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Library support for teaching & learning

For Subject Coordinators, Tutors and other teaching academics

Open Educational Resources (OER)

Open Educational Resources (OER) refers to any openly accessible teaching and learning material available online which you can adopt (re-use) or adapt to suit your teaching needs at no cost to you or your students. OER are available in different formats including: complete courses, course modules, textbooks, videos, podcasts, slides, images, infographics, question banks, assignment templates, software​ and more.

Some examples of different types of OER:

Our Liaison Librarians can work with you to help you identify relevant OER collections in your own subject area(s).

OA and OER

Open Access (OA) materials and OER are very similar. Both terms are used to describe content that is 'open'. The main distinction is that an OER is openly accessible and also openly licensed for re-use. These licenses (for example: Creative Commons) provide standardised and clearly worded 'pre-permissions' regarding an item's conditions of use. Being available under an open license means OER are free of many copyright restrictions and can be used in flexible ways.

Both OA and OER can help support lifelong learning and greater equity of access, as students can revisit these freely available materials throughout their careers.

Re-using OER

OER are useful options for teaching needs. They may help you fill gaps and save time by using existing materials to support specific content areas in your subject. You can use a whole resource or a specific section or chapter and have the option to customise the content depending on the license condition.

When re-using OER it is important to:

  • Use material from legitimate sources e.g. a video uploaded by an institution or individual creator to their official YouTube channel, or their authorised Flickr or Internet Archive collection page.
  • Read and follow any attribution and usage rules for a specific OER. Always check the item/site’s licensing or ‘terms of use’ page.

More information on licensing and copyright guidance for teaching staff.

Finding OER

The following search tools offer helpful ways of discovering OER relevant to your needs, whether you are looking for examples of whole courses/modules, specific item formats (such as a textbook or a video or an image) or simply wanting to browse available OER by a subject area or from a specific region.

Further guidance

Remember, our Liaison Librarians can work with you to help you identify OER collections of relevance to your subject area.

Contact a Liaison Librarian: