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Open Educational Resources (OER)

Open Educational Resources

OER Basics

Source: "OER Basics" by Open Oregon is licensed under CC BY 4.0

What are OER?

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research resources that have been released under an intellectual property license or reside in the public domain that permits their free use and reuse by others. 

OERs are different than other educational resources because they are created and distributed with the 5Rs framework in the mind.

  • Retain -- users have the right to make, archive, and own copies of the content
  • Reuse -- content can be reused in its unaltered form
  • Revise -- content can be adapted, adjusted, modified, and altered
  • Remix -- original or revised content can be combined with other content to create something new
  • Redistribute -- copies of the content can be shared with others in its original, revised or remixed form.

They are openly available for use by educators and students, without the need to pay royalties or license fees. 

OER include learning materials such as: 

  • Course materials, e-books, e-textbooks, open journals, images, videos, audios, etc. 

A wide spectrum of legal frameworks is emerging to control how OER are licensed for use. The best known one is the Creative Commons (CC) licensing framework. Within this framework, the CC licenses allow authors to authorize other people the right to make copies of their work and make changes to their work without the need to seek the creator's permission. The CC licenses also allow creators to apply some restrictions on the permissions, for example, requiring attribution of the original work, or restricting reuse of the resource for commercial purpose. See "Copyrights" tag for more information about CC licenses.


Guide for OER

Why OER?

Because OER takes away restrictions around copying resources, it can reduce the cost of accessing educational materials. 

Student Benefits

  • Increase student learning while breaking down hurdle of affordability
  • Freedom to access the content from anywhere at anytime
  • Multiple formats for different devices
  • Immediate and unlimited access
  • Perpetual access - always own the content

Faculty Benefits

  • Every student has instant access from day one in class
  • Control over content that can be customized to match course outcomes
  • No need to seek permission from the creator for adapting the content
  • Perpetual ownership of the content you create
  • Many OER are peer-reviewed
  • No need to change versions every few years.