What is OER?
Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that can be freely used or reused. Educators and professionals create OER and retain their copyright, and then add Creative Commons licenses that allow free reuse without permission as long as the license conditions are followed. In its OER definition, the US Department of Education includes materials in the public domain (free of copyright protection) or those with licenses that allow reuse for educational purposes.
The purpose of OER is to enhance learning through the use of curated materials that are readily and openly available to students. OER can be free or available at a lower cost than commercial textbooks and assist with making college and learning materials more affordable for students. Instructors can select a variety of materials such as multimedia to either substitute for or supplement a textbook. Students can learn from a variety of materials and in different formats.
Types of Learning Materials and Resources
OER can include any of the following types of learning materials with Creative Commons licenses or permissions for educational uses:
The 5 Rs of OER
OER allows educators to apply the 5Rs for its educational materials in the following ways:
Examples of OER
Are you unsure about OER materials? OER can be used as course materials or assignments in all disciplines or course levels. Here are some examples used by faculty and instructors:
Is OER the same as Open Access? It is easy to get the two confused or think they are the same thing, but they have some subtle differences:
Content credit: Shannon Dew and Erik Christensen (2022, May 18). Embracing OER: Tips, tricks and strategies [PowerPoint]. Florida Virtual Campus OER Virtual Conference. Content has been expanded and revised.
Florida Atlantic University
State of Florida
The State of Florida is interested in adopting textbook affordability and other measures to encourage the use of free and low-cost learning materials to support student learning and decrease their costs of education. See the following links for additional information on its past and current initiatives.