Open Educational Resources (OER)

As textbook costs drastically outpace the rate of inflation students and faculty alike are seeking alternatives to traditional course materials that are affordable and accessible. OER has the potential to shift the dial toward a more equitable approach to higher education through a culture of open sharing.

There are significant benefits to adopting OER such as:

  • Reducing student costs
  • Democratizing access to course materials
  • Improving accessibility for students with perceptual disabilities
  • Allowing faculty and instructors to customize content to the course
  • Facilitating open teaching practices and improved learning outcomes

What are Open Educational Resources?

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that are openly licensed, freely available, and created with the intent to use and reuse. OER are available in a wide range of formats including textbooks, streaming media, course materials such as syllabi, tests, modules, digital content and more.

Foundational to OER creation are the 5Rs of Open which allow users to:

  • Retain: The right to make, own, and control copies of the content
  • Reuse: The right to use the content in a wide range of ways (e.g., in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video)
  • Revise: The right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language)
  • Remix: The right to combine the original or revised content with other open content to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)
  • Redistribute: The right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend)


Affordable Course Readings and E-Reserves

Western Libraries' course readings service primarily uses licenced library resources in the form of e-books, newspapers articles, case studies and journal articles, links to public-facing web resources like OERs and other resources, and copyright cleared materials, and fair dealing to organize an affordable reading list accessible in OWL.

Finding OER: Textbooks and OER Collections


Creating, Contributing, and Collaborating: Resources & Tools for OER


Assessing OER

The eCampus Ontario open library provides Curator, a guide for assessing open educational resources.


If you have any questions or would like more information about OER, contact Courtney Waugh,