About Open Educational Resources

What are OER?

Have you ever found something from the internet that could be a perfect resource (image, video, quiz, etc.) for your course, and you spent hours trying to figure out the copyright issues with that resource? You couldn’t find any Terms of Use, and there was no author information, so you didn’t know who to contact to get the permission? 

Wouldn’t it have been nice if that resource somehow said “I’m free to use, no strings attached, you don’t need to ask for my permission because it is already granted”? 

Open educational resources are an answer to that need. 

There are millions of educational resources out there that are available for others to freely use.

OER: A Definition

Open educational resources (OER) are educational materials that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others 
(definition by Hewlett Foundation).

To put it another way, OER can be identified by the following:

  • Format: materials in any medium, digital or otherwise
  • Conditions: that either
    • reside in the public domain or
    • have been released under an open license,
  • Nature: permit free use and re-purposing by others.


An essential component of OER is the user's active engagement with materials. This process involves: 

  • using and adapting others’ materials for your own use;
  • sharing back modifications to or comments about others’ materials so that future users can benefit;
  • and, sharing materials that you have created, either individually or in groups with other teachers and/or learners.

Examples of OER

Examples of OER

About Educational Resources is adapted from "Learn OER" by Open Washington available under CC BY 4.0