Ryerson University Library and Archives Home

Open Access Educational Resources Guide

A guide to material that can be freely used in your teaching.

Introduction to Open Educational Resources (OER)

What is an Open Educational Resource?

An Open Education Resource (OER) is a teaching resource that can be used and reused freely for educational purposes because the author(s) have freely released the work to the public for that purpose - usually using one of the six types of a Creative Commons licence.

 "The 5 Rs".

In order for a resource to qualify as Open Access, users should be able to

  • Reuse – use the content in a wide range of ways (e.g., in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video)
  • Revise – adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language)
  • Remix – combine the original or revised content with other open content to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)
  • Redistribute – share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend)
  • Retain – make, own, and control copies of the content

    (This material is based on original writing by David Wiley, which was published freely under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license at: http://opencontent.org/blog/archives/3221)

Open Access Educational Resources come in many forms, from images and media files that can be used in teaching to presentations, lecture notes, assignments, and free textbooks. This guide provides a list of high quality sources of Open Access Educational Resources organized by format. All of these OERs can be used freely for non-commercial purposes usually only with the condition that you cite or attribute the work. 

"Open Access Explained" credited to Piled Higher and Deeper (PHD Comics) Video licenced under a Youtube Creative Commons licence.

Video from teachonline.ca by http://contactnorth.ca is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Search for OER

George Mason University Libraries, in conjunction with Deep Web Technologies, has created an OER Metafinder that simultaneously searches across 16 open respositories.


Search: Mason OER Metafinder (MOM)



Sixteen Repositories Include:

  • American Memory Project
  • AMSER (Applied Math and Science Education Repository
  • BCCampus
  • College Open Textbooks
  • DPLA
  • DOAB
  • HathiTrust
  • Merlot.org
  • MIT OpenCourseware
  • OAOpen.org
  • OER Commons
  • OERs at Internet Archive
  • Open Textbook Library
  • OpenStax
  • Project Gutenberg
  • World Digital Library


Creative Commons License

This guide has been created by the Ryerson University Library and Archives and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution International 4.0 License unless otherwise marked.

Creative Commons Attribution License