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Open Educational Resources (OER)

Information and Support for Faculty interested in or working with OER

Subject Librarian

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Hedda Monaghan
Henry Whittemore Library
(508) 626-4664

Subject Librarian

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Rebecca Dowgiert
she, hers
Whittemore Library, UM-07

What is OER?

OER or Open Educational Resources are free and openly licensed educational materials (i.e. textbooks, assignments, lesson plans, etc.) used for teaching, learning, and research.


The 5 'Rs'

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

In order to be an Open Educational Resource, a material must be licensed so as to allow one 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.

What makes OER 'Open'?

Open Educational Resources (OER) are either in the public domain or licensed for maximum use and reuse by the copyright holder.  This allows others to use, re-use, edit, and even 're-mix' these openly-licensed materials.

The standard licenses for OER are Creative Commons licenses.

Creative Commons licenses are modifications of the traditional copyright license. These modification grant some rights to the public.

"Creative Commons licenses give everyone from individual creators to large institutions a standardized way to grant the public permission to use their creative work under copyright law. From the reuser’s perspective, the presence of a Creative Commons license on a copyrighted work answers the question, “What can I do with this work?” "

 From: About CC Licenses

Why Use OER?

  • 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.