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Open and Affordable Course Materials

About OERs

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 re-purposing 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.
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

The 5 Rs of Open

In order for a resource to qualify as an Open Educational Resources, users should be able to:

  • 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 open content 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)
  • Retain – make, own, and control copies of the content

    (This material is based on original writing by David Wiley, which was published freely under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license at: http://opencontent.org/blog/archives/3221)

OERs are often published using Creative Commons licenses.These licenses are a simple, standardized way for anyone to grant copyright permissions to their creative work.

Further Reading

Creative Commons License

This guide has been created by the Queen's University Library and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike 3.0 Unported license unless otherwise marked.  Sections of this guide have been adapted from the Open Access Educational Resources Guide at Ryerson University and the eCampus Ontario Open Library.