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Open Educational Resources (OER)

What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?

Open Education Resources (OER) are educational materials available for free use and adaption under an open sharing licence (eg. Creative Commons) or are free from copyright restrictions (i.e. the public domain) that can enrich the Deakin teaching and learning experience.

OER can be textbooks, teaching and learning materials, images, videos, games, lesson plans, worksheets and assessments.

What can I do with OER?

Open content is licensed in a way that grants users the permission to:



The right to make, own and control copies of the content



The right to use the content in a wide range of ways (e.g. in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video)



The right to adapt, adjust, modify or alter the content itself (e.g. translate the content into another language)



The right to combine the original or revised content with other open content to create something new (e.g. incorporate the content into a mashup)



The right to share copies of the original content, your revisions or your remixes with others (e.g. give a copy of the content to a friend)


This material is based on original writing by David Wiley, which was published freely under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence at: Defining the "Open" in Open Content and Open Educational Resources.

Understanding OER Video

For a more detailed explanation of what you can do with OER, view the video below (4:42).

Open Access and OER - What are the differences?

OER and Open Access content are both openly available but the ways that they can be used are very different. Open Access resources are free to read but usually don't have an open licence or have a restrictive licence so the content can't be altered or adapted. OER are free to use which goes further than free to read. OER can be used as the open licences of OER enable the 5Rs. Resources with appropriate open licences can be read, shared, adapted and revised to make new resources.  

For a summary of the differences, flip the cards:

Open Educational Resources
Codified knowledge useful for teaching, learning and stimulating discourse. Free access. Customization permitted. Varying Formats: Videos, software, textbooks,
Open Access
Scholarly works primarily created to document new knowledge and advance the scholarly conversation. Free public access. Formats: Scholarly books, scholarly journal articles


Adapted from  Differentiating Between Open Access and Open Educational Resources by Anita Walz. CC BY 4.0

What is not an OER?

Materials that are not free or openly licensed are not described as OER. For example, most subscriptions or books purchased by Deakin Library cannot be altered, remixed or redistributed.
Both OER and DRM-free books offer a great deal of flexible use for students at no additional cost.