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Open Educational Resources: Overview

Resources for locating Open Educational Resources for Educators and Librarians

Textbooks on shelf

Open textbooks are materials that are freely available, usually through a Creative Commons license, to download, modify, and print in various formats.

Why should faculty adopt an open textbook?

  • Open textbooks are more affordable than commercially available textbooks and enable student education budgets to stretch further, giving students greater flexibility in their education choices.
  • Faculty can readily customize open textbooks to better meet their local teaching and learning needs.
  • Open textbooks provide pricing, flexibility and customization advantages that commercially available textbooks currently do not provide.
  • Open textbooks can be remixed to reflect diverse student populations which can lead to higher engagement with content.

Difference Between OER and Open Access

OA: Open Access - Free, permanent, full-text, online access to scientific and scholarly works. Focuses on sharing content, with no underlying licensing requirement

OER: Open Educational Resources - Openly licensed educational content,  includes any educational content that is shared under an open license, and can  be reused and remixed.  Source: University of Michigan OER Toolkit.

Open Access vs Open Educational Resources

OER Intros

Open Educational Resources (OER) Defined

Open Educational Resources (OER) are "teaching, learning and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise – that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions.."  From The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

OER materials are released under an open license granting permission for everyone to:

Reuse, revise, remix, redistribute retain - 5 R's of OER

5Rs image by David Wiley, Lumen Learning, licensed under CC BY 4.0

OER include digital learning materials such as:

  • Open textbooks, full courses, modules, syllabi, lectures, homework assignments, quizzes, lab activities, games, and simulations.

An Introduction to Open Educational Resources

Student Perspectives


For More Information Contact


“Open Educational Resource LibGuide” by Rachel Becker and Madison Area Technical College Libraries is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 International license.