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Open Educational Resources (OER)

This guide provides context for Open Educational Resources and open education, with references and resources for identifying OER in various disciplines.

Open Educational Resources

Open Educational Resources (OER) are public or openly licensed educational materials for teaching and learning that anyone may freely retain, reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute. From textbooks to assignments to media, OER offer students and instructors new and familiar ways to interact with and contribute to scholarship without the costs or copyright restrictions of traditional materials.

In addition to dramatic student savings, OER adoption is also linked with student success outcomes

To schedule a consultation to explore the prospects of OER for your discipline and teaching practice, contact either Donald Williams, Copyright & Scholarly Communications Manager, at, or Laura Suman, Head of Access Services, at

Suggested Starting Points

These resources are broad, interdisciplinary starting points for locating OER in diverse subjects at various educational levels.

Creative Commons Licensing

Much of the OER content online is licensed through Creative Commons licenses. These allow creators to specify what uses are permitted while retaining copyright to their work. It is important to remember that OER not only allow users to download and distribute content, but to remix and adapt it as well, which is incompatible with "no derivative" licenses.

BY = User must credit the original creator. 

NC, Non-Commercial = User may not use the original product for commercial use, including fundraising. 

ND, No Derivatives = User may download and distribute the product, but may not alter it.

SA, Share-Alike = Any product building on the creator's original must carry an equivalent license to the original. 

Graphic by Shaddim; original CC license symbols by Creative Commons. Link here.