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Open Educational Resources


We hope you find this guide helpful in learning more about all the tools and resources available (including local ones from the Claire T. Carney Library, Law Library, Instructional Development, and the Visual Resource Center) for OER as well as the pros and cons of using OER sources.  

Thank you to UMass Amherst Library for permission to use and modify their OER guide. 


MA OER Initiatives

Quick Guide

What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?

Open Educational Resources are educational materials and resources offered freely and openly for anyone to use and under some licenses to re-mix, improve and redistribute.They include:

  • Learning content: full courses, course material, content modules, learning objects, collections, and journals.
  • Tools: software to support the creation, delivery, use and improvement of open learning content including searching and organization of content, content and learning management systems, content development tools, and online learning communities.
  • Implementation resources: Intellectual property licenses to promote open publishing of materials, design-principles, and localization of content.

Why OER?

Educators and learners as well as learning institutions are driving its development. OER provides an alternative to the rising costs of education. For example, in some countries like South Africa, many educators and learners are tapping into OER as the only source for textbooks. OER provides an opportunity to try new ways of teaching and learning, many of which are more collaborative and participatory.

Benefits of OER

  1. Increased Student Retention (Zao, Satyanarayana, and Cooney 2020)
  2. Improved Student Performance (Colvard, Watson, et al. 2018)
  3. Increased diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (Lapum, Bailey, et al 2022)
  4. Affordability (NBC's review of Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data)
  5. Faculty can customize course materials to their preferences and needs of the course (see permissions of (Creative Commons Licenses)
  6. Students maintain access to their materials beyond the class instead of renting or licensing temporarily