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*Open Educational Resources Guide: About OERs

Information on open educational resources (OERs), finding content, and creating your own OERs to share with the world.

What are Open Educational Resources?

What Are Open Educational Resources?

Open Educational Resources (OERs) are teaching, learning, and research resources released under an open license that permits their free use and repurposing by others. OERs can be textbooks, full courses, lesson plans, videos, tests, software, or any other tool, material, or technique that supports access to knowledge [1]

The Open Education movement is built around the 5Rs of Open 

  • 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)

Why Create or Use OERs?

Technology creates an unprecedented opportunity to expand access to knowledge. Yet, our systems for communicating knowledge still have many of the same cost barriers and use limitations present in the pre-Internet, print-based world. This is especially true for educational resources. The cost of college textbooks has risen rapidly, forcing many students to forgo required materials due to the expense.

Studies conducted at Virginia State University and Houston Community College found that students who used open textbooks tended to have higher graduation and lower withdrawal rather than their peers who used traditional textbooks [3][4].

College textbook prices rose 82% between 2003 and 2013, approximately triple the rate o in the Nation in overall consumer prices (CPI) during the same time (27%) [2]. 65% of students report not purchasing a textbook because of its high price.

[1]. The Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC).

[2] Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2014. Consumer Price Index Databases.

[3] Hilton III, J., & Laman, C. 2012. One college’s use of an open psychology textbook. Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning, 27(3), 265-272.

[4] Feldstein, A., Martin, M., Hudson, A., Warren, K., Hilton III, J., & Wiley, D. 2012. Open Textbooks and Increased Student Access and Outcomes. European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning.

 Flipped Classroom Field Guide lists many successful cases of flipped classrooms. Not all the cases you see here are with OERs. You can take it a step forward and utilize and share learning materials 

The University of Michigan Chemical Process

Real World Examples

Examples from the Real World

Students write or edit Wikipedia articles

·     Murder, Madness & Mayhem assigned students to edit (and if necessary create) Wikipedia articles about lesser known Latin American authors.

·     Azzam Dr. Amin Azzam, a professor of psychiatry at the UC-San Francisco School of Medicine assigned fourth-year medical students to edit and improve Wikipedia articles related to public health topics.

·     See additional Wikipedia-based assignments here and here. Also, see this report that 6% of edits to science articles in on Wikipedia in April 2016 were made by students.

Students create or revise/remix entire textbooks

·     The Open Anthology of Earlier American Literature was created by Robin DeRosa and her students.

·     Project Management for Instructional Designers was created by David Wiley and his students as an adaptation of an existing open textbook written for a different audience.

  • University of California/Davis Chemistry LibreTexts

library is a principal hub of the LibreTexts project, which is a multi-institutional collaborative venture to develop the next generation of open-access texts to improve postsecondary education at all levels of higher learning. The LibreTexts approach is highly collaborative where an Open Access textbook environment is under constant revision by students, faculty, and outside experts to supplant conventional paper-based books. The LibreTexts project is currently directed by UC Davis Professor and project Founder Delmar Larsen.

Students create test banks

·     Jhangiani describes a Social Psychology course in which 35 students created over 1400 test questions for a quiz bank

The purpose of this page is to provide a list of concrete examples of how OER-enabled pedagogy, is implemented in the real world.

This information was reused and adaped from :

Why Open Education Matters

Creating and Combing Licences

Pedagogy and OERS


OER-Enabled Pedagogy is the set of teaching and learning practices only practical in the context of the 5R permissions characteristic of open educational resources. Some people – but not all – use the terms “open pedagogy” or “open educational practices” synonymously.

  • Studies have shown that OERs often contain multimedia content that increases comprehension, retention, and creates learning stimuli. Multimedia enhances and illustrates concepts and examples in ways that static print textbooks do not.
  • Easy to customize, offer multiple perspectives and up-to-date information.
  • Empower your students in their learning by inviting them to submit open content to be reviewed by you for inclusion in your course. Teach them analytical skills, how to evaluate information and improve their digital literacy.
  • Create renewable assignments instead of disposable assignments supporting students as knowledge creators instead of just knowledge consumers.  
  • Increased access to course content via mobile devices.
  • How can you use OERs in your classroom to improve your teaching? What does it mean to incorporate open pedagogy in your course? Here are some suggestions to make collaboration and sharing an integral part of your teaching.