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Open Education Practices

Learn how Open Educational Resources (OERs), Open Scholarship, and Open Pedagogy benefit faculty, students, and the wider community.

What are Open Education Resources?

The term "open educational resources" (OERs) describes any content published in tangible format that is licensed by the creator to provide all users with free and perpetual permission to use that content for engaging in the 5R activities (listed below), typically utilizing a Creative Commons license.

The 5 Rs:

  1. Retain - make, own, and control a copy of the resource (e.g., download and keep your own copy)
  2. Revise - edit, adapt, and modify your copy of the resource (e.g., translate into another language)
  3. Remix - combine your original or revised copy of the resource with other existing material to create something new (e.g., make a mashup)
  4. Reuse - use your original, revised, or remixed copy of the resource publicly (e.g., on a website, in a presentation, in a class)
  5. Redistribute - share copies of your original, revised, or remixed copy of the resource with others (e.g., post a copy online or give one to a friend)

The Five Rs of OERs.

Attribution: Future Success Through Backwards Design by Gabby Hernandez is licensed under CC BY 4.0 and depicted here with a modified title: The Five Rs of OERs.

Is this the same as Open Access?

Although you have the right to retain Open Access journal articles or eBooks, and in certain cases redistribute them, you cannot revise, remix, or reuse them, so they are not considered OERs.

Open Source software are also not typically considered OERs because they aren't pedagogical in nature, although they are released with the same type of 5R rights.

Why Open Education Resources?

In the Winter 2022 issue of the publication Liberal Education, the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) published a concise infographic / overview of the latest research into the impact of OER. The AAC&U recommends that: 

"All types of higher education institutions should consider OER as a quality, equity, and affordability strategy as they seek to bolster their student success efforts. Effective OER initiatives do not need to be massive, resource-intensive, or exhaustive."

Traditional Textbooks vs. Open Education Resources

According to a 2022 textbook survey in Florida, 2.6 of required textbooks are purchased but never used [PDF].