Texas Tech University

What is an Open Educational Resource?

The Texas Tech University Libraries Open Educational Resources Office defines open educational resources (OER) as teaching, learning, and research materials that are in the public domain or created under an open license that allow no, or limited, restrictions to access, use, redistribution, and adaptation. These teaching and learning materials can include textbooks, tests, workbooks, modules, full courses, streaming videos, and any other materials or tools that support student academic support and learning. 

When a resource is created under an open license, there are five points to determine how that resource can be used. These five points are known as the "5 Rs of OER." 

5 Rs in OER

What is an open license? 

An open license allows the creator to establish permissions that grant users the right to adapt and use their work under copyright. The most common open license is a Creative Commons License. Creative Commons has six different license types, listed from the most permissions available to other users, to the least number of permissions available.

OER that are created under an open license will usually have any number of the symbols printed in place of traditional copyright information. The symbols for the different types of Creative Commons Licensing are pictured below. These symbols tell you the permissions that the creator has set for this material. Make sure to check the permissions allowed within the Creative Commons License prior to revising an OER. 

Creative Commons License Options

Whether you are looking to adopt an OER in your classroom or you are interested in creating an OER, it is important to understand open licensing to ensure that you are using and attributing the material correctly. 

If you have questions regarding Creative Commons licenses, please contact us at libraries.oer@ttu.edu

Texas Tech University External OER Partnerships:

Texas Digital Library Logo

As a member of the Texas Digital Library (TDL), Texas Tech University receives OER support services. Texas Tech also has a seat among the TDL OER Ambassadors. 

OpenStax Logo

During the 2021-2022 year, Texas Tech University joined 11 other institutions around the United States as participates in the OpenStax Institutional Partner Program.  

Open Education Network Logo

Texas Tech University is a member institution of the Open Education Network, formally known as the Open Textbook Network. Membership provides access to a supportive OER community and various programs.  


Texas Tech University is also a member institution with the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC). Membership in SPARC includes institutions worldwide, further illustrating that OER and open education is a topic of conversation beyond TTU. 

The image used for the "5 Rs of OER" was retrieved from Making Open Educational Resources: A Guide for Students by Students and is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial ShareAlike 4.0 International License
The image used in the "What is an open license?" section was retrieved from the Sharing Creative Works Comics by Creative Commons and is available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License