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Open Education Guide: OER basics

This guide is designed to help the SPSCC community learn about Open Education. It will help faculty and staff find, create, evaluate, and incorporate open educational resources for instructional and training purposes.

What is OER?

Open Educational Resources logo

I want to know... what OER is and why it matters.

On this "OER basics" page: 

  • Learn what "OER" means
  • Watch videos about OER basics
  • Explore links to modules and tutorials to learn more about OER

OER is an educational movement

OER stands for "Open Educational Resources" and is linked to an educational movement that began 20+ years ago and has become a global educational movement. Faculty who use OER in their courses are using freely available, high-quality educational resources in order to bring textbook costs down for students. 

"Open educational resources (OER) are any resources available at little or no cost that can be used for teaching, learning, or research."

The term can include textbooks, course readings, and other learning content; simulations, games, and other learning applications; syllabi, quizzes, and assessment tools; and virtually any other material that can be used for educational purposes. [...] OER can originate from colleges and universities, libraries, archival organizations, government agencies, commercial organizations such as publishers, or faculty or other individuals who develop educational resources they are willing to share."

Text source:  "7 Things You Should Know About Open Educational Resources" by EDUCAUSE

Image source: "oer_logo_EN_1" by Breno Trautwein is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Learn more about OER

Videos about OER basics

Are you unexpectedly adopting OER while transitioning your instruction online? This "Getting started with OER" webinar (56 mins.) is designed for beginners. Don't have an hour to watch the webinar? Explore the slides, linked below. This webinar covers:

  • How OER is different from "free" resources
  • How Creative Commons (CC) licenses work
  • Where to find OER
  • How to incorporate open pedagogy into your instruction.

Video source: "Getting Started with OER" by Cheryl Cullier, University of Arizona, 2020, CC BY 4.0

In less than 2 minutes, watch this video produced in Washington state that explains the concept of OER and the 5 R's:

Are you considering incorporating open resources into your course to save students money and improve teaching and learning? Watch this 6-minute video for some tips for finding Open Educational Resources to build or add to your classes.

Video source:  "OER Basics" by Open Oregon is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Watch this short (2:22 minutes) animated video about open education and why it matters.


Except where otherwise noted, the content in this page has been adapted from Faculty/Staff Guide to Open Educational Resources by Tacoma Community College Library, which is licensed under CC BY SA 4.0