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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.)
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.
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)
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 of OER
Significant savings on textbooks
Course materials are accessible
Materials are available before and after a course
Addresses barriers to student success, completion, and learning
Course content can be customised, updated, and shared
Wide variety of materials are available, including textbooks, videos, slides, test banks, and activities
Students can participate in creating course assignments and syllabi
Steps to Using OER
Set aside time: Searching for OER takes time & persistence, just like research.
Look at your current text: Is your current textbook available through the library databases?
Locate an OER text: Check to see if a whole OER textbook already exists for your course.
Browse open repositories: Browse several repositories to see what content is available
Supplement: Look at your learning objectives and find different materials for different topics.
Ask for help: Call a librarian to get help. You can do this at anytime!
Six Steps to OER" by Northwestern Michigan College (NMC) Librarians, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license / Modified text from original by Lesley University Library.
Content by Vancouver Community College Library is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License