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Open Educational Resources (OER)

What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?

UNESCO defines Open Educational Resources (OER) as, "teaching, learning and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise – that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions." The term "open" in OER generally refers to resources with free permission to engage in the 5R activities: retain, reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute.

     The 5 Rs: Retain, Reuse, Revise, Remix, Redistribute

  • Retain: make, own, and control a copy of the resource (e.g., download and keep your own copy)
  • Reuse: use your original, revised, or remixed copy of the resource publicly (e.g., on a website, in a presentation, in a class)
  • Revise: edit, adapt, and modify your copy of the resource (e.g., translate into another language)
  • Remix: combine your original or revised copy of the resource with other existing material to create something new (e.g., make a mashup)
  • Redistribute: share copies of your original, revised, or remixed copy of the resource with others (e.g., post a copy online or give one to a friend)

"Open" definition  by David Wiley 

OER Benefits

Faculty benefits

  • Customize learning content - mix resources to suit course needs
  • Support students by reducing course costs
  • Provide equitable access to required content
  • Control updates

Student benefits

  • College and student success more affordable
  • Equitable opportunities to succeed
  • Access textbooks on day 1 of course (or before) and after the course ends
  • Improves end of course grades and reduces DFW grades for all students 
  • Improves course grades and decrease DFW rates at greater rates for students who receive Pell grants, part-time students and populations historically underserved by higher education 

adapted from “The Impact of Open Educational Resource on Various Success Metrics.pdf fileConcordia University Libraries  

The Creative Commons Licenses

Creative commons

The Creative Commons (CC) organization developed licenses and public domain tools to give creators a free, simple, and standardized way to grant copyright permissions for creative and academic works. CC also:

OER Mythbusters

OER Mythbusters

OER Mythbusting  by SPARC addresses the top seven myths about OER in North American higher education, as voted on by more than 100 faculty, librarians, students and other members of the OER community. 

The Red Rocks Community College Library Services Open Educational Resources (OER) Guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License; icons used in 5Rs graphic from Icons8, graphic licensed under a CC BY 4.0 license