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OER: Open Educational Resources & Textbook Alternatives

What are OER?

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation provides the following definition of open educational resources:

“OER 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 re-purposing by others. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge.”

The key distinguishing factor is the copyright status of the material. If course content is copyrighted under traditional, all-rights-reserved copyright, then it’s not OER. If it resides in the public domain, or carries Creative Commons or similar open copyright status, then it is OER.

Getting Started with OER

Learn about OER and test your knowledge with these self-paced courses.

A great place to get started with OER is to take this six part course of study, which will take you from basic concepts to through licensing & promotion. We recommend taking the first two modules if you are interested in adopting existing OER material, and all modules, if you think you may wish to edit existing materials or create your own OER. 

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