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Open Educational Resources (OERs)

Providing open license and useful materials for learning & teaching.

What is open education?


Image: Open Text created by Clayton Hayes

The concept of open education* is a core strand of the broader open scholarship ecosystem, driven by a movement of educators who seek to promote the implementation of open policies, practices, and resources in education. The meaning of open pedagogy is evolving globally and quickly, and encompasses a broad range of practices and techniques.

Open education is "about teaching and learning practices and tools that empower teachers and learners to access, create and share knowledge openly and learn deeply." (Burnett, Solomon & Healy, nd)

Open education supports "freedom for individuals to access content to reuse it in ways they see fit, to develop new methods of working and to take advantage of the opportunities the digital networked world offers.” (Weller, 2013) 

*Open education is referred to in the literature using a range of terms including as open pedagogy, ​open educational practices and OER-enabled pedagogy.

Why open education?

The motivations to adopt open education inform its key features and benefits. At its core, open education is underpinned by:

  1. A social justice ethos
  2. Learner driven aims
  3. Connected learning techniques

A social justice ethos

Image: Justice created by Template

A social justice approach to open education manifests in higher education through:

  • Redistributive justice: enabling free access to educational materials for all students;
  • Recognitive justice: recognising the diverse experiences of marginalised students;
  • Representational justice: facilitating the voice of marginalised students.

The Australian Open Textbook Project explores open education as social justice for students.

Learner driven aims

Image: Leader created by Alice Design

The aim of open education is to facilitate an "access-oriented commitment to learner-driven education and a process of designing architectures and using tools for learning that enable learners to shape the public knowledge commons of which they are a part." ​(De Rosa and Jhangiani, 2017). ​

Connected learning techniques

Image: Teamwork created by Maxim Kulikov

Open education connects educators and learners through the use of resources capable of the 5R’s. (Wiley, 2017)

This is achieved through using, reusing, and creating open education resources and adopting collaborative pedagogical practices that employ social and participatory technologies for interaction, peer-learning, knowledge creation and sharing, and empowerment of learners. (Cronin, 2018)​

This approach provides opportunities for students to connect with each other and share experiences, information, and activities.​

How to practice open education

These are some key practices associated with open education:

1. Use of open educational resources

Photo by Viktor Forgacs on Unsplash

Use open educational resources for your course material and provide students with the opportunity to engage with resources that are:

  • Creative - ask students to create new​ resources or revise/remix existing ​resources;​
  • Authentic - facilitate the creation of learning resources that have value ​beyond a learning opportunity;. ​
  • Public - invite students to publicly share their new​ or adapted resources;​
  • Renewable - invite students to assign open licenses to their new​ or adapted resources.

2. Engagement with students as creators of knowledge, not just consumers

  • Textbooks created by students 
  • Student curated and edited textbooks 
  • Student created ancillary materials for textbooks such as study guides​
  • Student created and curated multimedia added textbooks such as blogs, videos, quizzes​
  • Wikimedia editing

Image: Knowledge by Tippawan Sookruay from

Examples of students creating course content:

3. Engagement with students as assessors

Image: Peer Reviewed by John Salzarulo from

'Why have students answer questions when they can write them?: Rajiv Jhangiani

Ask students to develop assessments for their peers. The benefits include:

  1. Questions slowly improved over the course of the semester;
  2. The experience of serving as peer reviewers can be useful to students when constructing their own questions;​
  3. Including a students' best questions in exams can motivate students to complete tasks.​

4. Use of non-disposable assignments

Image: Renewable by Lima Studio from

Renewable, or non-disposable, assignments add value to the world beyond one learning experience - they relate to real world contexts.

See the articles below for a further discussion of non-disposable assignments

Be part of the open education community

There are many ways to become part of the global open education movement.

These are just some of the organisations that you can tap into for resources, events, discussions and meetings:

Open Education Network

CC Australia The Australian chapter of Creative Commons

Australasian Open Educational Practice Special Interest Group  

What open education resources are available for educators?

There is a vast array of resources for educators wanting to incorporate open educational practices in their teaching.

Image: Can Opener by Eucalyp from

These are just a small sample of the openly-licensed resources available to educators:


Webinars, Podcasts and Talks



Open Data

Provide students with open data to dismantle, reanalyse, re-graph, and critically analyse.​ Some open data sources include:


Australian Open Educaton Project,

M Baas, Admiraal, W., & van den Berg, E. (2019). Teachers’ Adoption of Open Educational Resources in Higher Education. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 2019, 1–11. 

C Bossu, & Stagg, A. (2018). The potential role of Open Educational Practice policy in transforming Australian higher education. Open Praxis, 10(2), 145–157,

Mahrya Burnett, Jenay Solomon, Heather Healy, (nd) Getting Started with Open Educational Resources is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

D Cozart, Horan, E. M., & Frome, G. (2021). Rethinking the Traditional Textbook: A Case for Open Educational Resources (OER) and No-Cost Learning Materials. Teaching & Learning Inquiry, 9(2). 

Rajiv Jhangiani and Robert Biswas-Diener (Eds) (2017) Open: The Philosophy and Practices that are Revolutionizing Education and Science (Ubiquity Press) License: CC-BY 4.0

V Rolfe, (2017). Striving Toward Openness: But What Do We Really Mean? The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 18(7). 

J E Seaman, & Seaman, J. (2021). A Year Apart: Adapting Curricula for a Pandemic Educational Resources in U.S. K-12 Education, 2021. Bay View Analytics. is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0). 

Phil Tietjen and Tutaleni Asino, 'What Is Open Pedagogy? Identifying Commonalities', Journal International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning 22(2), May 2021, p. 185–204 <> released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0). 

Martin Weller, 2013. The Battle for Open - a perspective. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 2013(3), p.Art. 15. DOI:

David Wiley, 'Defining the "Open" in Open Content and Open Educational Resources', is published freely under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license at

Wiley, D., & Hilton, J. L. (2018). Defining OER-Enabled Pedagogy. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 19(4).