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History Research Guide

What are Open Educational Resources?

Open Educational Resources (OER) are freely available textbooks and supplemental material that can augment or take the place of costly copyrighted textbooks.

Use the Mason OER Finder to locate appropriate material for your course.

Open Access Textbooks

U.S. History

undefined HIST 257 History in the Making: A History of the People of the U.S. to 1877
 CC BY-SA --  [What does this mean?]

undefined HIST 257 U.S. History
 CC BY --  [What does this mean?]

  HIST 257 American Yawp
 CC BY-SA --  [What does this mean?]

World History

undefined HIST 235 World History: Cultures, States, and Societies to 1500
 CC BY-SA --  [What does this mean?]

undefined HIST 111 Western Civilization: A Concise History v.1, v.2v.3
 CC BY-SA --  [What does this mean?]

undefined HIST 308A Keys to Understanding the Middle East
 CC BY-SA --  [What does this mean?]

Mapping History

undefined HIST 340A; HIST 639A Mapping, Society, and Technology
 CC BY-NC --  [What does this mean?]

Why Adopt OER in Your Classroom?


OER are receiving growing support as permissions are the clear, easy-to-understand. Many OER use Creative Commons Licenses, which specify the ways you are legally allowed to access, download, use, revise, and share the materials you need.

Innovation and Collaboration

Because OER are freely shared with others, there is a growing network of resources that instructors may draw upon to use in their courses - many of which have already been adopted and extensively reviewed by other instructors in your field. Since OER allow for revision and sharing in most cases, you have a greater capacity to build upon the works of others - customizing and combining resources to create innovative course curriculum.

OER also provide ample opportunities for ongoing collaboration between different individuals, departments, and institutions, in order to build truly unique materials.


One of the strongest supports for the adoption of OER has been the cost benefits for students. The College Board estimates that the average student in the United States will spend up to $1220-$1420 a year on their required course materials. As many as 65% of students admitted that they had deliberately chosen not to purchase their course materials, due to the cost involved. Additionally, as many as 48% of students reported that textbook costs impacted how many and which their course enrollment decisions.

This translates to is a growing number of students who either cannot, or choose not to purchase their course materials - leaving them without the information necessary to be successful in their coursework. It also leads to empty chairs in classrooms due to students dropping courses that they cannot afford. Open Educational Resources are an excellent solution to the rising cost of course materials, as they are free resources available to all, guaranteeing 100% of student will have access, almost instantaneously.