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A community college sponsored by Niagara County

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Open Educational Resources

Low-Cost and Zero-Cost Course Materials

Designed to make higher education more affordable and accessible.

In an effort to reduce college-related expenses, SUNY Niagara is joining a SUNY-wide effort to offer low-cost and zero-cost instructional materials. By utilizing Open Education Resources (OER), students enrolled in courses with this option will have the ability to cut costs dramatically without sacrificing the quality of their education. This initiative is available to all students, regardless of income. Additionally, Both SUNY Niagara and SUNY are making accessibility to these materials a priority. OER will feature adaptive technology for students with disabilities, facilitating new ways of accessible education for all.

To search for courses with Low-Cost and Zero-Cost materials, head to Banner using the button below. Banner is an online platform used to register for classes. Select the term in which you will be attending SUNY Niagara and add “Low-Cost Course Materials” and/or “Open Educational Resources” in the Attributes text box. Then, press “search.” A list of classes featuring Low-Cost Course Materials and/or Open Educational Resources will be listed for you to choose from.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?

OER stands for Open Educational Resources. Students enrolled in courses with this option will have the ability to choose courses based on the learning materials needed to complete the course. OER allows students to utilize open licenses and public domain resources, which include rentable or downloadable textbooks, journals, articles, labs, lectures, videos, games, and other supporting materials. OER does not affect tuition and fees, but it does help reduce the cost of college supplies and textbooks.

What are low-cost materials?

In a low-cost materials course, supplies will not exceed $50 for any given class.

What are zero-cost materials?

In a zero-cost materials course, students will have access to course materials without having to rent or buy materials. Resources are web-based or downloadable. Students will have access to them in Blackboard (an online platform used to connect students and faculty, share online materials, and supplement traditional face-to-face learning) or through the Library. These courses are listed with an “Open Educational Resources” attribute in Banner.

Who can take these courses?

This initiative is available to all students, regardless of income.

How will I know which courses are low-cost vs. zero-cost?

Courses will be marked as such in Banner. Log into Banner (an online platform used to register for classes and maintaining student records), search courses under “Course Offerings” and navigate to the “Attributes” column. Courses with “Low-Cost Course Materials” and/or “Open Educational Resources” within the attributes column are classes which feature the low-cost and zero-cost course materials option.

How will OER affect my learning outcomes?

This SUNY-wide initiative was created not only to help students save money, but to also increase exposure to new, alternative course materials. Through OER, instructors will be able to integrate new learning content into their curriculum. OER options give faculty members the freedom to curate a course methodically, allowing them to enrich students’ learning experience precisely.


Andrew Yeager
Phone: 716-614-6781
Location: D-205