Center for Advancing Teaching Excellence: Open Educational Resources (OER)

What is OER?

Benefits of OER

Example of OER

Open Educational Resources (OER)

SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) defines Open Educational Resources (OERs) as teaching, learning and research resources released under an open license that permits their free use and repurposing by others. OERs can be textbooks, full courses, lesson plans, videos, tests, software, or any other tool, material, or technique that supports access to knowledge (from: UT Libraries). Some examples of high-caliber, institutionally-based OER include MIT OpenCourseWare, Open Yale Courses, Coursera: Open SUNY, and Harvard Extension School Open Learning Initiative.

CATE encourages faculty to use OER whenever possible. This should be considered during the design phase of your course when you are considering what textbooks and other course materials to use. Using OER is a great way to increase student access by reducing financial barriers to education, especially with textbook costs continuing to rise. It allows instructors to choose from existing resources or, in many cases, customize existing content to fit specific course needs. Students can also be involved in selecting and creating content with OER, which increases their investment and engagement in the course.

Learn more about what OER is, what it can look like for your class, how it's supported in the UT community, and where to get help in the Faculty Guide to Use of Open Educational Resources (OER)UT Libraries also offer lots of helpful information including finding, selecting, remixing, and creating OER. They provide some details specifically for faculty and instructors on adopting and adapting existing OER as well as creating new OER.

Additionally, Penn State University has launched an expanded online publication service for openly licensed educational materials (authored by Penn State faculty). Explore their Repository of Open and Affordable Materials (ROAM).

Ready to get started?

Complete this online form to request that a librarian assist with a search for free or affordable alternatives to existing course materials or for new courses.

If you have questions or would like more information about OER please contact Ashley Morrison, Tocker Open Education Librarian, at