Open Educational Resources (OER)

Information and resources on Open Educational Resources (OER) available to faculty & students free of cost.

Frequently Asked Questions about Open Educational Resources

What are Open Educational Resources?
"Open Educational Resources (OERs) are any type of educational materials that are in the public domain or introduced with an open license. The nature of these open materials means that anyone can legally and freely copy, use, adapt and re-share them. OERs range from textbooks to curricula, syllabi, lecture notes, assignments, tests, projects, audio, video and animation." (UNESCO)

How do I know if something is an open resource?
Open Resources have been published with a creative commons license. If a resource is "open" it will be marked with a CC logo or will state "Creative Commons License." There are different layers of licensing or permissions that regulate how a resource can be used. They are very clearly explained on the Creative Commons website.

What is the difference between 'free' and 'open'?*
All open resources are free, but not all free resources are open. Information or intellectual property that is accessible without cost can still be protected by copyright. These resources may be accessed for free but they cannot be modified, adapted, or redistributed without express permission from the copyright holder. 

Where can I find Open Educational Resources for my class?
There are many different sites that have collected open educational resources to share with others. Many of them can be found on this guide. For general OER materials use the For Educators page and for specific topics use the Subject Specific OER page. 

Who can help me find and use Open Educational Resources?
Chelsea Contrada, the OER Librarian, can help you locate open resources and make sense of any licensing rules. She can be reached by phone, email, or in person. Her contact information is to the right. There are also some faculty on campus who are currently using OER and would be happy to share their experiences. See a list of faculty on the STCC OER Courses page.

While others can share their experiences and help you find OER, as a subject specialist, you will need to review the sources and decide if they are accurate and match the learning outcomes of your course.

Are all OER digital?*
Like most educational resources these days, most OER are "born" digital. But like traditional resources, they can be made available to students in both digital and printed formats. Of course, digital OER are easier to share, modify, and redistribute, but being digital is not what makes something an OER or not.

*These questions and answers were prepared by Doug Levin of EdTechStrategies.

OER Librarian

Chelsea Contrada's picture
Chelsea Contrada
Building 19, Room 221C