You may have heard the acronym OER, but what does it mean? OER is a relatively new term that has emerged to make education more open. OER is an acronym for “Open Educational Resources” and can be defined as resources such as textbooks, full courses, lesson plans, videos, tests, software, or any other tool, material or technique that supports access to knowledge. OER can be remixed and revised, making it possible for instructors to create customized resources that fit into a specific course. Students benefit as well since OER materials are available usually for little or no cost. Open Educational Resources are part of a range of processes employed by researchers and educators to broaden access to scholarly and creative conversations.

The Creative Commons definition of OER provides everyone with free permissions to engage in the 5R activities which include retaining, remixing, revising, reusing and redistributing resources.

  • 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 (for example, in a class, study group, website or in a video).
  • Revise– the right to adapt, adjust, modify or alter the content itself.
  • Remix– The right to combine the original or revised content with other material to create something new.
  • Redistribute– The right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (for example, give a copy to a friend).

In order to familiarize the Bellevue University faculty with OER, Reference/Instruction Librarian Lorraine Patrick has created a LibGuide which showcases open collections, as well as some of the teaching and student benefits when using Open Educational Resources. The LibGuide can be found by going to Once the LibGuide opens, users are taken to the OER Home page. Along the top of the LibGuide, there are 5 purple tabs. The Home tab, the Introduction tab, the Key Points tab, the Open Collections tab, and the Videos tab. Users can click on any of the purple tabs to navigate through the LibGuide. Once you navigate through the LibGuide, you will see that there are several open collections such as OpenStax, the Open Textbook Library, and the OER Commons, to name a few. We hope that you enjoy using the OER LibGuide. If you have any comments or suggestions regarding the LibGuide, please send an e-mail to Lorraine Patrick at

Originally posted in the Freeman/Lozier Library’s quarterly newsletter, More Than BooksV. 26 No. 2, Spring 2023

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