Why OER?

Open Educational Resources (OER) have the potential to lower the cost of education, give faculty more control over their instructional materials, and enable new ways of learning.

Students at the University of Hawai’i spend millions of dollars on textbooks and other course content each semester. Cost savings for a single high-enrollment undergraduate course can exceed $100,000 when OER textbooks are adopted. The adopted OER can then be customized to fit the teaching strategy of the instructor and better meet the needs of students.

Interested in listening in on the discussion around OER at UH? Get in touch and join the mailing list for UH-affiliated faculty, staff and students.

University of Hawai’i Advocates of OER

The UH Mānoa Strategic Planning Committee

The  UH Mānoa 2015–2021 Strategic Plan lists reducing the cost of textbooks as one tactic of the High Performance Mission-Driven System (HPMS) strategy.  The OER initiative at UH is determined to help meet our campus’ strategic plan through the adoption of OER and open textbooks.

The Associated Students of the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa (ASUH)

Senate Resolution 14-16: In Support of Incorporating Open Educational Resources into General Education Curricula was passed unanimously by the ASUH in December, 2015. The resolution states that ASUH:

  • Recognizes the rising cost of educational resources as a barrier to college affordability and student success.
  • Recommends that the UHM further utilizes open educational resources and other zero-cost materials for general education courses.
  • Understands that the extensive implementation of OER will help reduce the cost of education, expand the use of internet and digital technologies in education, and transform teaching and learning by fostering academic innovation through increased curriculum options.


At a Glance – Why OER?

1) The price of instructional materials has skyrocketed.

The cost of textbooks and other instructional materials has increased 72% since 2006.1

See also: 2013-14 UH Mānoa Textbook cost information

2) Students make poor decisions when course materials are expensive.

Students take fewer classes, avoid specific courses, and often do not buy the textbook despite knowing it will impact their grade.2

3) Copying and sharing digital resources costs almost nothing.

The cost associated with making a copy of a digital book is a fraction of a penny. It costs less than that to send it to a friend.3

4) OER give students access to materials from day one forward.

Students get access to materials immediately, and with permission to print, revise, and share the OER.

5) OER enable new methods and strategies for learning.

OER are legally-open materials that can be shared freely and adapted for use with varied audiences and teaching styles.4


1 U.S. PIRG (2016). Covering the Cost. Retrieved from http://www.uspirg.org/reports/usp/covering-cost

2 Florida Virtual Campus (2016). 2016 Student Textbook and Course Materials Survey. Retrieved from https://florida.theorangegrove.org/og/items/3a65c507-2510-42d7-814c-ffdefd394b6c/1/

3 Wiley, David (2012). Beyond the Textbook: Information Futures. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/opencontent/wiley-15432979

4 Wiley, David (2015). Open Pedagogy: The Importance of Getting In the Air. Iterating Towards Openness. Retrieved from http://opencontent.org/blog/archives/3761