VCU Libraries

Research Guides

Open Educational Resources

Questions? Contact the Open Educational Resources Librarian

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Jessica Kirschner
Contact:
kirschnerj2@vcu.edu
(804) 828-2105
Cabell Library, Room 121-U

General Resources

What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching/learning materials that are free to access (digitally) and have open licensing which allows for unrestricted use, retention, sharing, and editing. Anyone can create an OER, although many OERs originate from higher education institutions or open-focused publishers.

OER can be any type of teaching or learning materials, including textbooks, images, videos, slide decks, assessments, syllabi, and whole courses.

OER are always free digitally. They are often also available for print for the cost of printing, making print versions significantly cheaper than their commercial counterparts. For example, the 1272 page hardcover version of OpenStax College Physics is available for $48.50.

The open licensing, often in the form of a Creative Commons (CC) License, allow for unrestricted usages often referred to as the 5 Rs. The ability to:

Retain: Make, own, and control copies of the content

Reuse: Use the content in a variety of ways

Revise: Adapt, adjust, modify, improve, or alter the content

Remix: Combine the original or revised content with other OER to create something new

Redistribute: Share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others

Using OER

There are three ways to use OER: 

  1. Adopt existing resources without making changes. 
  2. Adapt or customize existing resources by adding, removing, combining, or editing content
  3. Author new resources. 

Learn more:

How do OER compare to their commercial counterparts?

More on the impact and efficacy of OER

Significant Studies