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Open Educational Resources (OERs) Toolkit: OER basics

What are OERs?

"Open Educational Resources (OERs) are any type of educational materials that are in the public domain or introduced with an open license. The nature of these open materials means that anyone can legally and freely copy, use, adapt and re-share them.OERs range from textbooks to curricula, syllabi, lecture notes, assignments, tests, projects, audio, video and animation." (UNESCO).            

OER is related to "textbook free" -- a textbook free course or degree may include OERs but often includes library and other reading materials, placed on reserve or uploaded to Canvas and used according to copyright and fair use guidelines. 

What's the difference between "free" and "open?" Open educational resources are licensed to be re-used, while free just means there is no paywall to access something.

OERs and library materials in Canvas

You can upload and use OERs in your Canvas courses. You can also share and find materials in Canvas Commons:

One easy way to reduce the cost of course texts for your students is to use library materials:

  • You can link to library eBooks and articles as well as Research Guides in Canvas.
  • See our Faculty Resource Guide for information about links in Canvas and Copyright & Fair Use policies.
  • If you would like a librarian to suggest materials or to help you select them as you plan your syllabus, please call the library at 603-206-8150 or email Deb Baker or Fran Keenan and we will be happy to help!

The 5 Rs

The  "5R's Framework" describes the ways OERs may be used, depending on the way they are licensed:

  • Retain: Users have the right to make, archive, and "own" copies of the content;
  • Reuse:  Content can be reused in its unaltered form;
  • Revise: Content can be adapted, adjusted, modified or altered;
  • Remix: The original or revised content can be combined with other content to create something new;
  • Redistribute: Copies of the content can be shared with others in its original, revised or remixed form.   

Creative Commons Licensing

Creative Commons Licenses are your guide to which of the 5rs you can apply to a particular resource. For example, you can't revise or remix anything with a ND license -- no derivative. Read this helpful wiki on the CC licenses to find out more about Creative Commons and OER.

"Creative Commons Licenses by Andi Roberts, CC BY-NC-SA"

Already adopted OERs? Let us know!

Please let library staff know if you have already used OERs or other cost-reducing measures in your courses, so we can help connect faculty OER users. If you need help with any of the options below, or anything else in this guide, please contact MCC Library!

How can MCC library best help you with OERs and cost-saving course materials?
Point me to OER textbooks.: 9 votes (56.25%)
Help me use tools to create my own OERs or course components.: 4 votes (25%)
Recommend library materials to use in my courses.: 3 votes (18.75%)
Work with my class to help students seek and use articles, books, and other reliable sources.: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 16

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