What is OER?
Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that you may freely use and reuse at no cost. Unlike fixed, copyrighted resources, OER have been authored or created by an individual or organization that chooses to retain few, if any, ownership rights (OER Commons, CC BY-SA). The US Department of Education includes in its definition that OER are materials in the public domain (free of copyright protection) or ones that are available for use by intellectual property licenses that allow free use or repurposing by others, such as Creative Commons.
Rather than buying a textbook where only a few chapters are used, students can read a variety of materials assigned by their instructor that better address learning and teaching objectives. Instructors have the option to include materials that better address topics that are related but not included in a commercial textbook. OER purports to enhance learning through curated materials that is more readily available to students, and also promote learning materials that are free or available at a lower cost than commercial textbooks.
Types of Learning Materials and Resources
OER can include any of the following types of learning materials:
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 not sure how OER can be used? Regardless of your discipline or level of course, OER can often be used as course materials or assignments. Here are some examples used by faculty and instructors:
Content credit: Shannon Dew and Erik Christensen (2022, May 18). Embracing OER: Tips, tricks and strategies [PowerPoint]. Florida Virtual Campus OER Virtual Conference.
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 its past and current initiatives.