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Open Educational Resources: Start Here

What are open educational resources?


Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research materials that reside in the public domain or have liberal license terms that allow free access, use, adaptation, and redistribution by others. OER exist in a variety of formats and may include textbooks, readings, videos, assessment tools, modules, or entire courses.


The most permissive OER licenses allow students and educators to:

Retain - make, own, and control copies of the content

Reuse - use the content in a wide variety of contexts (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 into a mashup) 

Redistribute - share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others

The 5 Rs of Openness by David Wiley is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 license.
Global OER Logo by Jonathas Mello is licensed under a CC BY 3.0 license.

Why OER?

Make College More Affordable

OER can provide substantial cost savings for students. A survey by the Public Research Interest Group found that 65% of students decided against buying a textbook because it was too expensive. Of those students, 94% were concerned that their decision would negatively impact their grades. When using OER, all students, regardless of their financial means, have access to course materials from day one. 

Tailor Materials to Your Course

Generous license terms for many OER allow faculty to adopt a work in whole or in part, remix materials, and add custom content. Unlike a static text, OER can be tailored to course syllabi, updated to reflect advances in knowledge, and modified for specific learners--all free of charge and without the need to seek copyright permissions.

Share Knowledge and Promote Social Justice

By creating and distributing our own OER, we have an opportunity to share the research and expertise of Lewis & Clark faculty with a worldwide community of learners and scholars--without pay walls.  


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Examples of OER

OER encompass a wide range of materials and formats. They can include primary sources as well as materials designed specifically for teaching and learning. Here are just a few examples of OER that represent some of their diversity.

The Sociological Cinema
A database of annotated videos and other media to teach and learn sociology.

Spanish Proficiency Exercises
From UT Austin, a series of video clips in which native speakers of Spanish of various nationalities demonstrate language tasks.

Spatial Thinking in Planning Practice: An Introduction to GIS
This textbook from Portland State University helps students acquire the technical skills of using software and managing a database, and develop research skills of collecting data, analyzing information and presenting results.