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Open Educational Resources

This guide is designed to assist faculty in the exploration, identification, evaluation, selection, and adoption of Open Educational Resources.

An Introduction to OER

Why use OER?

There are many reasons instructors might want to use OER: 

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 content for your course.
  • Expand opportunities for interdisciplinary teaching and learning by allowing you to integrate and revise multiple educational resources.
  • Redefine "traditional" learning by incorporating multi-media or scenario-based education.
  • Go beyond the confines of "teaching to the book."

Network and Collaborate with Peers 

  • Access educational resources that have already been "peer reviewed" by other experts in your field.
  • Review or annotation features and texts so other instructors have more in-depth knowledge of the resource and its quality quickly.
  • Make learning and teaching a team project using collaborative platforms.

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.
  • Find and access information instantly on virtually any topic, on various devices.
  • Give learners the option of looking at course content openly before enrolling.
  • Reduce the load students bear, possibly increasing graduation and retention rates.

"Open Educational Resources: What are OER" by University of Illinois Library is licensed under CC BY 2.0


"OER are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others."

-The William and Flora Hewitt Foundation

Open Educational Resources include:

  • Full courses 
  • Course materials
  • Lesson plans
  • Textbooks
  • Modules
  • Tests and quizzes
  • Streaming videos          

Creative Commons Licensing

Creative Commons Licenses are granted by the copyright-holder of a work and give users specific permissions to use, copy, and adapt it to their own purposes. OER creators assign CC licenses to their work in order to share it with other faculty and students. Creative Commons licenses make OER possible!

Click here to learn more about CC licensing.

Myths about OER

Do you have some reservations about using OER? Check out this OER mythbusting guide by SPARC.

The 5Rs of OER

"5Rs image" by David WileyLumen Learning is licensed under CC BY 4.0.

The 5Rs of OER were created by David Willey. You can learn more about the 5Rs here.

Have questions?

Whether you are looking for help finding, evaluating, or adapting OER, you can ask Snowden's librarians for help. Contact your department's assigned librarian or email Emily Moran using the information above.


Creative Commons License

This guide by Emily Moran is licensed by a CC BY 4.0 license.