Open Educational Resources (OER)

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and repurposing by others. OER include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge. (William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, 2016)

Policy Brief on Open Educational Resources (OER)

Executive summary: Open Educational Resources (OER) are educational materials that are freely available and can be legally used and modified by anyone. Properly leveraged, OER can help everyone in the world access free, high quality, learning materials. OER can help governments meet the aims set out in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially with regard to SDG4: ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education, and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all. This policy brief describes open educational resources, open licenses, open education licensing policies, and actions governments may take to support open education in their countries.

This policy brief has been written by Creative Commons with input from the Commonwealth of Learning and the Commonwealth Secretariat. Comment may shared using the comment box at the end of this page.


Download the Policy Brief on OER






You are free to:
Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format
Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material
for any purpose.
Read the license code.

More OER Policy Briefs

Policy Brief – Open Educational Resources in your Own Language, in your Way

Opening up Education – A Support Framework for Higher Education Institutions

Policy Resources for OER

NEW: Open Educational Resources in the Commonwealth 2016

This study on Open Educational Resources in the Commonwealth 2016 by the Commonwealth of Learning was conducted as part of the OER for Skills Development project of COL, supported by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The objective of the study was to collect baseline data from Commonwealth institutions with respect to the development, use and reuse of OER; the availability of support; and challenges faced in fostering the use of OER. Six research questions were formed, after reviewing previous studies, to analyse the status of OER in the Commonwealth, based on four recommendations of the 2012 Paris OER Declaration.

OER Policy Development Tool

The purpose of the OER Policy Development Tool is to promote the use of OER and scale efforts to full OER programs. The toolkit was developed by the Daniel DeMarte of Tidewater Community College and Amanda Coolidge of BCcampus.

Institutional OER Policy Template

Developed by the Commonwealth of Learning, this document provides a ready to use Institutional OER Policy Template for drafting an Open Educational Resources (OER) policy for an ODL, e-Learning or face-to-face institution.

Government Policy Development Template to Progress Effective Implementation of Open Educational Resources (OER)

Developed by the Commonwealth of Learning, this Government Policy Development Template is designed to help governments to review and develop key policy issues for implementing effective OER policy at national level.

Open Educational Resources Survey

Developed by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), this Open Educational Resources Survey provides an overview of the findings on OER policies and activity across all countries of the world.

Guidelines for Open Educational Resources (OER) in Higher Education

Developed by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), these Guidelines for open educational resources (OER) in higher education outline key issues and make suggestions for integrating OER into higher education. Their purpose is to encourage decision makers in governments and institutions to invest in the systematic production, adaptation and use of OER and to bring them into the mainstream of higher education in order to improve the quality of curricula and teaching and to reduce costs.

World Congresses on Open Educational Resources (OER)

1st World Open Educational Resources Congress held on Wednesday 20 – Friday 22 June, 2012 held in Paris, France.

2nd World Open Educational Resources Congress – Sunday, 17 September 2017  to Wednesday, 20 September 2017 in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Find more Policy Toolkits and Resources.