Open Educational Resources (OER): Instructor Guide

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 an Open Educational Resource, 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:

Open 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 by is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Search for OER

Connect OER

Connect OER is a platform to share and discover information about OER activities at campuses across North America. Use the tools below to search for institutions listed in the directory. Simply expand the menus to access search criteria and refine your results. Alternatively, click the buttons below to search by OER activities on campus.


SUNY (State Universities of New York) has developed a search tool that currently searches content from 98 different sources and contains over 350,000 records (as of January 2020). 

OER Metafinder

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


Search: Mason OER Metafinder (MOM)


This guide has been created by the Ryerson University Library and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution International 4.0 License unless otherwise marked.  Some changes have been made to adapt the guide for use by Trent University Library users.

Creative Commons Attribution License