OER Overview

This page provides a basic overview of Open Education Resources (OER)

Open Education Resources (OER) – A Brief Overview

Open Educational Resources, OER, are openly licensed teaching and learning materials, such as digital assets, media, and text that reside in the public domain or licensed, in such a way, to allow any educator to customize, re-use, re-mix, improve, and possibly redistribute depending on the original license.

5R Activities

To encourage educators to embrace the openness of OERs, a framework was established, known as the 5Rs, to define the rights of open content and provide guidance on how to use these resources. 5R activities/permissions were proposed by David Wiley, which include: 

  • Retain – the right to make, own, and control copies of the content (e.g., download, duplicate, store, and manage)
  • 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 material 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)

Considerations Before Creating or Using an OER

Before creating your own open educational resource (OER) it may prove useful to contemplate some of the following questions:

  • Does what you want to create already exist?
  • What kind of open materials are available in your discipline?
  • Are there any OERs you find inspiring?
  • Is there an OER you think you could improve upon?

If you do not know the answers to these questions, consider reviewing some open content. Existing Open Education Resources (OERs) can be found by searching open repositories. It may also be necessary to search and review several OERs in order to determine the quality and relevance of existing content and whether or not you can adopt a textbook outright, adapt, remix several resources or create your own original OER.