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Open Educational Resources (OER): Overview

What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?

Open Educational Resources (OER) are educational materials that are freely and openly available to anyone to use, reuse, revise, repurpose, remix, and redistribute. See other definitions here.

7 Things You Need to Know About Open Educational Resources (by EDUCAUSE)

How to Use Open Educational Resources (a self-paced workshop by Open Washington)

Major initiatives

Key characteristics of an OER

  • Authorship. Originate from colleges and universities, libraries, organizations, faculty or other individuals. 
  • Formats. Typically, in digital format, including multimedia formats.
  • Platforms. No platform restraints.
  • Ownership. Either reside in the public domain or are released under an open license.
  • Conditions. Permit free use and re-purposing by others.

Typical OER models

  • Individual OER. Created as individual components and stored in OER repositories (e.g., in the OER Commons
  • Open textbooks. Compiled as textbooks (e.g., a collection of open textbooks in OpenStax)
  • OpenCourseWare (OCW). Organized as online courses (e.g., MIT OpenCourseWare).
  • Peer-productions. Produced by groups of individuals (e.g., Wikipedia)

Types of OER

  • textbooks
  • courses
  • syllabi and lesson plans
  • learning modules
  • tests
  • teaching techniques
  • writing prompts
  • group activities
  • audio and video recordings
  • games
  • software applications
  • experiments
  • simulations
  • any other material used for educational purposes 


This guide is licensed under   and should be cited as follows: 

"Open Educational Resources (OER)" by Salisbury University Libraries, licensed under CC BY 2.0