OER are educational materials that are specifically designed by their creator/s to be openly available, and are often licensed to be re-used, re-mixed, and re-distributed. Open is not just about low cost (though that is an important benefit of using OER) but about the ability to take what others have created, customize it for your specific educational needs, and then share your creation with others.
OER can come in a variety of forms:
- Primary sources - Images, video, and sound recordings. Some sources are in the public domain, while others have been licensed as open by their creators. In addition, many texts that are in the public domain are available online/electronically.
- Learning content - created content that ranges from individual lectures, animations, and assessments to complete courses and textbooks.
The OER Starter Kit from the Iowa State University Press provides an overview of what OER are, copyright implications of them, and finding and using OER for your own teaching.
SPECIAL NOTE: This guide is designed to introduce OER to the university community, but don't forget that there are additional electronic resources available to you through the CMU Libraries. We offer licensed journals, databases, and ebooks to support CMU programs. Although these resources do not allow for customization and re-use in the same way as OER, they are resources that you can make available at no cost for your students.