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Open Educational Resources: What are Open Educational Resources?

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What are OER?

"The myriad of learning resources, teaching practices and education policies that use the flexibility of OER to provide learners with high quality educational experiences. Creative Commons defines OER as teaching, learning, and research materials that are either (a) in the public domain or (b) licensed in a manner that provides everyone with free and perpetual permission to engage in the 5R activities – retaining, remixing, revising, reusing and redistributing the resources."

- Hewlett Foundation (n.d.)

An Introduction to OER

"An Introduction to Open Educational Resources" by Abbey Elder is licensed under a Creative Commons 4.0 International license.

Benefits for Students

  • Significant savings on textbooks
  • Course materials are available on the first day of studies and after completing a course
  • Course materials are accessible

Leeward CC students from Michele Mahi's COM 210H class speak about using OERs.

5R's of Openness

What does it mean for a learning resource to be "open"? The 5R framework, developed by David Wiley, defines the major characteristics of "open" content.

  1. Retain: the right to make, own, and control copies of the content
  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 open content 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)

This material was created by David Wiley and published freely under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license at Clarifying and Strengthening the 5Rs.

Benefits for Instructors

  • Flexibility in customising content
  • Sharing
  • Ease of updating OER
  • Working together with students to create assignments 
  • Be sure that students can use and easily access an assigned textbook in a course

A presentation by Professor Rory McGreal, Athabasca University, Canada for the Technology-Enabled Learning Community of Practice Webinar in March 2020.

Subject Guide

Profile Photo
McKenzie Young

Benefits for Administrators and Policy Makers

David Wiley: The Financial Potentials of Open Educational Resources by educause. 

David Wiley is is Co-Founder and Chief Academic Officer of Lumen Learning. 

Creative Commons Attribution license (reuse allowed)

Content by Vancouver Community College Library is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License