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Home: Open Educational Resources (OER)

What are Open Educational Resources?

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation defines Open Educational Resources (OER) as teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge.

Open Educational Resources (OER) provide everyone with free and perpetual permission to engage in the 5R activities (see below):

The 5R Activities of OER

Creative Commons (CC) classifies OERs as items in the public domain or which are licensed in a way that provides free and perpetual permission to:

  • Retain - make, own, and control a copy of the resource
  • Reuse - use your original, revised, or remixed copy of the resource publicly
  • Revise - edit, adapt, and modify your copy of the resource
  • Remix - combine your original or revised copy of the resource with other existing material to create something new
  • Redistribute - share copies of your original, revised, or remixed copy of the resource with others

Benefits of Using OER

Using Open Educational Resources (OER) has the following benefits:

  • Accessibility - Students can access OERs at any time and as many times as needed
  • Affordability - OERs reduce direct student costs for textbooks
  • Scalability - OERs are easy to distribute widely with little or no cost
  • Relevance and Adaptability - Unlike textbooks and other static sources of information, OERs can be improved quickly through direct editing by users or through solicitation and incorporation of user feedback. Instructors can take an existing OER, adapt it for a class, and make the modified OER available for others to use.
  • Augment and Enhance Regular Course Content - OERs can supplement existing course content where textbook information may be incomplete or not readily updated
  • Improved Academic Success - OERs remove barriers to accessing educational materials, such as time and money, allowing students to focus on their academic success

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