Open Educational Resources

WICHE aims to increase access, affordability, and equity using Open Educational Resources (OER). OER are openly licensed and freely accessible materials used for teaching, learning, and research. OER can include textbooks, ancillary materials, media, and other digital materials. OER can be reused, revised, remixed, or redistributed while retaining credit to the original creator of the materials.

WICHE’s regional OER focus includes working with leaders, policymakers, higher education systems, institutions, and other organizations to scale the usage of high-quality open education resources to promote success for students in the west.

Our approach, with support from the Flora & William Hewlett Foundation, is to enhance collaboration among OER champions in western states and affiliated territories to:

  • Broaden support for OER adoption and scaling,
  • Develop greater availability and use of research concerning gaps in state and system on the impact and outcomes of open education activities, and
  • Focus on the role of OER in closing equity, postsecondary attainment, and skills gaps for all students in the west, and
  • Meet state, system, and institutional OER needs at-large.

The OERwest Network

The OERwest Network, composed of members from western states and affiliated territories, work collaboratively to undertake challenges to the adoption, scaling, and implementation of OER. The Network pays particular attention to equity in the work it conducts, specifically in the development of OER policies and practices.

What Partners are Saying

“The partnership with WICHE has played a crucial role in bolstering the success of Open SLCC sustainability efforts at Salt Lake Community College. WICHE has been a valuable ally in addressing Open SLCC’s capacity challenges by facilitating introductions to potential national collaborators, providing access to a wealth of tools, and supporting research and analysis of our program’s effectiveness. The OERwest monthly meetings and annual gatherings have proven particularly beneficial in advancing Open SLCC’s initiatives.”

– Andrea Scott | Director, Open Educational Resources (OER), Office of Learning Advancement, Salt Lake Community College, Open SLCC

Update Corner

Gap Analysis and Environmental Scan

Sharing Observations, Priorities, Opportunities in the National OER Landscape

December 17, 2020

The four regional education compacts—the Midwestern Higher Education Compact, the New England Board of Higher Education, the Southern Regional Education Board, and the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education—are working together to help scale the adoption and use of open education resources nationally to allow millions students access to free, high-quality learning resources. This publication provides a summary of the work of two focus groups compromised of experts in the field of OER. The report shares the group’s observations on the OER landscape, identified opportunities and priorities, and recommendations and next steps.

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Advancing OER Initiatives: A Responsible Use of COVID-19 Emergency Relief Funds

Written by Liliana Diaz Solodukhin

November 11, 2021

To mitigate the fiscal effects stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government has enacted several emergency relief bills. These emergency relief bills have introduced an influx of funding that has states and higher education institutions working to identify investments that are responsive to the pandemic and its effects. Effects include a national 5.9 percent enrollment drop in spring 2021 from the previous year for all incoming students and an 11.3 percent drop at community colleges, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.1 Institutional responses to the pandemic are varied but many include reengaging students who left or did not start their postsecondary education because of the pandemic and continuing to boost student success for those that remained enrolled amid a tumultuous year, all while not creating new ongoing costs.2 One approach to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is the use of Open Educational Resources (OER), which, as a high-impact practice, have been found to increase student success and institutional efficiency. Implementation of OER is a wise investment, as it reduces the costs of course materials like textbooks; broadens collaboration among faculty, staff, and administration; improves student outcomes; and can be a key part of achieving postsecondary strategic goals and state policy priorities.3 WICHE and the other regional compacts, with funding from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, are working with states and institutions to scale the use and effectiveness of open education.

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Do We Need a National Open Education Strategy? An “Open” Conversation

07 Mar 2024

Open education has made remarkable progress, yet the evolving landscape continues to present challenges. As open education work continues to grow at institutions, in states, and across regions, questions increasingly surface about how we might coordinate and advocate more...

OERwest Network Convening

25 Apr 2023

This two-day convening will provide an opportunity for OER practitioners to come together for networking, peer-to-peer learning, and professional development. Speakers from around the nation will share best practices, approaches, and processes that facilitate the advancement and scaling of...

Wrap Around Support for Faculty Implementing OER

25 Oct 2022

Faculty are key to implementing Open Educational Resources (OER). Yavapai College has effectively developed and currently offers strategic wrap around support for faculty adopting, adapting, and building OER. Through this approach, YC saved students $802,340 during fall 2020 through...

Equity Challenges & Making DEI Work for You

26 Jan 2022

The United States has come face to face with racial unrest, specifically after the murder of George Floyd. Countless organizations and businesses have adopted diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives to respond to what some call the other pandemic. OpenStax...

For questions, please contact:

Liliana Diaz Solodukhin

Senior Policy Analyst, Policy Analysis and Research