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Open Educational Resources (OER)

Information about what OER is and how to use it, as well as subject-specific OER sources

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 Eucational 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:

  • Supports CC Global Network → to increase the volume & quality of open knowledge.
  • Created the Creative Commons Certificate → for people interested in becoming experts in creating and engaging with open works.
  • Hosts CC Summit → an annual international event of industry experts to promote open licensing. 
  • Developed CC Search → an OER search tool extension.

Self-Paced Trainings for Educators

Creative Commons Certificate for Educators and for Librarians: A stand-alone PressBooks port of the Creative Commons Certificate Course. Includes H5P formative assessments for readers to monitor their own progress. Created by Jonathan Poritz

OER Starter Kit: This starter kit has been created to provide instructors with an introduction to the use and creation of open educational resources (OER). The text is broken into five sections: Getting Started, Copyright, Finding OER, Teaching with OER, and Creating OER. Although some chapters contain more advanced content, the starter kit is primarily intended for users who are entirely new to Open Education. By Abbey Elder at Iowa State University.

The Red Rocks Community College Library Services Open Educational Resources (OER) Guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 LicenseIcons used in 5Rs graphic from Icons8