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Open Educational Resources (OER)

Faculty Guide to Open Educational Resources

Are Open Access and OER the same thing?

Open Access (OA) and OER are related, but different!

At this moment, there is overlap between the two, but this may change!

  • OA (Open Access) refers to online content such as scholarly books, textbooks, and journals that can be accessed free of charge
  • Sometimes authors or educational institutions must pay an Article Processing Charge (APC) to a publisher to make an article Open Access. Sometimes articles are "embargoed" for a while before they become Open Access. You can see examples of this with resources like SpringerOpen and Proquest Open Access Publishing Plus.
  • There are varying opinions about the definition of Open Access. Some agree that it means for one to freely access and read open access content without modification rights, while in others open access grants ability to remix and revise the content. However, OA usually doesn't include modification rights.
  • Regardless, these types of resources should be identified by a Creative Commons license in order to qualify as Open Access

Open Access Resources: click the tabs below for journals, books, or textbooks


OpenCourseWare (OCW), initially developed by MIT in 2001 is an initiative to share their course content for free and online to everyone, not just MIT students. This movement has grown and is now offered from a number of other learning institutions. Listed here are several, but not all, institutions that offer OCW.

The Courses in this section are not necessarily "true" OER, and some of them might contain contain features with a paywall--  but they all have at least some free content that may be useful with your teaching. If you are seeking "true" OER courses that you can modify, redistribute, and own the licenses to, check out Cool4Ed and OER Commons on the "Where to Find OER" tab of this guide. 

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