About Open Educational Resources

About Open Educational Resources

Open Educational Resources are 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 repurposing by others.

William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

OER stands for Open Educational Resources.

  • Open: they can be freely used by anyone, modified to customize for individual needs, and remixed with other content
  • Educational: they are created with classrooms/learning as a focus
  • Resources: they can be a variety of mediums, from text to audio to multimedia; and they can be a variety of types, from a small learning activity to a textbook to a full course.

Open educational resources (OER) are free and openly licensed educational materials that can be used for teaching, learning, research, and other purposes. OER may be modified, adapted, or redistributed through the adoption of an open license from the copyright holder, read more about on the Open Licensing page. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, videos, assessments, software, and many other materials used to support learning.

Using OER can help faculty keep instructional materials up-to-date, relevant, and fit the unique needs of an educator’s diverse student population. Because they are free, OER ensure that cost is not a barrier to accessing high-quality resources. Educators can save a significant amount of time finding and developing resources, as well as having the opportunity to collaborate with other educators across geographic, time, and space boundaries. The use of open educational resources also helps to promote innovation in instructional practice and curriculum planning, along with ensuring accessibility for student accommodations.

Material on this page was adapted from Iowa State University’s OER Starter Kit website under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial License. Additional material was adapted from REMC Association of Michigan’s page Learn About OER, SUNY OER Services’ Understanding OER page, Brendan Walsh’s Why OER Matters page, Community College Consortium for OER’s Why Open Education page, and Santa Fe College Educational Media Studio’s Open Educational Resources page.