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Open Educational Resources (OER): About

OER Defined

What is OER?

Open Educational Resources, or OER, are teaching, learning, and research resources-- digital or otherwise-- that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license. Anyone can use, copy, and/or redistribute these resources, with few or no restrictions.

OER come in many forms: full courses, textbooks, ancillary materials, streaming videos, software, images, and many other kinds of digital and print resources.

The key component that defines an OER is the open license attached to it (most commonly, a Creative Commons license).

Why OER?

Open educational resources: 

  • Reduce costs for students.
  • Allow all students equal access to course materials from the first day of class.
  • Give faculty more control over their instructional materials.
  • Allow for localization of content.

Examples of OER

Open educational resources include:

  • textbooks
  • courses
  • syllabi
  • lectures
  • assignments
  • tests and quizzes
  • lab and classroom activities
  • games and tutorials

Remember: The license--NOT the item type or format--determines whether a resource is OER.

Librarian - Tara

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Tara Severns

The 5 Rs of OER

OER materials are published under open licenses that allows users to:

  • Retain → make and keep copies of content 
  • Reuse → use the content in varied ways
  • Revise → adapt, modify or change the content
  • Remix → combine the original or modified content to create a new resource
  • Redistribute →  share copies of original, revised, or remixed content

Getting Started

Ready to dive in?

Explore selected OER by Discipline or search on your own using the Find OER page.

Want a bit more guidance?

Contact your friendly librarian for one-on-one help or explore these resources:

Creative Commons Licensing

Open Access vs. OER

Open Access (OA) refers to literature that is "digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions" [Peter Suber]. OA typically refers to research publications that have been released under an open license.

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning resources available through an open license. OERs might include textbooks, courses, lesson plans, slides, tutorials, tests,quizzes, assignments, lab and classroom activities, syllabi, games, etc.

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Windward Community College Library • 45-720 Keaʻahala Rd. • Kāneʻohe, HI 96744
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