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Open Educational Resources (OER)

Information about OER and support for those working with it.

What are OER?

Open Educational Resources are educational materials that are available for free, online and are either:


  • In the public domain (i.e., no longer protected by copyright, basically, now 'owned' by all us, the public)
    • Creative Commons also created a public domain dedication tool (CC0); it makes it easy for creators to dedicate their material as being in the public domain, available for all to use with no copyright restrictions at all

OER includes materials such as:

  • textbooks
  • assignments
  • teacher guides
  • recorded lectures
  • quiz or exam question banks
  • lab manuals
  • scholarly books
  • open homework generators
  • curricula
  • entire courses
  • lesson plans


that can be used for teaching, learning, and research.  (Keep in mind that one can of course use OA articles and scholarly books as class readings, too, and could even use open data as part of an assignment.)

Because OER are openly-licensed, they can be altered and customized in ways that no 'all rights reserved' material ever can.

OER's unique, customizable nature can make it a game-changer in the classroom, making possible an instructional technique called 'open pedagogy / OER-enabled pedagogy'.

More About OERs' Customizable Nature

The 5 'Rs':

An image displaying the 5 'Rs' of OER: Retail, Reuse, Revise, Remix, and Redistribute

As mentioned above, OER are licensed so as to allow users to:

  • keep (retain) the material
  • reuse it when desired
  • be able to revise it
  • to revise including by remixing in other material which has a compatible license
  • be able to freely redistribute it.


Are OER Worth Using?

Absolutely - for a number of reasons:

  • Textbook prices continue to rise at a significant rate over tuition and fees and more than three times faster than inflation.  Open Educational Resources are free of cost.
  • OER enables pedagogy that traditional textbooks do not.  This enables instructors to stray from “disposable assignments” and instead invite students to become producers and communicators of knowledge.
  • Classes that employ OER have lower drop and withdrawal rates than those using traditional, costly, textbooks.
  • Student performance in classes using OER has been shown to be the same as or marginally improved over that in which traditional textbooks were used.

Information in this section is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, derived from University Libraries of the University of Oklahoma.