Open Educational Resources: A Primer

What are OERs?

Open Educational Resources (OER) can be any type of educational material— a class handout, an image, even a textbook, or an online course. OERs use open copyright licenses such as Creative Commons that allow for different degrees of openness and allow users, like faculty and students, to engage in one or more of the 5Rs: 


A visual representation of the 5 R's. The term 5R is located inside a blue circle, and the words reuse, revise, remix, retain, and redistribute circle around the middle image.

  • Retain: Make, own, and control your own copy of content 
  • Reuse: Use the content as-is
  • Revise: Adapt, adjust, modify, update, or alter the content
  • Remix: Combine the original or revised content with other OER to create something new
  • Redistribute: Share your copies of the original content, revisions, or remixes with others


This material is adapted from David Wiley and published freely under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license at 


Why OERs?

Little square people sharing folders by Manfred Steger from Pixabay

Adopting and developing OERs benefits organizations and instructors while also benefitting students. 


Organizational Benefits 

  • Promotes innovation
  • Increases faculty engagement and development opportunities
  • Contributes to collaborative working relationships                              

Instructional Benefits

  • Gives departments/faculty control over textbook content, presentation
  • Textbook content can be tailored to learning objectives and student needs
  • Content can be modified and refined as needed 

Student Benefits

  • Saves students the cost of textbooks
  • Helps ensure that all students with access to the internet have equal access to the textbook
  • Accessibility features enhance student learning

Adapted from Why OER?, a chapter from Open Educational Resources: Basics & Beyond, which is written by Oklahoma Council for Online Learning Excellence (COLE) Member Volunteers and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

OER Librarian

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Jennifer Jordan
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Wednesdays 10 a.m. - noon

CC Licensing

Creative Commons License
Open Educational Resources: A Primer by Jennifer Jordan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.