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Open Educational Resources (OER): What are OER?

What are 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

This guide provides some information on how to use OER, why use OER, and where to find OER. 


Why use OERs?


How can I 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)

This material is an adaptation of 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 

Project/Guide Information

This guide has been developed as part of a Learning Enhancement Project Type 2 Initiative awarded to Celine Peignen, Deputy Librarian and Open Education Librarian, TUS Library Midlands from the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning in Higher Education.

CC attribution Open Educational Resources National Forum Funded LEP

Resources were developed with the help of Niamh O'Brien (as part of the requirement of Service Learning Module) and Saoirse Reynolds, Senior Library Assistant, Technical Services and Collection Development, TUS Library Midlands.

Creative Commons License
TUS Library OER libguide by TUS Library is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Project Lead contact details

Celine Peignen, Deputy Librarian and Open Ed Librarian

Email Me

TUS Library Midlands
Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest, Dublin Road, Athlone, Co.Westmeath, N37 HD68
Tel: 09064 83040