Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Open Educational Resources: What are O.E.R?

Information for faculty on what is an OER, how it is accessible, and how it can be used and adopted for class.

The OER Starter Kit

What is a Creative Commons License?

What is an Open Educational Resource?

Open educational resources are materials that are openly licensed, typically under a creative commons license, and freely available to use and reuse online.  This means that OER are resources that are free of cost and most access barriers.

What isn't an OER?

Not all free resources are open educational resources. In order to qualify as an OER a resource needs to be openly-licensed, freely available, and modifiable. 

Library databases While library databases are excellent resources and provided free to students and faculty they are not openly licensed material and cannot be modified. These are not Open Educational Resources. 
Free Web Sources under copyright. These may be useful resources for a course, but they are not openly licensed, and cannot be modified. They are not Open Educational Resources. 
Open Access Articles These resources are openly licensed and freely available but often cannot be modified. They could be valuable resources for your course, but are not Open Educational Resources. 


Benefit of OER and why you should consider using them

  • COST: OER are free.  This means that all students begin the first day of class with the right materials in hand which improves retention rates.
  • Adaptability: OER materials can often, (depending on their license) be mixed, adapted, and built upon to fit the course structure and educator needs.
  • Access: OER can easily be shared to allow remote students to have access to the same materials as on campus students.