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Open Educational Resources

What are open educational resources (OER?)

Open educational resources (OER) include any and all educational resources, such as:

  • Textbooks
  • Entire Canvas courses
  • Canvas modules, pages, discussions, quizzes, etc.
  • Tests and quizzes
  • Homework assignments
  • Tutorials
  • Videos
  • Syllabi
  • Software
  • Lecture notes and PowerPoint slides
  • And more!

To be "open" these materials need to be free in two ways: 

  1. Copyright–OER must be in the public domain or use an open license, such as a Creative Commons (CC) license. Because of the permissive licensing, OER can be freely used in its original form or in modified ways. 
  2. Cost–OER are completely free of cost.

Here's the official definition of OER by UNESCO:

"Open Educational Resources (OER) are learning, teaching and research materials in any format and medium that reside in the public domain or are under copyright that have been released under an open license, that permit no-cost access, re-use, re-purpose, adaptation and redistribution by others."

OER refers to not only textbooks, but so many other resources we use in our classrooms! Getting started in adopting OER can mean adopting an entire textbook, parts of a textbook, content from Canvas Commons, or perhaps licensing your own classroom content as OER for your colleagues to use in their classrooms. Most educators already practice this kind of sharing of educational resources already! Have you ever lent a colleague your syllabus for them to develop their course? Or has a colleague given you a really awesome handout or assignment prompt for you to adopt in your own course? OER is aligned with this spirit of sharing, just with a larger community and by purposefully applying open licenses to your work!


Adapted from OSU Library's "Open Educational Resources" CC-BY, 4.0.

OER Informational Presentations