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Open Educational Resources (OER): Home

This guide explains what Open Educational Resources are and provides resources for faculty.

The Definition of OER

Open Educational Resources (OER) are defined as "teaching, learning, and research resources that are free of cost and access barriers, and which also carry legal permission for open use.  Generally, this permission is granted by use of an open license (for example, Creative Commons licenses) which allows anyone to freely use, adapt and share the resource -- anytime, anywhere.  'Open" permissions are typically defined in terms of the '5Rs':  users are free to Retain, Reuse, Revise, Remix and Redistribute these educational materials."  -- As defined by SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition

Why OER?

There are many reasons instructors might want to use OER: 
Free and Legal to Use, Improve and Share

  • Save time and energy by adapting or revising resources that have already been creating
  • Tailoring educational resources to the specific content for your course
  • Expands opportunities for interdisciplinary teaching and learning by allowing instructors to integrate and revise multiple educational resources
  • Redefines "traditional" learning by often incorporating multi-media or scenario-based education
  • Allows instructor to go beyond the confines of "teaching to the book"

Network and Collaborate with Peers 

  • Access to educational resources that have already been "peer reviewed" by other experts in your field
  • Many resources have a review or annotation feature so instructors have more in-depth knowledge of the resource and its quality quickly
  • Makes learning and teaching more collaborative

Lower Educational Cost and Improve Access to Information

  • Reduces the cost of course materials, particularly textbooks so that all students have access and aren't as financially burdened
  • Find and access information instantly on virtually any topic, and can access with various devices.
  • Gives learners the option of looking at course content openly before enrolling.
  • Can reduce the students bear, sometimes increasing graduation and retention rates


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Taylor St. Pierre
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Creative Commons License
Open Educational Resources (OER) by Jillian Maynard is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Updated by Taylor St. Pierre, 7/2021.

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