Open Scholarship at Whitworth

A guide explaining the basic of open access, open educational resources, and open publishing, for students and faculty.

Open Educational resources (OER) are free and openly licensed educational materials that can be used for teaching, learning, research, and other purposes.

Open Licensing

What does it mean to be an openly licensed educational material? Textbooks, lesson plans, workbooks, presentations, and other course items can all be OER so long as the author allows the following when distributing:

  • 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 settings like classes, study groups, on websites, in videos, etc.
  • 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)

Thinking about adopting OER?

Start your search or browse what's possible:

Evaluate OER in much the same way you would other materials for your courses.

  1. Does this OER cover the content you'd like your students to learn in this course or module?
  2. How accessible is this content? Will it be accessible for your students, or is it too technical? Or is it robust and challenging enough for your students?
  3. How can you use the content? Verify the license that the resource is under. Can you remix or revise the OER as long as it isn't for commercial purposes? Who do you have to recognize if you use it? Will you be able to do so? For more help with this, please contact the library.
  4. Once you determine how you can use the OER, what would you like to do with it? Does only a portion of it apply to your class? Would you possibly want to combine this OER with another OER or resource? Does the library have access to articles that could act as supplemental readings? 
  5. As you collect more OER and other resources, save them in a central location. Take note of how you envision using them. Align these resources with the learning objectives and weekly lessons on your syllabus in order to identify gaps. 

(Source: University of Illinois Libraries Evaluate OER site)

Evaluation Checklists and Tools:

When you're reusing or remixing OER, you will want to know how to properly cite other people's work. All Creative Commons licenses come with the expectation of attribution, even if you are adapting content. In your citation, be sure to include:

  • Title of the work
  • Author of the work
  • Source of the work (for example, a URL)
  • License under which the work is distributed (for example, CC BY)
  • Link to the license used for the work (for instance,

(Source: Based on University of Oregon Open Educational Resources site by Rayne Vieger and Genifer Snipes)

Open Pedagogy Resources

Textbook Cost Inflation Explained

Understanding Copyright