What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?

Open Education "...is the simple and powerful idea that the world’s knowledge is a public good and that technology in general and the Worldwide Web in particular provide an extraordinary opportunity for everyone to share, use, and reuse knowledge."
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

"Open educational resources (OERs) are free and openly licensed educational materials that can be used for teaching, learning, research, and other purposes." (Wikipedia article)

OER Definitions

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

"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]

OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development)

"digitised materials offered freely and openly for educators, students, and self-learners to use and reuse for teaching, learning, and research. OER includes learning content, software tools to develop, use, and distribute content, and implementation resources such as open licences."


"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."

The Cape Town Open Education Declaration

"[O]pen educational resources should be freely shared through open licences which facilitate use, revision, translation, improvement and sharing by anyone. Resources should be published in formats that facilitate both use and editing, and that accommodate a diversity of technical platforms. Whenever possible, they should also be available in formats that are accessible to people with disabilities and people who do not yet have access to the Internet."

Wikipedia (Open Educational Resources)

"Open educational resources (OER) are digital materials that can be re-used for teaching, learning, research and more, made available free through open licenses, which allow uses of the materials that would not be easily permitted under copyright alone."

The Wikieducator OER Handbook

"The term "Open Educational Resource(s)" (OER) refers to educational resources (lesson plans, quizzes, syllabi, instructional modules, simulations, etc.) that are freely available for use, reuse, adaptation, and sharing."

OER Commons

"Open Educational Resources are teaching and learning materials that you may freely use and reuse, without charge. OER often have a Creative Commons or GNU license that state specifically how the material may be used, reused, adapted, and shared."


Open copyright license required Right of access, adaptation, and republication Non-discriminatory (rights given to everyone, everywhere) Does not limit use or form (does not include NonCommercial limitations)
Hewlett Foundation Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png
OECD Check.png
UNESCO Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png
Cape Town Declaration Check.png Check.png Check.png
Wikipedia Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png
Wikieducator OER Handbook Check.png Check.png Check.png
OER Commons Check.png Check.png Check.png
This page is part of the OER Project. Back to the OER Portal >>