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Open Educational Resources (OER)

This guide defines open educational resources and provides information for faculty considering using OER in their classes.

What is OER?

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) defines Open Educational Resources as "learning, teaching, and research materials in any format and medium that reside in the public domain or are under copyright that have been released under an open license, that permit no-cost access, re-use, re-purpose, adaptation, and redistribution by others."

OER Handout 2022 by NWACC Library

Why Use OER?

How to Start Exploring OER Options

  1. Set aside time.
    • Searching for OER takes time and persistence, just like research!
  2. Take a look to see if someone has already created an open textbook or maybe even a complete OER course.
  3. Keep an open mind with your learning objectives.
    • It is much easier to find OER on concepts and topics you want your students to learn than finding that one perfect textbook in your subject. You will likely need to search for several materials to address different topics or concepts of your complete class.
      • For example: instead of searching for “biology” materials, search for “cell structure” or “DNA” or “evolution” materials.
  4. Use Google “Advanced Search” to search for open resources.
  5. Search within OER specific search engines:
    • See the "Finding OER" tab for a list of various OER Repositories and OER search engines.
      • *Librarian tip* Use the browsing tools that the repository or search engine presents to you! Don’t rely solely on keyword searching.
  6. Look for library materials like eBooks, articles, or streaming videos to fill in gaps with 'free to student' resources.
  7. Not finding what you’re looking for? Ask the library for help.
  8. If all the above steps are fruitless, consider creating your own OER.
    • See the "Creating OER" tab. Also here is a modular online course "Creating Open Educational Resources" where one can learn how to create OER for your course. Remember all the OER available today was written by a teacher just like you.

This LibGuide was adapted with permission from its creators from the University of Oklahoma Library and Portland Community College Library. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. All linked-to content adheres to its respective licenses.