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Vol State Teaching & Learning Center

Open Educational Resources (OER): Overview

Learn about open educational resources (OER). Resources to help you find OER.

What is OER?

Open Educational Resources

Open Educational Resources are "teaching, learning, and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise – that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions."  – UNESCO

OER includes full courses, textbooks, or any instructional materials including images, videos, or documents associated with teaching and learning. – CCOER

UN logo Open Educational Resources

5R Permissions – The Core of OER

The 5R permissions or activities are the core of open educational resources. These five legal permissions are:

  • Retain – the right to make, own, and control copies of the content (e.g., download, duplicate, store, and manage)
  • Reuse the right to 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 the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language)
  • Remix the right to combine the original or revised content with other material to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)
  • Redistribute the right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend)


"The 5R Permissions of OER" from Defining OER | Lumen Learning.

What is Vol State doing?

 Karen Hutson (team leader)and Jean Gorgie were awarded a 2022 OER Grant from TBR to redesign READ 0810. The team will eliminate the need for students to purchase textbooks for the course by using OER and other free materials.

Faculty at Vol State are adopting, adapting, and creating Open Educational Resources to use in their classes. 

OER Textbooks are used in 

  • CITC 1334
  • COMM 2045
  • SOCI 1010
  • SOCI 1040
  • PSYC 1030
  • PSYC 2130

OER materials are used by professors teaching Education, English, Mechatronics, and Theater courses.

Faculty are using free content or library resources to reduce the costs of learning materials for students.

The College is a member of these organizations that support open learning.

What are other colleges doing?

In this section are examples of how Higher Education promotes and uses OER.

Teaching & Learning Center Resources

Guides from the TLC to assist faculty.