Open Educational Resources (OER)

Funding is available to integrate open educational resources into your teaching. Learn more about the new OER Grant and Support Program and the OER Grant and Support Program for the Faculty of Law.

As textbook costs drastically outpace the rate of inflation, students and faculty are seeking affordable and accessible alternatives to traditional course materials. Through a culture of open sharing, OER have the potential to shift towards a more equitable approach to higher education.

There are significant benefits to adopt OER:

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

What are OER?

These resources are openly licensed teaching and learning materials. OER are freely available and created with the intent to use and reuse. These materials come 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

Affordable course readings

Western Libraries' course readings service primarily uses licensed library resources. This includes e-books, newspapers articles, case studies, and journal articles. To create an affordable reading list, instructors can include public-facing web resources, such as OER, copyright cleared materials, and fair dealing exemption guidelines.

Where to find OER textbooks and other materials

Resources and tools for creating OER

Contact Emily Carlisle-Johnston if you would like more information about OER.