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Open Educational Resources

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Open Educational Resources (OER) are freely accessible teaching, learning, and research materials in any format that are in the public domain or are available under an open license that allows their free use and re-purposing by others.


The term open educational resources (OER) was first introduced at a conference hosted by UNESCO in 2000 and was endorsed in the context of providing free access to educational resources on a global scale.

OER include a varied range of materials: books, case studies, courses, journals, primary sources, assessments, assignments, reference materials, tutorials, tests, and more.

Users can:

5 R's

The 5 R's - Source

Use OER to provide an affordable, accessible, and engaging learning experience.

... Access, Equity and Pedagogy.

Use OER instead of commercial textbooks if it’s pedagogically fitting.



  • Students, staff and everyone anywhere can access OER at any time for free
  • OERs can supplement textbooks and lectures where deficiencies in information are apparent
  • OER has demonstrated an increase in student learning while removing barriers of accessibility and affordability
  • Develop digital literacies
  • Open for addressing diversity and inclusion
  • Persistent availability of resources 
  • Academics/users can customize/adapt to their context/needs
  • Fast availability of material may increase the timeliness and relevance of the material being presented
  • Reduces inequality to education - supports Sustainable Development Goal 4

Challenges in using OER


  • Quality Assurance

OER release should be subject to ongoing Quality Assurance process which is transparent and fair, however this is not always the case.

  • Sustainability

Without preservation of these often one-time start-up OER projects, the initial funding will end after a few years and sustaining the resources will be expensive, the resources may become outdated and the quality gone.

  • Lack of understanding about OER

Many do not understand the potential of OER and feel that it threatens their ownership of intellectual property. Also, it takes time to creat and/or locate existing OER.

OER Commons

Explore, create, and collaborate with educators around the world to improve curriculum using this public digital library of open educational resources.


A search index for Open Educational Resources in higher education. OERSI connects OER repositories of distributed state initiatives, institutional repositories of universities and libraries, and subject-specialized repositories for OER.

Open Library contains information about books. Internet Archive hosts a collection of digitized books. Open Library’s universal catalog provides links to discover, borrow, and read from the Internet Archive’s collections.


Learn Without Limits

Build skills with courses, certificates, and degrees online from world-class universities and companies.

Open Textbook Library

Textbooks in the Open Textbook Library are considered open because they are free to use and distribute, and are licensed to be freely adapted or changed with proper attribution.

BC Campus

Use open technologies to facilitate, evaluate, and create open educational resources to share.

Checkout your subject or discipline.

Resources to get you Started

  • Using OER and OEP for Teaching and Learning - The National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
  • OER TOOLKIT -  The toolkit provides information and tools to understand, engage with, and sustain OER in practice.
  • ENOEL - Resources for Librarians & Open Education Enthusiasts


Finding OER on Google

Use the Advanced Search option in Google to look for OER.

Scroll down to 'Usage Rights' and select Free to use, share or modify, even commercially

There is no central repository for OER, here's some key resources: 

Making the discovery of open content easier:

Finding Open Images

Finding Open Audio


Finding Open Videos

  • Internet Archive: Movies - 3 million videos archived by the Internet Archive. Check individual collections and movies for copyright status.
  • YouTube - Run a search, click the Filter box at the top of your results list, in the Features column, select Creative Commons.

Free Courses

Use this OER treasure hunt to help you when you start your journey to identify, curate and implement OER in your practice.