According to the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation:
“Open Educational Resources are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and repurposing by others. OER include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge.”
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: You can read about this in the Open Licenses and Your Rights tab.
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 (usually no more than $50).
Modifiable: The resource must be editable. This means that it must be licensed under an open license that allows for repurposing and remixing.
Examples of Non-OER
Free Web-Based Resources Under Traditional Copyright
Subscription-Based Library Collections
Open Access Articles & Monographs
*Library materials are free for students and faculty to access, but they are not free for the University.
**Some OA articles & monographs are able to be remixed, but authors often hold back these rights since their main concern is the free distribution of their scholarship, not its adaptation.
Open licenses like Creative Commons licenses are often used to communicate what a user can do with a resource, and what rights its author would like to retain. These licenses give others a variety of permissions, making their use or reuse of your resource a faster and more transparent process. For example, some creators may wish to share their work, but not to allow users to sell adaptations of their work.
The most common CC license is the Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY). This license allows users to adapt and reuse content with limited restrictions. The only requirement for reusing a CC BY-licensed work is that any new work created must provide attribution to the original creator and a link to the original work.