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OER: Open Educational Resources

Designed for educators at the University of Missouri, this guide covers ways to find, create, and use Open Textbooks & Open Educational Resources

What is OER?

OER stands for Open Educational Resources

“OER are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others."
- William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Why use OER in your classroom?

OER is Important to Students

Equity: Textbook costs are not always covered by scholars and/or waivers. Loan funds are not always available at the beginning of terms. OERs level the playing field for students choosing courses.

Statistics from May 2017 campus report "Moving Forward with OER at the University of Missouri"

Faculty Perspectives on OER 2016 Survey

Why does Open Education matter?

"Open education is a philosophy, a pedagogical shift, and a movement that works to improve educational experiences through adopting learning materials that aren’t locked down by restrictive copyright laws. In a lot of ways open education is about saving students money on textbooks, which helps institutions to meet equity of access missions. However, open education is also about increasing student achievement, inspiring passion among faculty, and building better connections between students and the materials that they use to meet their educational goals."
- Jensen & West's "Open educational resources and the higher education environment"

OER = more than textbooks

Many people use the terms OER and Open Textbook synonymously, but OERs can be any type of material used by educators, including but not limited to:

  • lesson plans
  • quizzes & tests
  • syllabi
  • full courses
  • lectures
  • instructional modules
  • simulations
  • open source software
  • video
  • audio
  • teaching tools & techniques
  • open access articles

For more definitions of OER, check out this Creative Commons What is OER? page.

Why create your own OER teaching materials?

an OER material provides its creator with 5 rights:

  1. 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)
  2. Revise – the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language)
  3. Remix – the right to combine the original or revised content with other open content to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)
  4. 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)
  5. Retain – the right to make, own, and control copies of the content

The five Rs are possible when materials are in the public domain or are made available with an open licensing tool such as a Creative Commons license.

- This material was created by David Wiley and published freely under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license at: