Open Educational Resources (OER)

Open Educational Resources (OER) and Open Educational Practices (OEP) are pieces of information that are available for free use and adaptation for teaching or research purposes.


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Siân Evans
Online Programs Librarian, Librarian for the Program for the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality

What are OER?

"OER" are Open Educational Resources

  • These are "teaching and learning materials that you may freely use and reuse at no cost, and without needing to ask permission."
    (From OER Commons)

  • These educational materials can be textbooks, entire courses, syllabi, lesson plans, learning games, interactive modules, or quizzes; anything that can be used to teach or learn.

Why Might Instructors Want to Use Open Educational Resources?
Lower Educational Cost and Improve Access to Information
  • Reduce the cost of course materials, particularly textbooks, so that all students have access and aren't as financially burdened
  • Remove price barriers, saving students money and making it possible for everyone to have their own copy of required course materials from the first day of class.
  • Give learners the option of looking at course content openly before enrolling
Free and Legal to Use, Improve, and Share
  • Save time and energy by adapting or revising resources that have already been created
  • Tailor educational resources to the specific needs of your course, by revising or remixing content
  • Expand opportunities for interdisciplinary teaching and learning by allowing you to integrate and revise multiple educational resources
Network and Collaborate with Peers 
  • Access educational resources that have already been "peer reviewed" by other experts in your field
  • Review or annotate features and texts to give other instructors more in-depth knowledge of the resource quickly
  • Make learning and teaching a team project using collaborative platforms

(From the OER guides of Towson University and Wellesley College)


The following organizations are dedicated to supporting OER and facilitating their use in academia.

If you would like to further support open learning, please visit their websites. Some resources also go beyond this guide to give more extensive information on OER.