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Open Educational Resources at Linn-Benton Community College

OER Basics

What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?

UNESCO describes OER as “any type of educational materials that are in the public domain or introduced with an open license” (2016). OER come in many shapes and forms. For instance, they might come as a full course with lesson plans, lecture notes, readings, assignments, videos, and tests, or they might be a single module, textbook, or syllabus. Regardless of the format of your OER, accessibility and open licensing are crucial.

While there is no definitive definition of open educational resources (OER), OER Commons’ definition is widely accepted,

Open Access

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that you may freely use and reuse at no cost. Unlike fixed, copyrighted resources, OER have been authored or created by an individual or organization that chooses to retain few, if any, ownership rights. In some cases, that means you can download a resource and share it with colleagues and students. In other cases, you may be able to download a resource, edit it in some way, and then re-post it as a remixed work. How do you know your options? OER often have a Creative Commons or GNU license to let you know how the material may be used, reused, adapted, and shared. (2015)

"Open Books Image" by Sami Kerzel is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Learn More at Open Oregon!

Why OER?

Open educational resources allow instructors to choose the materials best fitted to their students and courses without reinventing the wheel. Expensive publisher textbooks are not a sustainable option for students who cannot afford them. Textbook affordability efforts may include free (but not open) library and web resources, but OER have distinctive advantages because of open licenses that allow modification. Selecting quality OER and presenting them in accessible ways ensures that students are learning the information most relevant to the course. Over time, instructors can see a decrease in the amount of effort that curriculum development requires, as they are able to adapt materials for new instruction techniques or developments in the field of study. Here are some additional benefits of using OER:

  • Materials created and produced by educators and experts in the field
  • Diversifies curriculum
  • Reduces the cost of learning for students
  • Engages a wider community
  • Creates new partnerships
  • Materials are more flexible for diverse learners through universal design
  • Supports a learner centered approach
  • Increases digital literacy
  • Greater impact and visibility of professional work
  • Students can prepare for course ahead of time
  • Allows instructors to incorporate new research and best practices


Content for this guide was developed by Sami Kerzel and Michaela Willi Hooper

OER Savings Calculator

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Michaela Willi Hooper's picture
Michaela Willi Hooper
Albany Campus Library, WH-144

Table of Contents

Home - learn about OER

FAQ - Answers to frequently asked questions

Licenses - learn about open licensing

Find - find OER and see examples of OER

General OER Sites - find OER through general sites

Subject Specific OER Sites - find OER through subject specific sites

Review - learn how to review your OER

Attributions - learn how to attribute OER properly

Accessibility - learn how to make OER accessible

For Grant Recipients - a checklist of LBCC OER grant recipients