Open Educational Resources

Open Educational Resources

Open Educational Resources (OER) are openly-licensed educational materials which can be used by anyone, shared freely, improved/adapted/repurposed, and redistributed. OER are commonly accessed online. In fact, you have most likely seen or used OER before! Online textbooks, as well as the popular educational website Khan Academy, are both examples of an open educational resource.

OER are sustainable and financially accessible alternatives to expensive, hard-copy textbooks and coursepacks. Over the last decade, textbook prices have increased by 88%, which is four times the inflation rate, and higher than the 63% increase in tuition. By the end of their undergraduate degree, the average student will have spent $4,000–$6,000 on course materials alone. Because of this, 72% of McGill students may opt out of buying course materials due to their cost, with 94% of these students simultaneously worrying that doing so would hurt their course grade.

OER also allow professors to customize the design and content of a course, rather than being restricted to a single textbook or a limited sample of resources. Using online, open, consistently updated resources allows professors to quickly integrate new developments and findings in their field into the content of their course(s). OER foster academic engagement because of their ability to cater to a wide range of learning styles. They allow access to a diversity of perspectives and approaches, and facilitate meaningful interaction with the course material. Moreover, the majority of open-textbook OER are created by academics in the relevant field and are peer-reviewed, meaning that the quality and rigour of an open textbook is often not far from a traditional, hard-copy equivalent!

McGill Student Textbook Experience Survey

This survey aims to gather information about the cost of course materials (i.e. textbooks, coursepacks, etc.) and the use of Open Educational Resources (OERs) at McGill. The information will be used to provide an overview of McGill students’ experiences and thoughts on textbook costs and OERs, which will be presented in a report to SSMU later this academic year. The results of this survey will also be used to push for institutional support towards the goal of accessible education.

Fill it out here.

If you’re interested in knowing more about the project, email

List of Open Educational Resources

Over the past few years, the SSMU has worked with instructors and student assistants to compile Open Educational Resources tailored specifically to a number of classes at McGill. Check out the list below to see if we’ve compiled OER for one of your classes!

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Try searching one of these existing repositories:

For questions or more information, email