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Open Educational Resources Guide

Open Educational Resources


The terms "open content" and "open educational resources" describe any copyrightable work (traditionally excluding software, which is described by other terms like "open source") that is licensed in a manner that provides users with free and perpetual permission to engage in the 5R activities:

  1. Retain - the right to make, own, and control copies of the content (e.g., download, duplicate, store, and manage)
  2. Reuse - the right to use the content in a wide range of ways (e.g., in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video)
  3. Revise - the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language)
  4. Remix - the right to combine the original or revised content with other material to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)
  5. Redistribute - the right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend)

Source: Open Content definition by David Wiley

Tips to finding & using OER:

  1. There are lots of OER materials out there. It takes time and persistence to find the ones that best fit your students' academic and research needs.
  2. Instead of focusing on the textbook that you want to replace, focus on what you want your students to know or do.
  3. Use the resources in this guide to find OER relevant to your discipline and courses. These links are great starting points but if you are not finding the OER that work for you, contact your librarian by subject.
  4. If you find an article in a library database that you want to use in a course, the Library can help you with copyright considerations and provide access to the resource through a library guide or embed through Blackboard.
  5. Talk with your librarian by subject with any questions you have about finding and using OER.

Note: reused and adapted from University of Texas Arlington Libraries, Open Educational Resources by College Guide.

What OERs can be...

Examples of what can be used as OERs:

Note: from Northwest Michigan College: Michigan Community College Librarians OER guide.