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OER-based Degrees

Dramatically reduce the cost to graduate

Increase student success

Radically increase pedagogical freedom


Learn about OER-based Degrees

OER, CC BY-SA, Wikimedia Deutschland,

What are OER?

OER are free teaching and learning resources that grant you legal permission to copy them, change them, and share them with others.

The "Z-Degree"

Tidewater Community College’s OER-based “Z-Degree” is saving students money, improving retention, and increasing student satisfaction.

OER-Based General Education

NOVA’s OER-based courses can be taken for a General Education Certificate or Associate’s degrees in General Studies or Social Sciences.

Read the Research about OER

Improving Student Success with OER

Peer-reviewed research demonstrates that assigning OER in place of commercial textbooks can lead to improved completion rates, better grades, and higher enrollment intensity.

Fischer, L., Hilton, J., Robinson, J., and Wiley, D. (2015). A multi-institutional study of the impact of open textbook adoption on the learning outcomes of post-secondary students. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 27(3).

OER and Institutional Finances

Peer-reviewed research demonstrates that OER adoption can positively impact an institution’s bottom line by decreasing drop rates and the tuition refunds that accompany them. These savings realized by not refunding tuition revenue can exceed $100,000 per year as this study shows.

Wiley, D., Williams, L., DeMarte, D., & Hilton, J. (in press). The Tidewater Z-Degree and the INTRO Model for Sustaining OER Adoption. Education Policy Analysis Archives.

Case Study: Math and OER

When Mercy College switched from a commercial math textbook and online practice system to OER plus an open source practice system, they saw dramatic gains in student success.

Pawlyshyn, M., Braddlee, D., Casper, L. and Miller, H. (2013). Adopting OER: A Case Study of Cross-Institutional Collaboration and Innovation. EDUCAUSE Review.

The Impacts of Adopting OER

The interactive OER Adoption Impact Explorer synthesizes the findings from multiple research studies and combines them with an integrated model of student success and finances. By setting and changing a variety of parameters you can explore some of the ways OER can have an impact on your campus, including student savings, institutional finances, and student success.

Find OER for Specific Degrees

Learning Commons, Ohio University Libraries, CC BY-NC-ND,

General Studies

There is a robust collection of OER available to support a
General Studies degree. Difficulty to adopt: Easy.

Cherrie Mio Rhodes, CC BY-ND,


There are many OER available to support a
Science degree. Difficulty to adopt: Moderate.

Yokohama by Night, Fougerouse Arnaud, CC BY-NC,

Business Administration

There is a robust collection of OER available to support a
Business Administration degree. Difficulty to adopt: Easy.

precarnavalTwitterBH, Cléo Morgause, CC BY,

Social Science

There are many OER available to support a
Social Science degree. Difficulty to adopt: Moderate.

We are constantly evaluating OER and degree programs in order to build new mappings from degrees to courses to OER like those shown above. As we complete these maps they will appear here. Next up: Computer Science.

Get help starting your OER-based Degree

Trying to figure out where to start with an OER-based Degree on your campus? Wondering about OER for courses that aren’t listed on this site? Have another question about OER or open education? Drop by Lumen Learning’s daily Office Hours or send us a note using the form below.