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Claremont Lincoln University

Open Educational Resources (OER): About OER

What Is OER?

What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?unlock

"Open educational resources (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. OER include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge" (Definition from


The 5Rs of Openness

An open license permits users of a resource to participate in the 5R activities of OER:

  • Retain: Make, own, and control your own copy of content
  • Reuse: Use the content as-is
  • Revise: Adapt, adjust, modify, improve, or alter the content
  • Remix: Combine the original or revised content with other OER to create something new
  • Redistribute: Share your copies of the original content, revisions, or remixes with others

Read more about defining “open” in OER.

Why Use OER?

Benefits for Students Fixing the Broken Textbook Market Report

Textbook costs have risen 82% since 2006, as a result, according to a 2014 survey of 2039 students at 156 campuses across 33 states -

  • 48%   take fewer or different classes
  • 65%   choose to not buy textbooks
  • 94%   report concern that grades affected

​- ​Using OER can provide tremendous cost savings for students as well as impact student success and completion rates. 

- OER provide students with day one access to free course materials.

Research reviewed by the Open Education Group shows that most students perform as well or better using OER course materials compared with students using traditional textbooks. 


Benefits for Faculty

- Faculty enjoy more freedom in selecting course materials, and can customize these materials to fit the specific needs of their students and goals of their classes. 

- OERs provide clearly defined rights to users, so faculty are not faced with interpreting Fair Use and TEACH Act guidelines.

Creative Commons License

What is a Creative Commons License?

  • The Creative Commons copyright licenses and tools forge a balance inside the traditional “all rights reserved” setting that copyright law creates. Our tools give everyone from individual creators to large companies and institutions a simple, standardized way to grant copyright permissions to their creative work. The combination of our tools and our users is a vast and growing digital commons, a pool of content that can be copied, distributed, edited, remixed, and built upon, all within the boundaries of copyright law. (taken from


The Licenses






















  • Why are OER important to students and faculty? 

OER materials are available to students on day 1 of class, avoiding delays due to financial difficulties, and enhancing student equity. Faculty determine their revision schedule, thereby avoiding publisher pressure to change editions. Students benefit from reduced textbook costs.

  • What is the quality of OER?

Textbook quality varies for both open and commercially published materials. Just as with selecting a commercially produced textbook, faculty must evaluate the quality of a particular OER.

  • Do faculty have to use OER?

No. Using OER is not a requirement for Claremont Lincoln Faculty, but faculty are encouraged to explore possibilities for open content that provide a more cost-effective alternative to the students.

  • Shouldn't I worry about "giving away" my intellectual property?

"It is becoming increasingly evident that, on the teaching and learning side, educational institutions that succeed are likely to do so predominantly by understanding that their real potential educational value lies not in content itself (which is increasingly available in large volumes online), but in their ability to guide students effectively through educational resources via well-designed teaching and learning pathways ..." Read more

  • Can I use OER with Canvas? 

​Many of the materials in Canvas Commons are OER. In this 9-minute video, SRJC Math faculty Dr. Jennifer Carlin-Goldberg shows how she uses Canvas Commons to import sample course shells with free OpenStax content produced by and aligned with the California Community Colleges Online Education Initiative's course design standards.