About this Guide

This Open Education Resources (OER) guide gives an overview to the Open Education movement, resources, and how educators can use OER's effectively. "For too long, our educational systems have operated with a fundamental disconnect between practices left over from the analog world, and the vast potential of technology and the Internet to support more affordable, effective teaching and learning. The movement for Open Education seeks to close this gap." 

This guide is meant for educators and students from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. While it is meant to be introductory, it is not a complete overview of OER. For any questions, please contact Quetzalli Barrientos (OER Librarian). 

What are Open Education Resources (OER)?

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research materials--digital or print that are in the public domain or have been released under an open license that allows no-cost access, use adaptation, redistribution by others with limited or no restrictions. 

"Open" permissions are defined as the "5Rs": 

  • Retain 
  • Reuse
  • Revise
  • Remix
  • Redistribute

OER examples include: Syllabi, worksheets, open textbooks, lesson plans, etc. 

Are OER and OA (Open Access) the same thing? OA means that it is freely available, published digitally online, and has few restrictions on its use or reproduction (definition provided by the Open Access Publishing research guide at Harvard Countway Library)


Why it's important to use OER

OER is important to use because: 

  • Textbooks costs should not be a barrier for education
  • Students who use OER are most likely to do better in school
  • Technology holds the potential to improve learning and teaching
  • Better education=Better future 

The above is taken from SPARC: Open Education