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Open Educational Resources: Home

This site is designed to introduce OER initiatives, explain creative commons licensing and OER, and to help you get started searching for Open Educational Resources for teaching and learning.

Who Open Education Matters

The Broken Textbook Market

Read More about OER

Guide Attribution

All original content on this page is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. All linked-to content adheres to its respective license. Content in this guide is based on the a guide by the OER Office at University of Oklahoma Libraries.

Creative Commons License

Other content courtesy of Northwestern Michigan College (UMC) Library Research Guide on OERs under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence.

Welcome to the Open Educational Resources Guide

OER image

By Markus Büsges (leomaria design) für Wikimedia Deutschland. CC BY-SA 4.0  via Wikimedia Commons


"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. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge." [1]


The Open Education movement is built around the 5Rs of Open [2]

5R permissions of OER

Introduction to Open Educational Resources

What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?


OERs are educational materials that are specifically designed by their creator/s to be openly available, and are often licensed to be re-used, re-mixed, and re-distributed.  Open is not just about low cost (though that is an important benefit of using OER) but about the ability to take what others have created, customize it for your specific educational needs, and then share your creation with others.  

OERs can come in a variety of forms:

  • Primary sources - Images, video, and sound recordings.  Some  sources are in the public domain, while others have been licensed as open by their creators.   In addition, many texts that are in the public domain are available online/electronically.
  • Learning content - created content that ranges from individual lectures, animations, and assessments to complete courses and textbooks.  


Why OERs?


The open resource movement has been around for a while, starting with static learning objects (about 2000), and transitioning to OERs that allowed for revision and reuse.  It is the ever increasing cost of textbooks and materials for students that is now pushing the OER movement forward. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, 7 in 10 students didn't purchase a textbook because it was too expensive.  Through OERs the cost of student materials can be drastically reduced.  OERs also give instructors the ability to customize the materials, creating the "perfect" textbook instead of being bound to traditional print resources. 


How to get started


The first step is finding OERs, and that is what this guide is designed to do, so check out

  • the Open Textbooks page will link you to repositories of open and free textbooks you can customize and adopt for your courses.
  • the Discipline Specific OER section will help you find content specific to your discipline, and new discipline areas will be added regularly
  • the Finding OER section will help you navigate through some different sources for OER, as well as tips for finding openly licensed images.

If you have questions about open licensing (Creative Commons Licensing), you can find out more in the site.




This guide was specifically designed to introduce OERs to the university community, but don't forget that there are electronic resources available to you through the MSUB Library, including licensed journals, databases, primary content, and even ebooks. These resources are restricted to University faculty, staff and students (you have to have a MSUB log-in to access), they do not allow for customization and re-use in the same way as OERs.  Though these are not "open", they are resources that you can make available at no cost for your students.