Skip to Main Content

Open Educational Resources

Open Education Resources Banner


Welcome to this guide on Open Educational Resources! This guide will help you with:

  • Finding Open Education Resources
  • Evaluating Open Education Resources for appropriate use and accessibility
  • Citing Open Educational Resources correctly
  • Understanding Licensing of Open Educational Resources
  • Checking OER for accessibility

OER - What & Why

What are OER

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that you may freely use and reuse at no cost, and without needing to ask permission. Unlike copyrighted resources, OER have been authored or created by an individual or organization that chooses to retain few, if any, ownership rights.

In some cases, that means you can download a resource and share it with colleagues and students. In other cases, you may be able to download a resource, edit it in some way, and then re-post it as a remixed work. How do you know your options? OER often have a Creative Commons license or other permission to let you know how the material may be used, reused, adapted, and shared. (OER Commons, 2020)

The 5 R's of OER


The “Five Rs” is a widely adopted framework defining what makes educational material open. Users must be able to engage in the Five Rs freely and with permission. (Wiley, 2014)

RETAIN - the right to make, own, and control copies of the content.

REUSE - the right to use the content in a wide range of ways (e.g., in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video).

REVISE - the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language).

REMIX - the right to combine the original or revised content with other open content to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup).

REDISTRIBUTE - the right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend).



"OER is sharing" by Giulia Forsythe under a CC 1.0 Public Domain license


In the following video, David Wiley discusses why openness is important in education and how new technology helps us:


‚ÄčThere are many ways that open educational resources and open education benefit students and faculty:

  • Textbook costs should not be a barrier to education
  • Students learn more when they have access to quality materials 
  • Technology holds boundless potential to improve teaching and learning 
  • Open education allows for continuous quality improvement
  • Open education gives educators and learners control over content
  • Open education supports true academic freedom
  • Open pedagogy enables better pedagogy

(SPARC Open Education Primer, 2018)

OER & Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

OER resources also support equity, diversity, and inclusion by:

  • Providing increased access to education materials
  • Providing the opportunity to edit or develop educational content that increases the representation of and cultural relevance for underserved students


This video reviews what the research says about the effectiveness of OER:

Open Education

"Open education encompasses resources, tools and practices that employ a framework of open sharing to improve educational access and effectiveness worldwide. Open Education combines the traditions of knowledge sharing and creation with 21st century technology to create a vast pool of openly shared educational resources, while harnessing today’s collaborative spirit to develop educational approaches that are more responsive to learner’s needs." (Open Ed Consortium)


Open Pedagogy

"Open pedagogy is the practice of engaging with students as creators of information rather than simply consumers of it. It's a form of experiential learning in which students demonstrate understanding through the act of creation. The products of open pedagogy are student created and openly licensed so that they may live outside of the classroom in a way that has an impact on the greater community. Open projects frequently result in the creation of open educational resources (OER)." (UTA Libraries, 2018)


See #openped or #openpedagogy on Twitter