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Open Educational Resources (OER)

Designed for educators at the University of Missouri, this guide covers ways to find and create Open Educational Resources (OER).

What Are Open Educational Resources?

The foundation of Open Education is Open Educational Resources (OER), which are teaching, learning, and research resources that are free of cost and access barriers, and which also carry legal permission for open use.

Generally, this permission is granted by use of an open license (for example, Creative Commons licenses) which allows anyone to freely use, adapt and share the resource—anytime, anywhere.

“Open” permissions are typically defined in terms of the “5R’s”: users are free to Retain, Reuse, Revise, Remix and Redistribute these educational materials.

The Five Rs of Open Content

The terms "open content" and "open educational resources" describe any copyrightable work (traditionally excluding software, which is described by other terms like "open source") that is either (1) in the public domain or (2) licensed in a manner that provides everyone with free and perpetual permission to engage in the 5R activities:

  • Retain: make, own, and control a copy of the resource (e.g., download and keep your own copy)
  • Revise: edit, adapt, and modify your copy of the resource (e.g., translate into another language)
  • Remix: combine your original or revised copy of the resource with other existing material to create something new (e.g., make a mashup)
  • Reuse: use your original, revised, or remixed copy of the resource publicly (e.g., on a website, in a presentation, in a class)
  • Redistribute: share copies of your original, revised, or remixed copy of the resource with others (e.g., post a copy online or give one to a friend)

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