Skip to Main Content
Banner Image Return to SJF Lavery Library Homepage Return to Lavery Library Research Guides Homepage

Open Educational Resources (OER)

What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?

Open Educational Resources (OER) are freely available educational materials that are able to be downloaded, edited, and shared with an open license. OER can be used as main resources in a course or to supplement resources in a course. They can also supplement library materials, such as subscription databases and journals, provided at no cost to students.

OER are built upon the 5Rs:

  • Retain- the right to make, own, and control copies
  • Reuse- the right to use the content in a variety of ways
  • Revise- the right to adapt, adjust, or transform the work
  • Remix- the right to combine the original content with new content
  • Redistribute- the right to share copies of original or remixed content 

Source: CC BY David Wiley (adapted)

Learn More

Learn more about how OER reduce costs, expand access, and improve quality of education with these resources from Nicole Allen and SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition):

Why use OER?

There are many benefits to including OER in your courses! OER are...

  • free for you and for students, eliminating the burden of textbook costs
  • more accessible to all 
  • customizable to fit your curricular needs
  • revised by scholars regularly 
  • easy to use for students

This video provides additional context and the benefits of OER: 

CC BY intheacademia

For an in-depth look at the benefits of OER used at the college level, SPARC recommends this 2019 article from the journal Educational Technology Research and Development, authored by John Hilton III:

OER Mythbusting

Myth #1: Open simply means free

Fact: Open means the permission to freely download, edit, AND share materials to better serve all students

Myth #2: All OER are digital

Fact: OER take many formats, including print, digital, audio, and more

Myth #3: "You get what you pay for"

Fact: OER can be produced to the same quality standards as traditional textbooks

Myth #4: Copyright for OER is complicated

Fact: Open licensing makes OER easy to freely and legally use

Myth #5: OER are not sustainable

Fact: Models are evolving to support the sustainability and continuous improvement of OER

Myth #6: Open textbooks lack ancillaries

Fact: Open textbooks often come with ancillaries, and when they do not, existing OER can provide additional support

Myth #7: My institution is not ready for OER

Fact: Any institution can start with small steps toward OER that make an impact for students

Source: CC BY SPARC (2017). OER Mythbusting. Washington, DC: SPARC.