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Open Educational Resources (OER)

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

Intro to OER, Copyright, and Open Licensing

What are open educational resources?

Readings & Other Resources

The Faculty OER Toolkit
Chapters 1 & 2 explain the basics of OER and discuss the different types of open resources.

Explanation of Open Licenses
A quick explanation of open licenses and their associated symbols. This will help you to understand what you can do with a resource, based on the licensing.

The 5 R's of Open
Understanding what you can do with a resource that is truly open.


The following readings define OER and provide information for those new to the concept.

Finding & Using Open Resources

Readings & Other Resources

Faculty OER Toolkit
Section 2 outlines the difference between adopting and adopting OER, as well as how to evaluate open resources that you find.

Faculty Guide for Evaluating Open Educational Resources
From BC Campus

Suggested OER Repositories

OER Commons


Open Textbook Library

Mass Community College Hub
A repository of OER created at Massachusetts Community Colleges, including STCC

Frequently Asked Questions about Open Educational Resources

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 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 Find OER page and for specific topics use the Subject Specific OER page. 

Who can help me find and use open educational resources?
Emily Butler, 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. 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, you (as a subject specialist) 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 many educational resources these days, most OER are "born digital." But just 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.