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Open Educational Resources (OER)

Learn how to find and use OER materials in teaching and learning.


Jessica McCullough

Director of Research Support & Curricular Technology

Shain Library 222
Connecticut College
New London, CT 06320 | 860-439-2386


Ariela McCaffrey

Assistant Director of Research Support, Instruction and Outreach

SPARC Open Education Leadership Fellow 2019-20

Shain Library 226
Connecticut College
New London, CT 06320 | 860-439-2103

Learn More about OER

  • The use of copyright-free materials allows faculty to adapt content for very specific uses in their own courses. 
  • For students, OER provides significant cost savings (textbooks, research articles, and other materials).
  • Promotes academic freedom to modify or add content to your course.
  • Ability to create customized resources that include diverse voices and local examples of content.
  • Materials are free to access online and can be purchased in print at a low cost.
  • Materials are available on first day of class.
  • Resources are customizable and can be aligned with only what you need to know - no more skipping around chapters you don't need.

The 5 R's of Open Content

The Open Education movement is built around the 5 R's, a series of rights that instructors have over the open content they use in their classes:

  • 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. 
  • Redistribute​: The right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others

This material is based on original writing by David Wiley, which was published freely under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.

Not all of the free resources you use in class are OER.

OER are openly-licensed, freely available educational resources that can be modified and redistributed by users. 

  • Openly-licensed: Copyright is chosen from options available through Creative Commons and provide rights for reuse and modification. 
  • Freely Available: The resources must be freely available online with no fee to access. A true OER is free to access at all times, unless the resource is printed and must be bought for the price of materials.
  • Modifiable: The resource must be editable. This means that it must be licensed under an open license that allows for repurposing and remixing. 

Library materials are free for students and faculty to access, but they are not free for the University. 

Introduction to OER