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Library Confidential: Fall 17 - OER primer

The Madigan Library dishes the latest in student research

OER Defined

word cloud for open education resources
William & Flora Hewlett Foundation

What You Should Know About OER - Essential Reading

OER Resources



Open Educational Resources

by Judy Zebrowski, Librarian, Information Literacy Initiatives

Open Educational Resources (OER) are materials used to support education that  may be freely accessed, reused, modified and shared by anyone.  (Downes 2011).  The shared philosophy is that teaching, learning, and research are improved when educational resources are more open and accessible.  Students and faculty are often frustrated by the high cost of textbooks and other learning materials.  Looking for a solution to reduce the cost of learning materials and still increase the quality of teaching and learning, leads us to examine Open Educational Resources (OER). As the major thrust of the Open Movement,  OERs offer the opportunity for equity and access to high-quality pedagogy to ensure equity and access to all learners without rigid restrictions. OERs are relatively free for use, adaptation and redistribution, making them a notable trend in higher education that impacts student success.

Why Open Educational Resources Matter (video)

What is OER?

  • An open textbook is a textbook with an open copyright license that allows the material to be freely accessed, shared and distributed.
  • Open licenses allow instructors to adapt, remix, and customize existing open textbooks so that the content meets their own learning objectives.
  • Many open textbooks are developed through traditional peer review. Others are vetted by experts. As with any textbook, the instructor is hte final judge of whether an open textbook meets the needs of the course.
  • Open textbooks are free for anyone to view and download in an online format and can be made available in a print format at a nominal cost.

Creative Commons

  Creative Commons helps you legally share your knowledge and creativity to build a more equitable, accessible, and  innovative world.  CC provides free, easy-to-use copyright licenses to make a simple and standardized way to give the public permission to share and use your creative work on conditions of your choice.

  Creative Commons Search  offers convenient access to search services provided by other independent  organizations. You can search Google Web, Google Images, YouTube, Flickr, Open Clip Art Library, and  more, to search for learning materials that you can modify, adapt, or build upon.

Open Textbook Accessibility Toolkit

More on finding, evaluating and adopting

Open Textbooks Infographic

Copyright and OER

Want to find out more about open textbooks?

What We're Reading



Madigan Library

Have a question for Library Confidential?

Tracey Amey
Director of the Madigan Library

Judy Zebrowski
Librarian, Information Literacy Initiatives