Open education

The UVA Library supports the creation and use of Open Educational Resources (OER), which are freely available for sharing, adapting, and reuse.

Open Educational Resources (OER) can encompass a variety of materials, including textbooks, syllabi, course modules, videos, assessment tools, and more.

Our initiative also supports Open pedagogy, the practice of leveraging OER to foster equitable and active learning experiences that engage students as active creators of information, leading to improved engagement and academic success.

Why does this matter?


Library staff and UVA instructors see the impact of the costs of course materials every day. The Library works to support OER to increase student access, improve academic performance, and create a more accessible education at UVA.

In 2021, a survey was conducted by Virginia’s academic library consortium (“VIVA”), asking students about impacts of the costs of course material on their experiences. UVA was among the institutions represented by student responses in the survey. Some key takeaways include:

Cost of course materials cause student stress

    Most survey respondents expressed some level of worry about meeting their costs for course materials.

Students’ academic careers are affected by the cost of course materials
  • Students indicated that costs might lead them to take fewer courses, not register for a course, or perform poorly once enrolled. Some students report this happening frequently.
  • Many respondees reported that the cost of course materials was a factor in choosing their institution, or reported that these costs affected their choice of field of study.
Student challenges compound each other and amplify negative effects
  • For example, students who are disabled, first generation, or low income are more likely to be “extremely worried” about costs.
  • Cost of academic materials can exacerbate mental health challenges, limit access to basic necessities like food and housing, and feed distrust of educational systems.
Variety matters - students use different methods to alleviate cost pressure
  • Nearly all survey respondents reported attempting to reduce the costs of course materials.
  • Some students rent materials, buy used, find free online versions, or share with classmates.

Read more about the survey or review the executive summary (PDF).

Additionally, the Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) survey investigates various facets of student life. A recent survey revealed that financial difficulties are a significant concern for UVA students, with nearly 60% of UVA undergraduates worried about funding their education. Additionally, approximately 75% of the respondents indicated that financial constraints have influenced their learning, leading them to purchase fewer or cheaper used books, or to rely on reserve readings.


Open pedagogy is an educational approach that emphasizes sharing, collaboration, and the use of open educational resources in teaching and learning. It involves engaging students as creators of knowledge rather than just consumers by encouraging them to contribute to or adapt existing OER.

The purpose is to foster participatory, inclusive, and more accessible learning environments, where knowledge and educational materials are freely available and modifiable by anyone, and student work has a greater impact and legacy.


Open Education enhances inclusivity in higher education by accommodating different cultural backgrounds and financial capabilities. It has the potential to reflect students’ lived experiences, fostering a sense of belonging. The flexibility of OER allows for customization to address individual learning needs. 

By empowering learners to participate in their education, Open Education encourages innovation in teaching methods and technologies, contributing to a more active and inclusive classroom experience.

How we can help


Contact for advice about finding, using, and creating open educational resources, open pedagogy, intellectual property, best practices, and more.

Learning opportunities

Workshops and information sessions are held on an ongoing basis, check Library events to see any upcoming sessions. All events are recorded; view the robust archive of training material. If you’re at UVA, Join our community of practice!

Publish with Pressbooks

The Library offers access to online software that enables authors and publishers to design and format any kind of book, for web or print. Learn more about Pressbooks.

Getting started with Open Educational Resources

Finding OER

Find repositories by discipline, type, or platform.

Creating OER

Guidelines, considerations, and publishing platforms to help you get moving.

Learn more about OER

Reference materials, project examples, grant information, and more.

Faculty spotlight

“My OER project — an eTextbook customized specifically for scope and sequence of this course — seeks to benefit students in a number of ways. First, this eTextbook reduces costs by replacing fee-based readings that were used in the course previously. Second, this textbook integrates and improves upon material from multiple existing OER sources into an updated, streamlined, and user-friendly resource that includes not just readings, but interactive resources such as embedded videos, flashcards, and interactive figures. Finally, the eTextbook features curated lists of resources at the end of each chapter to help students extend their learning through articles, books, podcasts, videos, and websites.”
- Charlotte Hoopes, Assistant Professor, McIntire School of Business

From course evaluations:

“I really appreciated how the textbook was provided for free and how accessible and easy to read it was.” 

“The textbook is awesome, especially with the images and videos embedded in.” 

“The textbook chapters were detailed and brief enough to keep my attention and be helpful.”