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Open Educational Resources: Home

How to find and use OERs.

What is OER?

Open educational resources (OER) are any resources available at little or no cost that can be used for teaching, learning, or research.
The term can include textbooks, course readings, and other learning content; simulations, games, and other learning applications; syllabi, quizzes, and assessment tools; and virtually any other material that can be used for educational purposes. OER typically refers to electronic resources, including those in multimedia formats, and such materials are generally released under a Creative Commons or similar license that supports open or nearly open use of the content.
OER can originate from colleges and universities, libraries, archival organizations, government agencies, commercial organizations such as publishers, or faculty or other individuals who develop educational resources they are willing to share.

Why OER?

Educational resources developed in an open environment can be vetted and improved by a broad community of educators, resulting in materials that represent what the educational community sees as most valuable. By providing educators with new access to educational material, open resources have the potential to spur pedagogical innovation, introducing new alternatives for effective teaching.
OER have the potential to expose students and instructors to the long tail of content, most of which never finds its way into widespread educational use. Moreover, learning resources that can be modified and reused promote collaboration and participation—two key elements of a digital pedagogy.
The resources required to develop high-quality learning materials and activities for a full complement of courses can be prohibitive for many institutions and instructors. By distributing the costs over a larger number of users, OER brings a greater range of tools within reach of more users. OER can also lower the costs for students to obtain educational content.

Open Educations Resources

Open Educational Resources (OERs) are resources such as textbooks, lesson plans, and course materials available for free or minimal costs. Initiatives like this are designed to make the teaching and learning process more widely available and to enable curricular collaborations across institutions.

OER is guided by the following 5 R's

  • Retain – i.e. no digital rights management restrictions (DRM), the content is yours to keep, whether you’re the author, instructor or student.
  • Reuse – you are free to use materials in a wide variety of ways without expressly asking permission of the copyright holder.
  • Revise – as an educator, you can adapt, adjust, or modify the content to suit specific purposes and make the materials more relevant to your students. This means making it available in a number of different formats and including source files, where possible.
  • Remix – you or your students can pull together a number of different resources to create something new.
  • Redistribute – you are free to share with others, so they can reuse, remix, improve upon, correct, review or otherwise enjoy your work.

OER Resources and Repositories

Multi-Resource Repositories

Open Textbooks

Open Course Materials

Literature and Reading

OER Articles

Library Contact

Grabske Library


F.M. Smith Library