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Open Educational Resources (OERs): About

Information about open educational resources (OERs) including where to find them and how to use them.

OER Basics

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Why OERs

There are many reasons to adopt OERs in your teaching, but the one that receives the most attention is their potential to reduce costs for students. There is a lot of focus on the cost of higher education, and textbooks can add up to several thousand dollars per year to a student's bill. The links below provide some information about the cost of textbooks and some OER related solutions.

What are Open Educational Resources?

An open educational resource (OER) is any type of educational content that is made available for free and is openly licensed instead of being protected by the strict rules of copyright. Open licensing allows users of the licensed material to:

  1. Retain - the right to make, own, and control copies of the content (e.g., download, duplicate, store, and manage)

  2. Reuse - the right to use the content in a wide range of ways (e.g., in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video)

  3. Revise - the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language)

  4. Remix - the right to combine the original or revised content with other material to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)

  5. Redistribute - the right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend)

This material was created by David Wiley and published freely under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license at

Textbooks are what immediately spring to mind when thinking of OERs, and they certainly are important, but any type of educational material can be an OER if it's free and openly licensed. Some examples:

  • lesson plans
  • syllabi
  • entire courses
  • multimedia (video/audio/images)
  • assignments
  • lectures
  • tests/quizzes
  • learning games

Benefits of OERs:

  • reduced/no cost for students
  • flexibility of format (digital/mobile/print)
  • easily and quickly updated
  • open licensing allows for flexibility of use on the instructor's part



Malina Thiede's picture
Malina Thiede
Feinberg Library 325