Open Education at JMU

photo of woman's hand taking notes in front of an open laptop

The cost of course materials is a serious issue for many Dukes. JMU students reported in a 2021 survey that the cost of course materials influenced their decision to not register for a course (34%), drop (20%) or withdraw (14%) from a course, or take fewer courses (24%). To address this problem, we champion the use of open educational resources at JMU.

At JMU Libraries, providing free and equitable access to information is at the core of what we do. Supporting open education—the movement to use, create, and freely share teaching and learning resources, tools, and practices—is crucial to our mission. 

What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?

Open educational resources (OER) are any teaching and learning materials licensed for free use. Under some licenses, you can even edit them to meet your course goals. Because OER are available without financial, legal, or technical barriers, you and your students can use them freely! 

Although open education also overlaps with concepts like open pedagogy and open access publishing, this Open Education at JMU guide focuses mostly on open educational resources (OER).

Benefits of OER

You can reduce the cost of course materials and make education more accessible and affordable for your students by selecting high-quality open educational resources for your courses. 

You can also customize OER, which gives you the flexibility to adapt the materials to better support your course goals or reflect a greater diversity of voices and experiences.

How JMU Faculty Are Making a Difference

By adopting OER, JMU instructors have saved students over $1.5 million in total course material costs since Fall 2019! 

If you want to join this effort, you can use open and affordable course content in your courses or reach out to Liz Thompson, our Open Education Librarian.

Still thinking it over? Get inspired by the stories of JMU colleagues and learn about grant funding to support you in this work.

Open Initiatives at JMU and Beyond

Open education is gaining momentum at JMU. A cross-JMU team was selected to join the 2023-24 Institute on Open Educational Resources hosted by the American Association of Colleges & Universities. This team is creating a comprehensive plan to accelerate the use of OER at JMU. 

Learn more about JMU’s Open and Affordable Initiatives and the ways JMU is leveraging statewide and national OER programs to advance open education at JMU.


Please contact Liz Thompson, our Open Education Librarian, at, with questions or ideas related to this website or open and affordable course materials at JMU.

The definitions of “open education” and “open educational resources” on this page were adapted from VIVA’s Open Educational Resources page, which is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.