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Open Educational Resources

OER Defined


Open Educational Resources (OER) are "teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others."  

From The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

OER include learning materials such as: open textbooks | courses  | syllabi | lectures | assignments | quizzes | lab activities | games | simulations

Watch 'What is OER?'  [Link opens in a new tab]




OER Attributes

OER remove price and permission barriers to learning.

OER are largely born digital enabling sharing, copying, and distribution for near zero cost.

OER are openly licensed enabling legal reuse, remixing, revision, and redistribution of content.

OER and Open Access are distinct.

Benefits for Learners

For learners open educational resources:
Sewall Hall

  • Reduce the average annual cost of textbooks ($1,200-1,300.)
  • Reduce CU Boulder graduates average student loan debt ($27,405.)
  • Increase student success (Florida Virtual Campus) by removing student motivations to take fewer courses, illegally obtain content, or complete course without texts and content.
  • Provide  access to learning materials on the first day of learning.
  • Provide more equitable education for all.


Benefits for Educators

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For educators and scholars open educational resources: 

  • Encourage collaboration, growth, and sharing.
  • Provide freedom in selecting course materials.
  • Allow customization and localization of course materials to fit specific needs.
  • Give clear rights to adaptation, edit, reorder, delete, or remix content.
  • Provide freedom to align content with course structure and to remove constraints of predetermined presentation of a topic.
  • Encourage working with students in the development and creation of the OER.

OER Support at CU

Open educational resources address the high cost of educational materials and inspire a renewed approach to collaborative, social, and open pedagogical practices. The CU Boulder Librarians work alongside faculty, students, and staff to explore these potentials by supporting the adoption, adaptation, and creation of OER. 

Contact the CU Boulder OER Leads Caroline Sinkinson, Merinda McLure, and Melissa Cantrell.


Take the next step towards becoming an open educator:

Find: Explore some repositories or search tools based on your needs.

Evaluate: Review and evaluate the content.

Adapt: Consider adaptations.

Create: Consider creating your own OER.

Learn more: Explore additional OER learning materials.



Are you already using OER? Let us know through the CU OER Tracker.