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OER/Free Textbooks

Open Education Resources

The OSU Beaver Store has a non-profit mission to provide low cost course materials. The Beaver Store achieves this by having the lowest margin (i.e., mission support fee) in the country compared to other campus bookstores. In addition the Beaver Store strives to have low cost used, digital and rentals available to OSU students.

The strong push toward course materials affordability recently has increased awareness with Open Education Resources (OER). OER historically meant any type of educational materials that are in the public domain or introduced with an open license. The nature of these open materials means anyone can legally and freely copy, use, adopt and re-share them. OER material is typically free of charge for use. Oregon State University, through the auspices of the Center of Digital Scholarship and Services (CDSS), is a leader in the State in producing for and offering OER material to OSU faculty.

You can learn more about OER and how OSU can support faculty interested in utilizing this type of course materials here.

Special Note:

OER=Free...but Free doesn't always mean OER. In many instances faculty may find no-charge material available on a website that students can have access to. The Beaver Store can still list the material for the course record and direct students to the site for the free material. The Beaver Store and the Valley Library are coordinating to indicate when a "free" digital copy of a title is available to OSU students. Here (link to PDF available soon) is a listing of these "free" digital titles available to adopt in a course along with a purchase/rent option.

The OSU Beaver Store serves some functions for the University that are mandated by law.

HEOA Compliance

The Federal Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) of 2008 mandates that the University provide a listing of all course materials to students prior to course registration. The OSU Beaver Store has been providing this information to students since well before the Act was passed, and currently handles HEOA compliance for OSU. Once the course requisitions you submit are entered into our system, that information becomes available for students to view on our website. The University has a special link to us from a student's schedule of classes to make it even more convenient to view all of their required/optional course materials.

Open Educational Resources (OER)

Faculty may be aware that the State of Oregon passed an OER-related bill in the summer of 2015. HB 2871 sets up a funding mechanism to assist faculty wanting to adopt low cost or no cost educational materials. A provision in section 4 of that bill proscribes that the campus bookstore must be informed and list any OER material adopted by faculty for a course.

There are already some courses Oregon State utilizing OER and so faculty need to be aware that a requisition will need to be submitted to the Beaver Store for those OER materials. The Valley Library's Center of Digital Scholarship and Services (CDSS) is collaborating with the Beaver Store to provide access to any OER content that resides with them.

So yes, the OSU Beaver Store can handle "free" material just as easily as paid content!

The Beaver Store has created an easy and quick way for faculty to clearly list for students what OER/"Free" material may be listed. Inform students what may or may not be required for course materials by adopting a special item (see example below). The Beaver Store will list completely when your requisition is received.