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Open Educational Resources

Open Educational Resources (OER) are learning materials that are available for free and are easily accessible, usually online.

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation defines OER as “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.” Northern Virginia Community College’s Extended Learning Institute (ELI) encourages the development, adoption and use of high-quality Open Educational Resources (OER) and other reliable free digital course materials where appropriate.

If you want to take an online course that uses OER, look for the Digital Open designation in the online course schedule when you are registering for courses to find the specific course sections that use free/OER materials and do not require traditional textbook purchases.

OER-Based General Education Project


The Digital Open OER-Based General Education Project is designed to allow for any student at NOVA to take one or more course sections that utilize free and/or open course materials and digital content to deliver a high quality learning experience without requiring the purchase of textbooks or other course material. The Digital Open OER courses can be taken individually, as a General Education Certificate program, or to complete an Associate’s degrees in General Studies or Social Sciences. The following courses have Digital Open sections that are currently offered online through NOVA’s Extended Learning Institute (ELI).

  • English – ENG 111, ENG 112, ENG 125
  • College Math – MTH 151, MTH 152, MTH 157
  • Communications – CST 100, CST 110
  • Economics - ECO 201,ECO 202
  • History – HIS 121, 122
  • Information Technology - ITE 115
  • Science – PHY 201,PHY 202
  • Humanities/Fine Arts – ART 101, ART 102, MUS 121, REL 100
  • Physical Education - PED 116
  • Social Sciences - PSY 200, SOC 200, HIS 262
  • Student Development – SDV 100

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