“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 repurposing 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.” Source: Open Educational Resources, William & Flora Hewlett Foundation
1) Truly open - free resources that can be used in whole or part. These may be public domain (copyright free) or have a CC (Creative Commons) copyright license that allows open use, including copying, modifying, use in course packs, etc.
2) Free to use with restrictions - there are several levels of Creative Commons copyright permissions, some of which require that the resource be kept whole (not modified or remixed), include attribution, and/or include a link back to the source. TED Talks are an example of this. Always read the site's usage policy.
3) Low cost to the student - this includes library resources or other materials paid for by the institution and "OER" textbooks on a paid platform. Some institutions provide OER textbooks and subsidized printing, so they are free as e-books and low cost as hard copies for students. Library materials under copyright may or may not already be licensed for classroom use; fair use guidelines may apply.
1) Adopt - use an existing open textbook or other OER without making changes.
2) Adapt - modify an open resource or mix parts of several existing open resources.
3) Create - author your own textbook or other resource, and make it open.
The Open Education movement is built around the 5Rs of Openness:
This guide includes content adapted with permission from Sharon Fox, Library Instruction Professor, St. Louis Community College, March 5, 2019.