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Open Educational Resources (OER)

What is OER and Why Should I Care?

What is OER?
OER stands for "Open Educational Resources."  Faculty who use OER in their courses are using freely available, open licensed educational resources in order to bring rising textbook costs down for students. OER can include textbooks, media, videos, articles, and more. 

What is Open Pedagogy?

Open pedagogy is a practice which uses the "5R activity" framework to design lessons and assessments that encourage students to improve or create course content. With open pedagogy projects, students are empowered to engage in information creation through non-disposable or renewable assignments. The student is both creator and contributor of assignments that are openly licensed, allowing the content to be shared, revised, and reused by future students in a course.

  1. Retain - the right to make, own, and control copies of the content (e.g., download, duplicate, store, and manage).
  2. Reuse - the right to use the content in a wide range of ways (e.g., in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video).
  3. Revise - the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language).
  4. Remix - the right to combine the original or revised content with other material to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup).
  5. Redistribute - the right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend).
    Adapted from "Austin Community College (ACC) Library Services Guide on Open Educational Resources" by Carrie Gits licensed under CC BY 4.0;

Create OER

Do you have texts, images, or videos you want to share? Consider releasing them as OER!

Open Educational Resources Network recommends the following steps:

Step 1: Terms of Use

Decide on the terms of use. Do you wish to release your work under Creative Commons license or in the public domain? Here is the difference between these two copyright terms:

  • By releasing your work under a Creative Commons license, you retain ownership while allowing others to use your work (as long as they attribute it to you) without needing to ask permission of you directly.
  • By releasing your work in the public domain, your copyright ownership is waived. It is as if you are GIVING your work to the public as a gift. Users may still cite you when adopting your work, but they are not required to do so.

Step 2: Seeking Copyright Clearance

Be sure that the work is eligible to be shared. In order to release your work with a CC license or in the public domain, your work should be cleared from all copyright issues. To do so, your work should be one or a combination of the following types:

  1. your original work,
  2. built from open resources,
  3. built from the public domain,
  4. built from copyrighted work that you obtained permission to use, or
  5. combination of above works

Note: For any third party materials, whether openly licensed or copyrighted, those materials need to be attributed as not governed by the CC license you chose for your work, but under different terms and by different authors.

If you must use any items that are copyrighted with all-rights reserved, be sure to obtain the permission letters from the authors.


Creative Commons licenses are non-revocable. This means that you cannot stop someone who has obtained your work under a Creative Commons license from using the work according to that license. You can stop offering your work under a Creative Commons license at any time you wish; but this will not affect the rights associated with any copies of your work already in circulation under a Creative Commons license.

To learn more about basic conditions that you should think about before you apply a Creative Commons license to your work, please visit the website CC Wiki: Considerations for licensors and licensees.

Step 3: Selecting a Repository

For Images

Consider Flickr or Wikimedia Commons. As you upload your image to these repositories, you will see the option to select the terms of use.

For Videos

Consider YouTube  or Vimeo. Here are instructions, If you need help in uploading a video to your YouTube account with a CC license.