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Open Educational Resources

Transforming Education with Free, Digital, and Adaptable Course Materials

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What are Open Educational Resources and why would you use them?

OER defined

Open Educational Resources (OER) 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)

No cost course materials

When the cost of course materials is prohibitive, the classroom is no longer equitable. In addition to being completely free to use and access, OER is available in digital format and can be printed and bound at low cost. See how OER has impacted Northwestern students.

Available on the first day of class

In a recent survey, 45% of Northwestern students reported trying to get by in their classes without purchasing the required textbook. Since OER doesn't need to be purchased or ordered, it can be embedded into your Canvas course and made available to students on day one. Learn how to find OER in your subject area.
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professor teaching

Completely adaptable and customizable to your course

Unlike commercial textbooks, OER can be adapted to suit your teaching context. You can remove, reorder, or rewrite chapters as needed. Librarians are available to assist with adaptation projects both large and small. Learn more about library services for customizing OER.

Promotes diversity and inclusion

The open licensing aspect of OER enables students to become contributors of knowledge rather than just consumers. Incorporating student voices into course material promotes diversity and inclusion, and provides opportunities for instructors to transform their teaching with open pedagogy. Learn more about open pedagogy.
globe and books

Provides opportunities to contribute to globally shared scholarship

OER published by Northwestern faculty and instructors will raise the quality of OER in all fields, and will give underrepresented areas such as the languages, humanities, and social sciences new content to be shared and used globally. See examples of OER created at Northwestern.

Get Started

girl studying outside

Find Existing OER

The easiest way to get started is to search for suitable OER within your discipline. There are a variety of search tools and resources to explore.

Find Existing OER

Create New OER

If you have an open textbook project in mind, we can work with you to develop custom course materials.

Create New OER

Open Pedagogy

Explore resources and ideas for transforming your teaching with open pedagogy.

Open Pedagogy

Examples from Northwestern

See examples of OER created and used by faculty and instructors at Northwestern.

Examples from Northwestern