Skip to Main Content

Open educational resources (OER)

Find, create and evaluate OER materials, available to legally and freely copy, such as ebooks, images, audio, video and software. Understand copyright and Creative Commons (CC) licences.

In this guide

  • Using, creating or sharing resources, including Creative Commons and Copyright
  • Finding open educational resources - ebooks and etextbooks, open journals, images, audio, video, software 
  • MOOCs and courses - finding MOOC platforms or open courses on particular topics

What are open educational resources?

the letters open on book covers

Open Educational Resources (OER) are educational materials that are licensed in ways that allow us to legally and freely copy, use, adapt and re-share them.

OERs include courses, textbooks, assignments, tests, projects, software, audio, video and animation.

Source: UNESCO and Open Education Resource Foundation

Image: Open opensource.com via Flickr CC BY-SA

Defining open

The terms "open content" and "open educational resources" describe any copyrightable work that is either in the public domain or licensed in a manner that provides everyone with free and perpetual permission to engage in the 5R activities:

  1. Retain - make, own, and control a copy of the resource
  2. Revise - edit, adapt, and modify your copy of the resource
  3. Remix - combine your original or revised copy of the resource with other existing material to create something new
  4. Reuse - use your original, revised, or remixed copy of the resource publicly
  5. Redistribute - share copies of your original, revised, or remixed copy of the resource with others.

Adapted from Defining the "Open" in Open Content and Open Educational Resources, by David Wiley and published freely under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence.

Benefits of OER

OERs provide access to all kinds of resources for the educational benefit of people from all backgrounds in our global community.

OERs allow:

  • free and legal access to high quality content
  • you to customise the content to suit your students
  • increased usage of your OER due to the removal of barriers to access
  • the sharing of knowledge and expertise, while ensuring that the creator is acknowledged.

If you create an OER, you can retain ownership of your work but still allow others to use, share, and remix it.  You can assign a Creative Commons (CC) licence so that users must attribute you for your work.

Organisations providing OER guidance

Organisations that provide guidance on OERs include:

Need more help?