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Open Education Resources

All about Open Education Resources including, open textbooks, open data, and how to adopt or adapt for your own courses.

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research resources are created with the intention of being freely available to users. OER may include, but are not limited to, textbooks, readings, multi-media files, software, assessment tools, and even entire courses. Most are covered by licenses that allow for reuse, adaptation, and sharing.

Video source: "What is OER?" by The Council of Chief State School Officers is licensed under CC BY 4.0

The 5 R's of Openness

The 5R framework was proposed by David Wiley. These five aspects are the main characteristics of 'open' content.5Rs of OER

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

Reuse: The right to use the content in a range of ways, such as in a class or study group, on a website, or in a video. 

Revise: The right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content (such as translate the content or update an edition).

Remix: The right to combine the original or revised content with other open content to create new content (such as incorporate content into a mashup). 

Redistribute: The right to share copies of the original content, a revised version, or a remix with others (such as share a copy with a friend or class). 

CC Attribution 4.0 license by David Wiley at:

Faculty & Instructor Benefits

  • Increases student retention by reducing costs and barriers to succeed
  • Assures academic freedom to modify or add content to your specifications
  • Extends one's academic profile
  • Provides more relevant and engaging materials for your students even after they graduate

Student Benefits

  • Low cost or free educational resources
  • Find and access, even before classes start and after classes end
  • More customized and relevant

"Benefits for faculty and students" is a modified derivative of the poster “BCOER” by BCcampus, licensed under CC BY 4.0
Image attribution: benefit by Vectors Market from the Noun Project

Video from intheacademia, licensed under CC BY 3.0

Why Open Pedagogy?

  • Supports students in developing critical-thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills.
  • Enables educators to expand their academic competencies, and create more collaborative, engaging learning experiences for students.
  • Helps to democratize teaching and learning.

Adapted from eLearning Ontario's OER Toolkit

Why OER?

When a textbook is too expensive, it affects student success*:

  • 54% don’t purchase the required text
  • 30% earn a lower grade
  • 37% take fewer courses
  • 26% don’t register for a specific course
  • 17% drop or withdraw from a course

researching by Gregor Cresnar from the Noun ProjectDAY ONE ACCESS TO COURSE MATERIALS

  • Perpetual access - never expires


  • Available in print or digital formats
  • Students can choose the best format for their needs
  • Can be used with screen readers or magnified


  • Textbooks
  • PowerPoint slides
  • Test banks
  • Activities


  • Easily updated when standards or curriculum changes


*Jhangiani, R.S., & Jhangiani, S. (2017). Investigating the perceptions, use, and impact of open textbooks: A survey of postsecondary students in British Columbia. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning.
Image attribution: researching by Gregor Cresnar from the Noun Project

Step 1: Find OER

  • Fill current content gaps.
  • Identify resources you would like to enhance or replace for a course.
  • Look for suitable resources using links provided n this guide.
  • Consider assigning a Creative Commons attribution license to your own materials such as lecture notes or PowerPoint slides, and then make available online.

Step 2: Compose or Create your OER

  • Start piecing together the resources you have found to create a single learning resource, or collection of resources.
  • Use OER authoring tools (links available within this guide) to support you.

Step 3: Adopt or Adapt OER

  • Use an OER 'as is', print or download OER, or share direct links with your students.
  • Adapt OER to your own needs, add local context, or pick and choose which parts you will use.
  • Gather feedback from your students or colleagues on what content should stay, go, or be adapted.
  • Make minor amendments, remix or add components, or rework a resource.

Step 4: Use OER

  • Faculty or instructors may be surprised to realize they are already using some OER resources.
  • Open licensing allows possibilities for new, more collaborative teaching and learning practices. Materials can be used, adapted and shared. within and across learning communities. This includes contributions from colleagues or even students. 
  • You can partner with a colleague to edit or adapt an OER resource, for example, sharing case studies, test banks, or H5P activities. 

Step 5: Share OER

  • Make your new resources available for others to find or adapt, and then to begin the life cycle again.
  • Add descriptors to your resources to increase findability, and select and assign the appropriate license for any new/adapted resources.
  • Contact a librarian to learn how to best share or describe your resources.

Attribution: Derived from the OER Handbook for Educators, by WikiEducator, licensed under CC BY 4.0
Image attribution: "find by LAFS from the Noun Project (CCBY)"

OER Links

More Information on OER

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