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Finding Open Educational Resources (OER)

This guide has been created to provide UAA and APU faculty members with assistance in finding OER.

In This Guide

Is it an OER?

"Open educational resources (OER) are freely accessible, openly licensed documents and media that are useful for teaching, learning, and assessing as well as for research purposes." (Wikipedia).

In order for a resource to be considered open, permissions must allow you to do all of the following (often called the 5 Rs):

  • Retain a copy
  • Reuse the content
  • Revise or modify
  • Remix or combine parts from various sources into one
  • Redistribute the original and your revision/remix

The most common way for permissions to be stated is using a Creative Commons license. If you are not familiar with Creative Commons licenses, please take a few minutes to learn more about them. You may also find this more in-depth self-guided training on Copyright, Creative Commons, and Fair Use helpful.

Image placing Creative Commons licensing on a continuum of more freedom to less freedom (public domain, CC-BY, CC-BY/SA, CC-BY/NC, CC-BY/NC/SA, CC-BY/ND, CC-BY/NC/ND; the latter 2 are not OER)

(Image by Cable Green.)

Simply having a Creative Commons license does not make something a fully open resource. ND stands for No Derivatives, meaning the work cannot be modified or remixed. Since the option to revise or remix is a key aspect of an open resource, sources with an ND restriction are not fully open. You are still free to use the work as-is if that works for you and your course!

You may find the following guide useful in understand what you can and can't do with a work based on the license it carries. (Click on the image to access the full document.)

Guide to Creative Commons Licenses for OER

What About Library Resources?

Though the Consortium Library's online resources are typically not OER, UAA and APU students can access them for free. If your goal is to ensure your students access to materials and you can't find what you need in an open format, you may wish to link to a resource available through the library.

Would you like help searching for library materials that fulfill your need? Ask a Librarian.

Found what you need but need some assistance linking it correctly in your course? View the guide on Incorporating Library Content in Courseware & Websites.

Contact Me

Profile Photo
D'Arcy Hutchings
Instructional Design Librarian,
Associate Professor

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License

This work by D'Arcy Hutchings is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

You may reproduce, reuse, or remix any part of it for noncommercial purposes as long as credit is included. We encourage you to license your derivative works under Creative Commons as well to encourage sharing and reuse of educational materials. Note that linked content is covered by its own licenses.

Some content borrowed from Taking OER Mainstream, a presentation by Cable Green, licensed under CC-BY 4.0.