Skip to Main Content

W. Frank Steely Library

Open Educational Resources (OERs)

Steely Library's guide to OERs at NKU, where you can find information on locating OER resources, grant opportunities, and more.

Open Educational Resources (OERs) are teaching, learning, or research resources that are offered freely to users in at least one form and that either reside in the public domain or have been released under an open copyright license that allows for its free use, reuse, modification, and sharing with attribution. Generally, copyright permission is granted by use of an open license (for example, Creative Commons licenses) which allows anyone to freely use, adapt and share the resource—anytime, anywhere. “Open” permissions are typically defined in terms of the “5R’s”: users are free to Retain, Reuse, Revise, Remix and Redistribute these educational materials. 

A closer look at the 5R activities:
Retain – make, own, and control a copy of the resource
Reuse – use your original, revised, or remixed copy of the resource publicly
Revise – edit, adapt, and modify your copy of the resource
Remix – combine your original or revised copy of the resource with other existing material to create something new
Redistribute – share copies of your original, revised, or remixed copy of the resource with others

Why Use OER?

  • Textbook costs should not be a barrier to education. The price of textbooks has skyrocketed more than three times the rate of inflation for decades. Using OER solves this problem because the material is free online, affordable in print, and can be saved forever. 
  • Students learn more when they have access to course materials. Studies show that 93% of students who use OER do as well or better than those using traditional materials, since they have easy access to the content starting day one of the course.
  • Combines the benefits of technology with the freedom of an open copyright license. Open Education ensures educators have more freedom while teaching and students have more agency while learning. Open textbooks can be adapted to incorporate local, current, and culturally relevant information and open pedagogies can encourage students to become knowledge creators, not simply information consumers.

Information adapted from Why Open Education by SPARC.

Adopt, Adapt, Create

Instructors interested in using OER can choose to Adopt, Adapt, or Create.

Adopt: Locate a preexisting OER and use it as is in a course.

Adapt: Locate one or more preexisting OER, combine or remix the content for your local context, and use in a course. 

Create: Author a completely new resource, assign it an open license, and make it available to use in a course.