Open Educational Resources (OER)

Basics of OER

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.”  (William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, “Open Educational Resources“) OER materials can include: open textbooks, full courses, modules, syllabi, lectures, homework assignments, quizzes, lab activities, games, and simulations.

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

  • Retain — users have the right to make, archive, and own copies of the content
  • Reuse — content can be reused in its unaltered form
  • Revise — content can be adapted, adjusted, modified, and altered
  • Remix — original or revised content can be combined with other content to create something new
  • Redistribute — copies of the content can be shared with others in its original, revised or remixed form.

Finding OER

You can create OER through a variety of means. For instance, you can use an open textbook, or piece together chapters from a variety of open textbooks to create a product suitable for your needs. Or you can combine numerous open chapters with open access scholarly articles to achieve the same effect.

Finding Open Textbooks

Open textbooks are free, online learning materials with Creative Commons licenses.

For additional information about finding OER materials, including a list of OER repositories, click on the button below.

Finding OER

Evaluating OER

As faculty, you assess course materials using a set of criteria that reflects your  experience and personal knowledge of student needs. The process is the same with OER, but there are a few additional considerations. There are numerous suggestions and rubrics concerning the evaluation of OER. Some common themes include examining its relevance, accuracy, production quality, accessibility, interactivity, and licensing. For more information about how to evaluate each of those common themes, please click on the button below.

Evaluating OER

UHWO OER Committee

Formed in the Summer of 2017, the UHWO OER Committee is composed of librarians, instructional faculty, and staff. The committee’s primary goal is to increase awareness and adoption of high-quality OER materials, so that obtaining a college degree becomes a more affordable endeavor for our students. The committee can be contacted at

The committee hosts training workshops and administers annual awards. For more information about the committee’s work, please view the UHWO OER Committee webpage by clicking on the button below.


Additional Reading

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View this report about OER myths, which was published by the European Open Edu Policy Project.