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HHPS 3377 K-12 Drug Education


Open Educational Resources are educational materials and resources that are publicly accessible meaning that they are openly available for anyone to use and under some licenses to re-mix, improve and redistribute.

You may already be familiar with open access journals and books. These materials are not "free". Someone had to create them and costs were borne by some party. But the author or publisher licensed the content so that any member of the public may access it and possibly re-use or re-format it. 

OER is similar in that the individuals who create these resources are licensing the content so that it is publicly accessible and may be re-purposed by others for educational applications.

OER include:

  • Learning content: full courses, course material, content modules, learning objects, collections, and journals.
  • Tools: software to support the creation, delivery, use and improvement of open learning content including searching and organization of content, content and learning management systems, content development tools, and online learning communities.
  • Implementation resources: Intellectual property licenses to promote open publishing of materials, design-principles, and localization of content.

Thanks to Steven Bell at Temple University for creating the original version of this section and for making it available to all by using a Creative Commons license. 

OER is a movement in education that seeks to counter costly, commercially produced learning content, typically textbooks, with publicly accessible content that is licensed so that it can be freely distributed and shared. Here is an official definition from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development: 

Digital materials offered freely and openly for educators, students, and self-learners to use and reuse for teaching, learning, and research. OER includes learning content, software tools to develop, use, and distribute content, and implementation resources such as open licences.

Educators and learners as well as learning institutions are driving its development. OER provides an alternative to the rising costs of education. It alleviates the burden of student debt while providing opportunities to students who might not otherwise be able to afford or access materials. For example, in some countries like South Africa, many educators and learners are tapping into OER as the only source for textbooks.

OER provides an opportunity to try new ways of teaching and learning, many of which are more collaborative and participatory.  

Thanks to Steven Bell at Temple University for creating the original version of this section and for making it available to all by using a Creative Commons license. 

Educators across the K-16 spectrum are taking advantage of OER to (1) move away from traditional textbooks and (2) improve learning by introducing students to more varied and current learning content. In higher education, faculty are adopting OER as a way to save their students money but also increase the likelihood that students will acquire and read learning content. 

If you include free online courses, another type of learning content included in the definition of OER, almost any citizen of the planet who is taking advantage of a free online course, a Kahn Academy Video, an educational video - they are all using OER.

Who isn't using OER. Too often faculty at higher education institutions are not aware of the existence of OER. Academic librarians are joining forces to help create more awareness at their institutions.

Thanks to Steven Bell at Temple University for creating the original version of this section and for making it available to all by using a Creative Commons license. 

Creative Commons License Information

Creative Commons website

Licensing types include:

1. Attribution: In which a person using a work must give credit to its author.

  • BY

2. Attribution-Share Alike: If a person creates a derivative work under a Share Alike license, the derivative work must be shared under an identical license.

  • CC BY-SA

3. Attribution-Non-Commercial: In this case the original creator allows their work (and its derivatives) to be re-used for non commercial uses only.

  • CC BY-NC

4. Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike: The work may be tweaked, remixed, and built upon non-commercially as long as they credit you and license the new creation under identical terms.


5. Attribution-No Derivative Works: The work may be reproduced but no derivative works may be made from it.

  • CC BY-ND

6. Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs: The work may be downloaded and shared with others as long as you are credited. No changes can be made, though, and the work can't be used commercially.


Defining OER (The 5 Rs)

Open Educational Resources (OER) are only OER, if and only if they meet The 5 Rs of OER:

  • Retain
  • Reuse
  • Revise
  • Remix
  • Redistribute

This website will describe what all Five Rs mean.

What's the Difference?

Open Educational Resources (OER)Image result for OER

Open Educational Resources (OER) can be excellent primary and supplemental material. There are many resources available in the Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences, and STEM fields. Typically, these materials are free and can be accessed without requiring a login. 

There are many benefits to using OER such as no cost to students and immediate access to resources without waiting for a bookstore order to arrive. 

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), "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, 2017).

OER Commons
Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources
Open Textbook Library
Merlot II

MIT Open Coursware
Open Yale Courses

However, you must remember that OER are only OER because materials will follow the Five Rs of OER. If material cannot follow the rules of the the Five Rs, then it is NOT OER.

Open Access Resources 

Open Access Resources (OAR) are scholarly, peer-reviewed materials found openly on the Internet and can be identified by the symbol of an orange lock that is in an open position (pictured right). Please note that open access resources are NOT the same as public domain information and materials. Copyright is retained (unless public domain applies) and the resource itself cannot be altered, such as with OER. Open access materials can include images, peer-reviewed articles, videos, sound recordings, etc.    

Affordable Course Content  -- Ottenhiemer Library 

Affordable Course Content (ACC) indicates resources that are not free, but are affordable through fees. For instance, resources found through Ottenheimer Library are considered ACC because students pay for access to these resources through their student fees. 

There is a link to Ottenheimer Library's resources within Blackboard. The library has many online resources, including a plethora of journals, articles, ebooks, and videos that can be incorporated into the curriculum. If you need any assistance in finding material for your class, please contact a librarian at  

More about OER

Open Education Week

Open Education Consortium

Open Textbook Library – A component of Open Textbook Network

Creative Commons Education/OER

EDUCAUSE Library - Open Educational Resources (OER)

Open Education Resources at University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

Open Educational Resources at University of Maryland University Libraries

Open Educational Resources at University of Massachusetts, Amherst Libraries

OpenOregon Educational Resources - Oregon Statewide Education Library Resources

BCcampus OpenED

A Basic Guide to Open Educational Resources (OER) - UNESCO Commonwealth of Learning