Open Educational Resources

What is an OER?

Open Educational Resources (OER) are free, openly-licensed digital materials that instructors can find online from reputable, often peer-reviewed, collections to use in their teaching. Depending on the kind of license the material is given by the author, instructors can use these materials in whole or in part, or modify and curate a customized collection.

OER materials include textbooks, course materials, journal articles, podcasts, videos, data sets, and more. OER are generally part of the public domain or licensed using a Creative Commons or other open license. As long as the expressed license for an OER allows a certain kind of use, the user does not need to seek permission to use it for that purpose.

How is WWU supporting OER?

The Center for Instructional Innovation and Assessment (CIIA) at Western has curated an OER Toolkit as part of this Teaching Handbook that offers step-by-step advice to those looking to get started using OER materials.

Western’s OER website provides the big picture of the progress WWU is making with open educational resources, and Western Libraries offers excellent resources related to copyright and open licensing.

What are some ways to use OER materials?

Beyond what they are and how to find them, it can be useful to see examples of how others have used OER materials in the practice of their teaching.