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Open Educational Resources (OER)

Find out what open educational resources are, where to find them, and how to use open licenses

What is OER?


"Open Educational Resources" by Bentley University Library (AI image assisted), CC BY 4.0. 

Traditional textbooks and other learning materials have become increasingly unaffordable for students, and often have usage restrictions. Open Educational Resources (OER) are free, openly licensed learning materials, such as textbooks, course modules, and multimedia resources, that are affordable, easily accessible, and customizable. They play a pivotal role in reducing the financial burden on students, and they empower instructors to customize and adapt content to suit their teaching styles and the unique needs of their students.

The 5 Rs: The Foundation of OER

For something to be recognized as OER, it typically needs these 5 elements (aka the 5 Rs): 


  The right to make, own, and control copies of the content


  The right to reuse the content as verbatim or in its unaltered form


  The right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself


  The right to combine the original or revised content with other content to create something new


  The right to make and share copies of the original content, as well as any revisions or remixes, with others 

OER Can Be Almost Anything

While OER is mostly associated with textbooks, such as collections from OpenStax and Libretext, they can be a variety of mediums such as:

  • Lesson Plans & Activities
  • Videos and Podcasts
  • Photography
  • Images and Illustrations
  • Music
  • Assessments
  • Full courses
  • Datasets
  • Printed or Online Textbooks

       A cartoon figure picking out open materials and putting them into a cart     

CC BY OER Nutzen 2.0