Open Educational Resources (OER) Degree Initiative

The Open Educational Resources (OER) Degree Initiative seeks to boost college access and completion, particularly for underserved students, by engaging faculty in the redesign of courses and degree programs through the replacement of proprietary textbooks with open educational resources.  Over the next three years, the Open Educational Resources Degree Initiative will lay the groundwork for nationwide adoption of OER Degrees.

Recognizing the growing expertise and interest in developing OER degrees beyond US borders, the Open Educational Resources Degree Initiative invited two-year public higher education institutions and systems in the U.S. and Canada to apply for three-year grants to support the creation of new OER Degree programs.

The short term goal is to reduce costs for students and accelerate their progress through college, but an important secondary impact is to change the culture of institutions so that they create systems and structures for better connecting curriculum and pedagogy to updated student learning outcomes.

The work of selected colleges and state systems will be supported by a robust technical assistance component that will help faculty and staff re-design courses using open educational resources; opportunities to engage in a community of practice with OER experts, peers, and other resources; and research and evaluation aimed at establishing the impact of open educational resources degrees on institutions and students. The initiative provides a unique support system for colleges and faculty as they adopt a pathways approach to improving teaching and learning and seek to align curriculum and pedagogy with updated student learning outcomes.

Achieving the Dream will oversee and manage the initiative, working in partnership with several national partner organizations and a growing consortium of funders. Partners include Lumen Learning, the Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources (CCCOER), and SRI International. 

Open Educational Resources and Open Educational Resources Degrees Defined

Open Educational Resources are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge.

For the purposes of this initiative, Open Educational Resources Degrees are one-year or two-year postsecondary programs which are offered to students using openly licensed resources in place of proprietary textbooks.

General Information

Read the full press release here.

View the OER Degree initiative FAQs.

Lumen Learning has a new site specifically dedicated to OER Degrees. It includes links to Tidewater Community College and Northern Virginia Community Colleges' OER Degree programs, research on OER, and OER course availability about specific OER degrees.

Download a copy of the March 10 webinar slides.

Watch the March 10 webinar which reviewed expectations of participating institutions (or click on the below video).

Achieving the Dream contact for questions or general support, please email:



There are no resources related to this initiative.

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