Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Open Educational Resources: Home

OER banner

Open Educational Resources (OER) are freely accessible teaching, learning, and research materials in any format that are in the public domain or are available under an open license that allows their free use and re-purposing by others.


The term open educational resources (OER) was first introduced at a conference hosted by UNESCO in 2000 and was endorsed in the context of providing free access to educational resources on a global scale.

OER include a varied range of materials: books, case studies, courses, journals, primary sources, assessments, assignments, reference materials, tutorials, tests, and more.

Users can:

  • Retain

  • Reuse

  • Revise

  • Remix

  • Redistribute


The 5 R's - Source

Use OER to provide an affordable, accessible, and engaging learning experience.

... Access, Equity and Pedagogy 


  • Students, staff and everyone anywhere can access OER at any time for free
  • OERs can supplement textbooks and lectures where deficiencies in information are apparent
  • OER has demonstrated an increase in student learning while removing barriers of accessibility and affordability
  • Persistent availability of resources 
  • Academics/users can customize/adapt to their context/needs
  • Fast availability of material may increase the timeliness and relevance of the material being presented
  • Reduces inequality to education

Challenges in using OER


  • Quality Assurance

OER release should be subject to ongoing Quality Assurance process which is transparent and fair, however this is not always the case.

  • Sustainability

Without preservation of these often one-time start-up OER projects, the initial funding will end after a few years and sustaining the resources will be expensive, the resources may become outdated and the quality gone.

  • Lack of understanding about OER

Many do not understand the potential of OER and feel that it threatens their ownership of intellectual property. Also, it takes time to creat and/or locate existing OER.

Open Licenses


When it comes to OER the most typical open licenses used are Creative Commons Licenses.

Generally speaking, an open license grants permission to access, re-use and redistribute a work with few or no restrictions.

See: How to Choose an Open Licence and The National Forum Open Licensing Toolkit

The toolkit provides a detailed description of Creative Commons (CC) licenses, as well as a four-step guide to choosing, creating and adding CC licences to resources to make them OER.

Resources to get you started


BC campus

Use open technologies to facilitate, evaluate, and create open educational resources to share

Explore, create, and collaborate with educators around the world to improve curriculum using this public digital library of open educational resources.

862 Open Textbooks

Textbooks in the Open Textbook Library are considered open because they are free to use and distribute, and are licensed to be freely adapted or changed with proper attribution.


Learn Without Limits

Build skills with courses, certificates, and degrees online from world-class universities and companies.


  Free Online Course

  What is open learning and why OER?

Galway 091-742785 | CCAM 091-745409 | Mayo 094-9043146 | Letterfrack 091-742666 |