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Open Education Resources

This guide includes resources and information about Open Education and Open Educational Resources

What are OER?

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research resources are created with the intention of being freely available to users. OER may include, but are not limited to, textbooks, readings, multi-media files, software, assessment tools, and even entire courses. Most are covered by licenses that allow for reuse, adaptation, and sharing.

Video source: "What is OER?" by The Council of Chief State School Officers is licensed under CC BY 4.0

OER Myths

Common OER Myths compiled by Douglas College

The 5 R's or Openness

The 5 R's of Openness

The 5R framework was proposed by David Wiley. These five aspects are the main characteristics of 'open' content.5Rs of OER

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

Reuse: The right to use the content in a range of ways, such as in a class or study group, on a website, or in a video. 

Revise: The right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content (such as translate the content or update an edition).

Remix: The right to combine the original or revised content with other open content to create new content (such as incorporate content into a mashup). 

Redistribute: The right to share copies of the original content, a revised version, or a remix with others (such as share a copy with a friend or class). 

CC Attribution 4.0 license by David Wiley at:

Why OER?

Faculty & Instructor Benefits

  • Increases student retention by reducing costs and barriers to succeed
  • Assures academic freedom to modify or add content to your specifications
  • Extends one's academic profile
  • Provides more relevant and engaging materials for your students even after they graduate

Student Benefits

  • Low cost or free educational resources
  • Find and access, even before classes start and after classes end
  • More customized and relevant

"Benefits for faculty and students" is a modified derivative of the poster “BCOER” by BCcampus, licensed under CC BY 4.0
Image attribution: benefit by Vectors Market from the Noun Project


Why OER?

When a textbook is too expensive, it affects student success*:

  • 54% don’t purchase the required text
  • 30% earn a lower grade
  • 37% take fewer courses
  • 26% don’t register for a specific course
  • 17% drop or withdraw from a course


  • Perpetual access - never expires


  • Available in print or digital formats
  • Students can choose the best format for their needs
  • Can be used with screen readers or magnified


  • Textbooks
  • PowerPoint slides
  • Test banks
  • Activities


  • Easily updated when standards or curriculum changes


*Jhangiani, R.S., & Jhangiani, S. (2017). Investigating the perceptions, use, and impact of open textbooks: A survey of postsecondary students in British Columbia. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning.


"Open Educational Resources: What and Why" by Jason Hardwick is licensed under a Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 license.

Open Textbooks

An open textbook, a type of OER, is a textbook licensed under an open copyright license, and made available online to be freely used by students, teachers and members of the public. They are available for free as online versions, and as low-cost printed versions, should students opt for these (BCcampus, n.d.). 

Open textbooks are part of a larger movement called "Open Educational Resources" (OER). Open licenses allow instructors to adapt, remix, or customize existing open textbooks to maximize instructional content to meet their own learning objectives. Many open textbooks are developed through traditional peer review, others are vetted by experts.  As with any textbook, the instructor is the final judge of whether an open textbook meets the needs of the course.

About BCcampus

BCcampus was formed in 2012 to improve access to education for students across BC and the world. they advocate and provide access to learning opportunities about open pedagogy, supporting open access, and encouraging instructional design that is based on open licenses. BCcampus champions opportunities to improve learning materials and educational resources.

Research on OER

Additional Resources