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Open Educational Resources (OER): Get started with OER

This guide attempts to list different subject specific OER, and talk about different types of OER and tries to explain different licenses to understand OER.

What are Open Educational Resources

What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?

"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 re-purposing by others. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge." [1]

Open Educational Resources (OER) Logo from Wikimedia Commons. OER are educational materials that are specifically designed by their creator/s to be openly available, and are often licensed to be re-used, re-mixed, and re-distributed.  Open is not just about low cost (though that is an important benefit of using OER) but about the ability to take what others have created, customize it for your specific educational needs, and then share your creation with others.                                  

The Open Education movement is built around the 5Rs of Open [2]

  • Retain – the right to make, own, and control copies of the content
  • 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)
  • Revise – the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language)
  • Remix – the right to combine the original or revised content with other open content to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)
  • 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)

OER Basics


Are you considering using or adopting Open Educational Resources in your course to save students money? If yes, this guide should help you in providing tips for finding, creating, or adopting an OER for your class. If you have any questions please contact me or us

OER Step-by-step

Step one: Set aside time.
Searching for OER takes time and persistence, just like research!

Step two: Take a look to see if someone else has created a similar, complete OER course or textbook.
See the "Complete Courses" and "Textbooks" sections of the "Finding OER" tab.

Step three: Keep an open mind with your learning objectives.
Its 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.
Example: instead of searching for “biology” materials, search for “cell structure” or “DNA” or “evolution” materials.

Step four: Use Google “Advanced Search” to search for open resources.


Step five: Search within some of the specific OER repositories/OER 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.

Step six: Look for library materials like ebooks, articles and streaming videos to fill in gaps.
Visit the library's homepage, to search our collection.

Step seven: Not finding what you’re looking for? Ask your librarian.
We are happy to assist you, write to me email or call me at 479 619 4206

Step seven: 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.

More advice on searching for OER?
Check out this 60 minute webinar “Finding and Adopting OER” from the Open Education Consortium for Open Educational Resources:


Creative Commons License

This LibGuide was adapted with permission from its creators from University of Oklahoma Libraries 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.

Discipline specific OER

If any of these OER links do not work please let us know ( so we can correct it or find similar OER.

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Nithin Lakshmana
Pauline Whitaker Library
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479 619 4206

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