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OA and OER in TUS: OER

The aim of this guide is to define OA and OER as well as outline their benefits for TUS staff and students

Definition of Open Educational Resources (OER)

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that you may freely use and reuse at no cost, and without needing to ask permission. Unlike traditional copyrighted resources, OER have been authored or created by an individual or organization that chooses to allow for re-use and adaptation of their work.

In some cases, that means you can download a resource and share it with colleagues and students. In other cases, you may be able to download a resource, edit it in some way, and then re-post it as a remixed work. How do you know your options? OER often have a Creative Commons license or other permission to let you know how the material may be used, reused, adapted, and shared.

You can use OER to supplement (or even replace) traditional educational resources.

Some examples of OER are:

  • Textbooks
  • Lecture Slides
  • Podcasts
  • Online courses
  • Videos 
  • Quizzes


OER benefits to society

Open Educational Resources by UNESCO licensed under CC-BY

OER benefits to students

Using OER can both provide tremendous cost savings for students and impact student success and completion rates. The cost of textbooks can be a huge financial burden on students, which not only affects student success, but could also delay graduation for students who are taking fewer classes per term because of that cost, further increasing financial costs for students over time. OER provide students with day-one access to free course materials, and research reviewed by the Open Education Group shows that most students perform as well or better using OER course materials compared with students using traditional textbooks.

Adapted from Open Educational Resources: Basics & Beyond by Oklahoma Council for Online Learning Excellence (COLE) Member Volunteers under CC-BY

How to use OER?

  1. Retain - make, own, and control a copy of the resource (e.g., download and keep your own copy)
  2. Revise - edit, adapt, and modify your copy of the resource (e.g., translate into another language)
  3. Remix - combine your original or revised copy of the resource with other existing material to create something new (e.g., make a mashup)
  4. Reuse - use your original, revised, or remixed copy of the resource publicly (e.g., on a website, in a presentation, in a class)
  5. Redistribute - share copies of your original, revised, or remixed copy of the resource with others (e.g., post a copy online or give one to a friend)

Adapted from Defining the "Open" in Open Content and Open Educational Resources, which was originally written by David Wiley and published freely under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license at

OER benefits to faculty

Faculty using OER enjoy great freedom in selecting course materials that they customize to fit the specific needs of their students and the goals of their classes. Since most OER permit adaptation, educators are free to edit, reorder, delete from, or remix OER materials. OER provide clearly defined rights to users, so educators are not faced with interpreting Fair Use and TEACH Act guidelines.

Open educational resources also provide increased opportunities for faculty to engage in open pedagogical practices with their students. As mentioned above, students play a vital role in OER. Student involvement also provides valuable opportunities for them to help create effective and successful open education programs. Open pedagogy focuses on instructional approaches which allow students to use, reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute open content. In other words, students move from knowledge consumers to knowledge creators. The ability for students to engage more actively with the OER is a key pedagogical benefit for faculty and students – one that commercially published copyrighted course materials do not provide.

Adapted from Open Educational Resources: Basics & Beyond by Oklahoma Council for Online Learning Excellence (COLE) Member Volunteers under CC-BY

OER in a nutshell

What are OER? by David Wiley licensed under CC-BY