce that CSN is one of 12 schools chosen to participate in the 2021-2022 OpenStax Institutional Partner Program. As a participant in the network’s first-year program CSN will continue to build and execute a strategy that will encourage greater use of free, flexible textbooks among its faculty and students.

CSN was chosen to participate in this strategic partnership with OpenStax by demonstrating an eagerness to drive adoption of open educational resources (OER). Free to access and fully modifiable, OER provides students and educators with fair and flexible teaching and learning materials.

Participants in the OpenStax Institutional Partner Program will receive individualized consulting from OpenStax and join a cohort of colleges and universities advocating widespread use of OER at their schools. On average, the institutions who join the network increase the number of students impacted by OER by 158% after completing the first year. To date, the program has resulted in over 20 million dollars of additional student savings from OER.

“We are glad CSN was chosen for this partnership. This project ties in with the goal of our institution to help our students complete their courses by lowering barriers, such as the cost of textbooks,” says James McCoy, VPAA. Lower cost or no cost textbooks help with student access to learning materials, the same or higher student success rates, and higher completion rates (Florida Virtual Campus (2018) Florida Student Textbook and Course Materials survey, Tallahassee, FL and Open Education Group’s Review Project ), which directly speaks to the Academic Affairs goal of improving student success.

Open educational resources, including the free, openly licensed textbooks offered by OpenStax, eliminate cost barriers for students and allow unrestricted, immediate access to learning materials, increasing the likelihood for students to complete their courses successfully. In addition to the immediate benefits to students, open educational resources are offered under a Creative Commons license, allowing instructors to modify textbooks to better serve their unique teaching and evolving student needs.

OpenStax is committed to improving access to quality learning materials. As an ed tech initiative that is part of Rice University and supported by philanthropic foundations, OpenStax provides free college and Advanced Placement textbooks that are developed and peer-reviewed by educators, as well as low-cost, personalized courseware that helps students learn. For more information, visit OpenStax.org.

If you are interested in discussing OER textbook options for your course or department, set up an appointment with

CSN's OER Growth 2019-2020

CSN's OER Growth 2019-2020 info-graphic

For all of the data collected on the OER growth at CSN please visit the full dashboard.

CSN OER Task Force

The Open Educational Resources (OER) Task Force’s purpose is to support the College of Southern Nevada’s Students First, Student Success agenda through the evidence-based strategy of increasing the use of OER to decrease students’ costs and improve access to course materials. Open educational materials are released under an open license that permits their free use and repurposing by others. Such materials include but are not limited to textbooks, full courses, lesson plans, videos, tests, and software. The task force’s charge is to increase awareness about OER’s benefits, to support faculty in adopting, adapting, and creating OER, and to develop and improve CSN’s OER use infrastructure. The task force draws on the energy, insight, and creativity of a broad coalition of members including CSN students, staff, faculty, and administrators.

Are you interested in helping the college grow in the OER area? If so, please join the OER Task Force! The Co-Chairs of the Committee are Jason Tyndal and Paula Michniewicz.  See CSN's latest statistics on OER/no/low cost.

There are also subcommittees to work on the many aspects of OER at CSN what are always looking for more input from our college community. Visit CSN Libraries to learn what they are doing with OER.


This subcommittee will track and assess the cost-savings, outcomes, use, and perceptions of OER at CSN. This committee will begin with a baseline of CSN OER usage, establish definitions, create and disseminate surveys about student access and success. Chair is Tina Martin.


This subcommittee will help create a plan for how new OER items will be found and reviewed, explore storage options for hosting OER texts that have been edited, and find OER books and ancillary items by discipline. Chair is Gracie McDonough.

Funding/Grant Opportunities

This subcommittee will help with finding, writing and implementing grants. Chair is Paula Michniewicz.

Advertising/Promotional Activities

This subcommittee helps to promote OER courses and faculty training through CAPE and elsewhere, and helps to design a website and create an awareness campaign. Chair is Gracie McDonough.