Open Education Resources for Faculty

OER tips, supplementary readings, rubrics for evaluation, CTL, how to location, listing of OERs and Learning Portal OER toolkit

Defining OER

Definition of OER:

An OER, according to The Learning Portal (2020), refers to any teaching and learning materials that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license such as a Creative Commons License which allows no-cost access, use, adaption and redistribution with no limit or limited access.

What Makes a Resource Open?

David Wiley’s 5 R’s of open education provides a good summary of how to answer this question:

  1. Retain – You are welcome to download and keep the materials whether you are an author, an instructor, or a student.
  2. Reuse – You are free to use materials in a wide variety of ways without expressly asking permission of the copyright holder.
  3. Revise – You can adapt, alter, or modify the content to suit specific purposes, such as educators who make the material more relevant to their students. You can also make the resource available in a number of different formats.
  4. Remix – You can pull together a number of different resources to create something new.
  5. Redistribute – You are free to share with others, so they can reuse, remix, improve upon, correct, or review the work.


From: The Learning Portal. (2020). About open educational resources. Retrieved from

From: Brock University. (2020). What makes a resource open? Retrieved from

This video defines what open educational resources (OER) are, provides reasons why they should be used in courses and explains what Creative Commons' Licenses are. One good reason to use OER is that there are often high costs associated with textbooks which has an impact on whether students can purchase them for academic programs.  If freely available OER are successfully used, they can remove the barriers and make textbooks more accessible for students when studying and preparing assignments.  It's important to note that OER can be syllabi, Powerpoint slides, quizzes, videos, textbooks and more. Lastly, OER are effective to use since they can be reused and adapted to suit curriculum.

Finding OER

There are many ways to find OER including open textbooks, courses, multimedia resources, syllabi, quizzes and more. They can be found by searching Google, but it is often more time efficient to find them through specific and well known OER repositories. Below are examples and recommendations of these repositories.  If you have any questions about locating OER using repositories, don't hesitate to contact Library Commons staff.

Evaluating OER

Not all OER are created equal; therefore, it's very important to evaluate them using criteria such as:

  • Content quality, comprehensiveness and accuracy
  • Format type
  • Alignment with learning objectives & outcomes
  • Currency
  • Authority of subject area
  • Quality of technological interactivity
  • Cultural relevance
  • Quality of instructional exercise
  • Assurance of accessibility standards

See the links below for more more detailed rubrics and accessibility guidelines on how to effectively evaluate OER.

From: The Learning Portal. (2020). Evaluating oer. Retrieved from

Resources for OER

These resources and key organizations such as UNESCO, BCcampus, eCampusontario and the Creative Commons, provide great information about all aspects of OER.  The toolkits and guides are particulary useful for practical and theoretical guidance on how to curate, create, evaluate and adapt OER.

The Relevance of OER

This video makes the important point the world and communication are evolving rapidly and that one new form of effective communication is open educational resources (OER).  OER are well defined as sustainable, relevant and freely available educational resources in the formats of course materials, textbooks, syllabi, videos and more.  OER help educators provide and keep up with rapidly evolving knowledge in the education landscape.

Our License for OER