Answered By: Victoria Peters
Last Updated: Nov 22, 2022     Views: 2

Open educational resources (OER) are openly-licensed, freely available educational materials that can be modified and redistributed by users. They can include any type of educational resource, from syllabi to full courses.

  • Openly-licensed
  • Freely Available: The resources must be freely available online with no fee to access. Physical OER may be sold at a low cost to facilitate printing.
  • Modifiable: The resource must be made available under an open license that allows for editing. Ideally, it should also be available in an editable format.[1]

The most comprehensive definition of OER available today is provided by the Hewlett Foundation:

“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.”[2]


  1. Although all OER are openly licensed, many are released in formats that do not easily allow for adaptation. 
  2. William & Flora Hewlett Foundation. "Open Educational Resources." Accessed June 15, 2019.