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Open Educational Resources: What are OER?

What is an Open Educational Resource (OER)?

What are OER?

Open Education 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 re-purposing by others. They include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge.  -Hewlett Foundation

OER materials are released under an open license granting permission for everyone to do the 5Rs (Retain, Reuse, Revise, Remix, Redistribute)

OER include digital learning materials such as:

  • open textbooks
  • full courses
  • modules
  • syllabi
  • lectures
  • homework assignments
  • quizzes
  • lab activities
  • games
  • simulations

Why use OER?

Have you noticed that students aren't reading the textbook? This may be because they didn't buy it. According to the 2016 Student Textbook and Course Materials Survey, 66.6 percent of students don't purchase required textbooks because they are too expensive. If you would like to reduce book costs for your students but aren't sure how, Open Education Resources (OER) might be the answer. 

How can I get started with OER?

This guide will introduce you to several OER repositories and provide information on searching, evaluating, and adapting OER to your course. If you have any questions about getting started, contact Lidiya Grote or Robin Zahrndt.

* Image and some materials have been borrowed and adjusted from MSU OER Research Guide

Want to Reuse this Guide?

University of Louisville Guide on Open and Affordable Educational Resources is licensed Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Affordable Learning Resources Guide

Open Educational Resources

An Introduction to OER

AdditionalOER Information

OER and Student Success

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Librarian Contact


Lidiya Grote

Social Sciences Teaching and Faculty Outreach Librarian

Ekstrom Library

The Delphi Center Contact


Robin Zahrndt

Instructional Designer and Technology Consultant

The Chronicle of Higher Education

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