What does OER mean?

OER stands for open educational resources. OER are resources that are openly licensed which means they are both free to use, and open for revision without having to ask the original author for permission. OER are often used in zero textbook cost (ZTC) courses instead of traditional textbooks; this is one of the reasons a course may be designated ZTC as you are not be required to purchase an expensive textbook. 


When people refer to OER they are talking specifically about resources that permit one or all of what are known as the 5 R's: retain, reuse, revise, remix, or redistribute.


Here's what the 5 R's mean:

  • Retain:  Make, own, and control copies of the content (e.g., download, duplicate, store, and manage)
  • Reuse: Use the content in a wide range of ways (e.g., in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video)
  • Revise: Adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language)
  • Remix: Combine the original or revised content with other material to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup).
  • Redistribute: Share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend).

Check out this video for a brief overview of why open education matters:



Want to know more about what your instructors are doing with OER? Check out the faculty OER site for more information.

Video: OER Open Educational Resources by The Learning Portal / Le Portail d’Apprentissage, licensed CC BY 4.0