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Open Educational Resources (OER)

Find and evaluate OER materials such as ebooks, images, videos, case studies, simulations and more. Understand copyright and Creative Commons (CC) licences.

What are OER?

Open Educational Resources (OER) are any type of educational materials that are either in the public domain, or published under open licences (e.g. Creative Commons) that specify how materials can be used, reused, adapted, shared and modified according to specific needs. They can include textbooks, lecture notes, syllabi, assignments and tests.

OER benefits

There are many reasons for using OER in learning and teaching, including:

  • expanded access to learning - students anywhere in the world can access OER at any time, and they can access the material repeatedly.
  • scalability - OER are easy to distribute widely with little or no cost.
  • enhances regular course content - delivery of information in multiple formats may consolidate course content for the student.
  • quick circulation - rapid availability of material increases the timeliness and/or relevance of the material being presented.
  • showcasing of innovation and talent - a wide audience will be exposed to faculty research interests and expertise.
  • continually improved resources - OER can be improved quickly through direct user editing or through solicitation and incorporation of user feedback. Academics can take an existing OER, adapt it for a class, and make the modified OER available for others to use.
  • cost savings - students don't need to purchase textbooks.

OER and Open Access

OER and Open Access content are both openly available but the ways that they can be used are very different.

open access logoOpen Access

Open Access resources are free to read but usually don't have an open licence or have a restrictive licence so the content can't be altered or adapted. They are scholarly works primarily created to document new knowledge and advance scholarly conversation. Format: scholarly books and journal articles.

decorative OER imageOER

OER are free to use, not just free to read like open access materials. OER can be used as the open licences of OER enable the 5Rs. Resources with appropriate open licences can be read, shared, adapted and revised to make new resources. Useful for teaching and learning. Free access. Customisation permitted. Varying formats: textbooks, videos, images, software.

"Open access logo with dark text for contrast" by Mike A. Morrison is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

"Critical technology" by Peter is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

OER and the Sustainability Development Goals (SGDs)

Open Educational Resources (OER) are free teaching resources which embody sustainability, inclusivity, equity and collaboration for social good in education.

OER support the following Sustainability Development Goals:

  • Goal 4: Quality education - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
  • Goal 5: Gender equality - Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
  • Goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure - Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.
  • Goal 10: Reduced inequalities - Reduce inequality within and among countries.
  • Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions - Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
  • Goal 17: Partnerships for the goals - Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development.

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