This guide provides information for all faculty, instructors, adjuncts, TAs, and researchers regarding Open Educational Resources (OER), open licensing, and other issues pertinent to free educational materials for all teaching staff, researchers, and students.
The information here is intended to provide all teaching staff on the University of Memphis campus a basic understanding of Open Education Resources. With this information and the available tools and training, faculty and instructors will ideally move from the basics of OER concepts to the discovery and implementation of OER materials into their courses.
Just need the basics to get started? Download our Quick Start guide.
UNESCO defines Open Educational Resources (OER) as “teaching, learning and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise – that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions."
Key to this definition is that OER are educational materials ("teaching, learning, and research materials") that are free ("no-cost') for anyone to use and change ("access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions"), which can be done because they are made open ("reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license").
OER has a lot of similarities with Open Access (OA) publishing and affordable educational resources. OER separate themselves with their focus on both cost and adaptability for teaching & learning materials.
The 5 Rs of OER define the types of permissions you should have when working with OER and that you should give to others if you create your own OER. These permissions are usually granted through an open license such as those from Creative Commons.
"5 Rs of OER" by SUNY OER Services is used under a CC BY 4.0 license. Its contents were adapted from "Defining the 'Open' in Open Content and Open Educational Resources," which was originally written by David Wiley and published freely under a CC BY 4.0 license.
Using and creating OER can greatly benefit your students, but it also requires different work than identifying and using more traditional educational materials. Making sure that work is credited in your evaluation, promotion, and tenure documents is important to help sustain your OER commitment.
DOERS3 has put together an advisory tenure and promotion matrix to help you think through how to present your OER work as research, teaching, and service. The matrix is designed to be used to help you interpret where different work relating to OER fits into your departmental promotion and tenure guidelines.
This guide was created by Dr. Meredith Heath Boulden on behalf of the University of Memphis Libraries and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise noted. This guide is currently maintained by Carl Hess.