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Open Educational Resources (OER) Sustainable Learning

Resources for finding open and sustainable teaching and learning materials.

Free & Open Textbook Alternatives at HSU

OER Logo.svg
"OER Logo" by Unknown - Unknown. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Sustainable Learning at Cal Poly Humboldt

Cal Poly Humboldt's Sustainable Learning Program is a campus strategy for implementing the CSU Affordable Learning Solutions initiative. This faculty development program aims to decrease the cost of an education by promoting and supporting faculty in evaluating and adopting high-quality, peer-reviewed open textbooks and open educational resources (OER), and other resources that reduce the need for costly textbooks. 

Open Educational Resources (OER) are free online teaching and learning materials. They are videos, textbooks, quizzes, learning modules and more. This guide collects the best OER and organizes them by HSU department. If your discipline isn't listed, start with the general tab for multi-disciplinary OER resources. Using OER in your classroom can save you time and your students money. Take a look and see what is available in your discipline!

In addition, an immediate way you can help to reduce the cost of college education and increase student success is to promote textbooks on reserve in the Library and by placing your required readings on reserve.

Already using OER? Report OER Adoption here!

OER/AL$ at Cal Poly Humboldt Data

Year Total # of courses impacted Total # of students Total $ saved Average $ saved/student Average # saved/course
2015-16 14        
2016-17 36        
2017-18 56        
2018-19 55        
2019-20 45 3526 $292,492 $84.72 $6,802.14
2020-21 140 6177 $454,606.94 $73.60 $3,247.19
2021-22 184 6344 $466,332.22 $73.51 $2,534.41
2022-23 204 3966 $307,096.00 $77.43 $1,505.37
2023-24* 391 20,596 $968,449.26 $47.00 $2,476.00
Totals 1125 40,609 $ 2,488,976.42 $71.25 $3,313.02

*Number of students reflects student registration in many courses. Summer course data added, starting in 2023. 

Cal Poly Humboldt Faculty OER/AL$ Showcases

Why use OER?

  • Student Success: Textbook costs negatively impact student access to required materials (66.6% did not purchase the required textbook) and learning (37.6% earn a poor grade; 19.8% fail a course).
  • Graduation Rate: Because of textbook costs students reported that they take fewer courses (47.6%), do not register for a course (45.5%), drop a course (26.1%), or withdraw from courses (20.7%).
  • Equity: A study by the University of Georgia reports a one-third reduction in DFW rate among minority and Pell-eligible students in courses which switched to OER.
  • Class Design: Requiring students to buy a textbook means an obligation to teach to its goals. Conversely, OER can be edited to meet the course-specific goals for the class.
  • Recruitment: Students choose courses with zero-cost textbooks. A course or department offering zero-cost textbooks will be able to market to current and incoming students.

[Research provided by the 2016 Florida Student Textbook and Course Materials Survey. Studies by Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission and Student Public Interest Research Groups corroborate the findings.] Digitally Established: Educational Resources in U.S. Higher Education, 2023

Impact of Textbook Costs on Students

A national survey done by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund in 2020:

  • 65% of students indicated they didn't buy required textbooks because of the price.


Interested in learning more? Read about the program in Humboldt NOW: New Options Save Students $1 million in Books since 2016.

For More Information, send an email to oer@humboldt.edu

  • Kimberly Stelter, First Year Experience & Student Success Librarian
  • Kyle Morgan, Scholarly Communications & Digital Scholarship Librarian
  • Morgan Barker, Sustainability Librarian

Faculty Professional Development Materials

OER Canvas Course 

A Canvas course dedicated to teaching you the ins and outs of OER as well as how to implement them into your class. 

More Content

Are you interested in working to curate the best OER for your discipline? Help us make this page better and send your favorite resources to OER@humboldt.edu.