"Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise – that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions."
OER are free for instructors and students, which can provide significant cost savings to students and result in improved academic performance.
Most OER allow instructors to make modifications, which means you can pick and choose modules or modify content to make it more relevant to your courses.
Many OER are integrated with interactive online features such as videos, exercises, and quizzes to accommodate a range of learning styles and increase retention.
What, specifically, are you allowed to do with Open Educational Resources? Remember the Five R's of OER:
Make, own, and control your own copy of the content
Use the content as-is
Adapt, adjust, modify, improve, or alter the content
Combine the original or revised content with other OER to create something new
Share your copies of the original content, revisions or remixes with others
Note: Although all OER are free to use, not all OER have the same permissions regarding modifications, so before you Revise or Remix, be sure to check the license and use our handy Creative Commons License Cheat Sheet for reference.
5R Definition adapted from David Wiley under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.
As you evaluate OER for potential inclusion in your courses, here are a few questions to ask yourself:
There is a misconception that free resources are not high quality – and this is simply not true! There are many repositories and publishers that offer peer-reviewed resources and have rigorous publishing requirements. Although Open Educational Resources (OERs) are relatively new to the educational landscape, several studies have compared student learning outcomes between traditional textbooks and OERs to guage any differences in quality, and many have found either no significant difference in student learning or performance, or have found improvements. For more research on OER effectiveness, see the Open Education Group.
The AL$ Team is here to help! Our team of OER experts can help you locate resources for your course, evaluate resource quality, or answer any other questions you may have!
Many thanks to the creators of the following resources that inspired this OER guide:
SJSU: Open Educational Resources by College
Humboldt State University: Open Educational Resources (OER)
This website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.