What are OER?
Open Educational Resources (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 repurposing by others. OER include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge. All OER are available online, but many can also be accessed in print copies.
“Free + Permissions” = OER
Not all free resources are OER. Some free resources are only temporarily free, and many free resources cannot be modified, adapted, or redistributed without special permission from the copyright holder.
OER are free, but they also have open licenses which give users permission to customize, change, and share the OER. This allows teachers to adapt instructional resources to their students’ needs, to ensure that resources are up-to-date, and to ensure that cost is not a barrier to accessing high-quality resources.
What are Open licenses and how do they work?
Open licenses are a tool for describing the ways that a resource can be used, reused, modified, and shared. Creative Commons licenses are standardized, free-to-use open licenses that facilitate the development and use of OER. Most OER have a Creative Commons license which explains how an instructor can use and adapt the OER.
You can learn more about the six standard Creative Commons licenses, understand what a Creative Commons license means, or select the right license for your own work at the Creative Commons website: https://creativecommons.org/.
More Information About OER and #GoOpen
- Learn why OER are beneficial for students and teachers
- Get involved with OER in Michigan as an educator, student, parent, or community member
- OER Fact Sheet for K-12 Educators
- Information on this page is adapted from the Fact Sheet OER for K-12 by Doug Levin, Nicole Allen, Layla Bonnot, Cable Green, Meredith Jacob, and Lisa Petrides. It is used under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.