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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 NOVA Online 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

Digital Open Courses Mean No Textbook Purchase Required

A growing number of courses at NOVA are utilizing freely accessible, high-quality, openly licensed educational materials commonly referred to as Open Educational Resources (OER). These educational materials may include modules, textbooks, streaming videos, software, and other tools, materials, and techniques used to support access to knowledge.

The online courses that use OER are designated as "digital open courses" in the course notes. This designation means that the purchase of textbooks is not required because the course materials being used for the course are free and accessible to all students enrolled in the course.

How to Find Digital Open Course Sections

  • Go to Schedule of Classes
  • Choose the semester and subject area of the courses you are looking for.
  • Choose “NOVA Online-Online Learning” in the Campus/Center field then “Search”
  • In the course notes, look for the following information: This is a digital open course. No textbook purchase required.

    Example of Zero Cost Textbook ccourse listing

Courses With Digital Open Course Sections

NOTE: Not all online classes and sections in these subject areas are digital open courses. Look for the following information in the course notes: This is a digital open course. No textbook purchase required.

  • ART 101: History and Appreciation of Art
  • ART 102: History and Appreciation of Art
  • ART 106: History of Modern Art
  • ART 115: Current Issues in Web Design
  • ART 116: Design for the Web I
  • ART 117: Design for the Web II
  • ART 141: Typography I
  • ART 142: Typography II
  • ART 251: Communication Design I
  • BIO 231: Human Anatomy and Physiology I
  • BIO 255: Bioinformatics and Computer Applications in Biotechnology
  • CHD 164: Working with Infants and Toddlers in Inclusive Settings
  • CST 110: Introduction to Computing
  • ECO 201: Principles of Economics I - Macroeconomics
  • ECO 202: Principles of Economics II - Microeconomics
  • EDU 235: Health, Safety, and Nutrition Education
  • ENG 111: College Composition I
  • ENG 112: College Composition II
  • ENG 123: Writing for the World Wide Web
  • ENG 125: Introduction to Literature
  • ENG 236: Introduction to the Short Story
  • ENG 242: Survey of American Literature II
  • ENG 243: Survey of English Literature I
  • ENG 244: Survey of English Literature II
  • ESL 51: Composition III
  • HIS 121: United States History I
  • HIS 122: United States History II
  • HIS 218: Introduction to Digital History
  • HIS 262: United States History in Film
  • IDS 245: Computer Aided Drafting for Interior Designers
  • ITD 132: Structured Query Language
  • ITD 260: Data Modeling & Design
  • ITE 115: Introduction to Computer Applications and Concepts
  • MTH 151: Mathematics for the Liberal Arts I
  • MTH 152: Mathematics for the Liberal Arts II
  • MTH 157: Elementary Statistics
  • MTH 277: Vector Calculus
  • MUS 121: Music Appreciation I
  • PED 116: Fitness and Wellness
  • PHY 201: General College Physics I
  • PHY 202: General College Physics II
  • PSY 200: Principles of Applied Psychology
  • REL 100: Introduction to the Study of Religion
  • SDV 100: College Success Skills
  • SOC 200: Principles of Sociology
  • SOC 225: Sociology of Gender