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Open Educational Resources: Home

SCAD Library Resources

This guide is designed to introduce Open Educational Resources (OER) to the university community, but there are many more electronic resources available through the SCAD Libraries.  We offer licensed journals, databases, and ebooks to support all SCAD educational programs.  Although these resources do not allow for customization and re-use in the same way as OER, they are high quality resources that instructors can make available (at no cost) for SCAD students. 

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. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge." [1]

The Open Education movement is built around the 5Rs of Open [2]

  • Retain – the right to make, own, and control copies of the content
  • Reuse – the right to use the content in a wide range of ways
  • Revise – the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself 
  • Remix – the right to combine the original or revised content with other open content to create something new 
  • Redistribute – the right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others 


[1] Redden, M. (2011). 7 in 10 students have skipped buying a textbook because of its cost, survey finds. Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from 

[2] Wiley, D. (2014). The Access Compromise and the 5th R. Iterating Toward Openness. Retrieved from

OER are educational materials that are specifically designed by their creator/s to be openly available, and are often licensed to be re-used, re-mixed, and re-distributed.  Open is not just about low cost (though that is an important benefit of using OER) but about the ability to take what others have created, customize it for your specific educational needs, and then share your creation with others.  

OER can come in a variety of forms:

  • Primary sources - Images, video, and sound recordings.  Some  sources are in the public domain, while others have been licensed as open by their creators.   In addition, many texts that are in the public domain are available online/electronically.
  • Learning content - created content that ranges from individual lectures, animations, and assessments to complete courses and textbooks.  

The open resource movement has been around for a while, starting with static learning objects and transitioning to OER that allowed for revision and reuse.  The ever-increasing cost of textbooks and student materials has helped to drive the OER movement forward.  

A 2014 study reported that 65% of college students didn't purchase a textbook because it was too expensive [1]. Through OER, the cost of student materials can be drastically reduced and instructors can customize materials to meet the specific needs of the courses they teach. A multi-institutional study of 16,727 post-secondary students found that "in three key measures of student success—course completion, final grade of C- or higher, course grade – students whose faculty chose OER generally performed as well or better than students whose faculty assigned commercial textbooks" [2]. This study also concluded that students in courses using OER enrolled in a significantly higher number of credits in the following semester.


[1] Senack, E. (2014). Fixing the broken textbook market. US Public Interest Research Group, Student PIRG. Retrieved from 

[2] Fischer, L., Hilton, J., Robinson, T.J. et al. (2015). A multi-institutional study of the impact of open textbook adoption on the learning outcomes of post-secondary students. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 27(3), 159–172. Retrieved from

The availability of open educational resources is growing, and this guide is intended to help you to identify those that meet your needs.

  • The Finding OER section will help you navigate through various sources for open educational resources.
  • The Open Textbooks page will link you to repositories of open and free textbooks you can customize and adopt for your courses.
  • This guide also provides a list of resources for locating openly licensed images.

Ready to integrate OER into your teaching? Check out the open course linked below that will guide you through the discovery, use and reuse of open educational resources (OER) for teaching purposes in all sectors of education.

Understanding OER in 10 videos

Go to this video playlist on YouTube or watch all 10 videos straight through below.  

OER Timeline

Creative Commons License  Adapted from the  Open Educational Resources guide at Bizzell Memorial Library, University of Oklahoma and the Open Educational Resources guide at Central Michigan University Libraries..