Finding Open Educational Resources (OER)

Finding Open Educational Resources (OER)


Per UNESCO, Open Educational Resources (OERs) are any type of educational materials in the public domain or introduced with an open license. As open materials, anyone can legally and freely copy, use, adapt and re-share them. OERs range from textbooks to curricula, syllabi, lecture notes, assignments, tests, projects, audio, video, and animation.


OER is a framework for providing high quality, no-strings-attached education resources that are free to use.


Definitively, OER must either be in the Public Domain or released with an open license, such as a Creative Commons license. The Open Washington group maintains the following web site with a convenient search guide:, with categories including (a) open textbooks, (b) open course materials, (c) open videos, and (d) open images. Instructions and screenshots of the process, visit is an excellent resource to find CC licensed videos. You can include a Creative Commons filter during a YouTube video search or look for license information in the “About” and “Show More” areas of the video’s description. If a video is CC licensed, it will say Creative Commons Attribution license (reuse allowed). If it is not CC licensed, it will say Standard YouTube license. If you want to use videos that are not openly licensed, you must obtain the proper permission from the author.


Popular sites such as YouTube and Google Video have significant amounts of copyrighted material. Always double-check that materials are truly CC-licensed, as some may upload content to YouTube and falsely claim it is theirs or covered by certain usage rights. On the internet the burden is on the user, so when in doubt, contact the creator or do a little more research.




“Creative Commons Wiki.” Creative Commons. Web. 10 July 2015. <>.

“How to Use Open Educational Resources (OER).” Instructor Training Registration. Washington Online. Web. 10 July 2015. <>.

“Keep the Internet Creative, Free and Open.” About The Licenses. Creative Commons. <>.

“Module 1: Introduction.” Open Washington. Open Educational Resources Network, n.d. Web. 10 July 2015. <>.

“What Are Open Educational Resources (OERs)?” Communication and Information. UNESCO, n.d. Web. 10 July 2015. <>.

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