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Resources in NYC for Pratt LIS graduate students: Open Educational Resources

This is a guide intended to provide library students the resources to help them experience the different opportunities that New York City has to offer.


 “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 re-purposing by others. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge.”-- The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Selected Books

What are Open Educational Resources (OER)

This video was chosen because we believed students can learn a concise idea of Open Educational Resources through this captivating video. This video is also licensed Creative Commons, includes all the sounds, illustrations and script.

These are some tips for searching OER on OER Commons:

  • Go on to an open search page and enter your keywords or phrase.
  • or Use the advanced searching which will save you some time or limit your search.
  • Start with a broad term and then narrow.  As you narrow, think about disciplinary language. Is there something else this topic might be referred to as?
  • If you still aren't getting good results, try to start with the browsing feature (even if it's very broad). Sometimes the term your searching isn't used but you still know it would be under a broad subject like "humanities" or "writing".
  • After clicking on a match, look for the license agreement. (CC.BY)
  • On the results page, ypu can use the limiters on the left for refinding a search.

OERs are the most useful and most effective when they grant users the permission to:

  • Retain:  Make, own, and control your own copy of content
  • Reuse:   Use the content as-is
  • Revise:  Adapt, adjust, modify, improve, or alter the content
  • Remix:  Combine the original or revised content with other OER to create something new
  • Redistribute:  Share your copies of the original content, revisions or remixes with others

These 5 Rs allow instructors and students to use, customize, and build upon the original OER, to keep a copy as long as they want, and to share their adaptations with the world. 

5R Definition adapted from David Wiley under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.

Creative Commons licensing is at the heart of the OER movement. CC allows creators to specify more flexible forms of copyright that allows "others to copy, distribute, and make some uses of their work."  There are a range of options for the type of use that CC licenses allow:

More information licenses available at Creative Commons.

Saves costs for students

“If you have the power to make [financial issues] go away for someone, you should.”
— OER adopter Tori Matthews, Department of Biology, Monroe Community College

Stephens and Pickavance (2017) note that "While faculty and administrators have little control over the rising cost of tuition, they are able to offer students ... OER," which "can deliver comparable results for students as traditional textbooks, but at no cost."

Grants access to more quality choices 

Unlike printed textbooks, OER are presented in a format that makes them easily compatible with screen readers and BrailleNotes for visually impaired learners. They also offer improved accessibility for all users, for instance allowing the font to be easily enlarged. Students anywhere in the world can access OERs at any time, and they can access the material repeatedly.

enhancement of regular course content

 For example, multimedia material such as videos can accompany text. Presenting information in multiple formats may help students to more easily learn the material being taught.

Quick circulation

Information may be disseminated rapidly (especially when compared to information published in textbooks or journals, which may take months or even years to become available). Quick availability of material may increase the timeliness and/or relevance of the material being presented.

Helps preparation for course and retention of knowledge after course

Unlike textbooks and other static sources of information, OERs can be improved quickly through direct editing by users or through solicitation and incorporation of user feedback. Instructors can take an existing OER, adapt it for a class, and make the modified OER available for others to use.

Augmentation of class materials

OERs can supplement textbooks and lectures where deficiencies in information are evident.

showcasing of innovation and talent

A wide audience may learn of faculty research interests and expertise.  Potential students and donors may be impressed, and student and faculty recruitment efforts may be enhanced.


quality issues. Since many OER repositories allow any user to create an account and post material, some resources may not be relevant and/or accurate.

lack of human interaction between teachers and students. OER material is created to stand alone, and since self-learning users may access the material outside of a classroom environment, they will miss out on the discussion and instructor feedback that characterize for-credit classes and that make such classes useful and valuable.

language and/or cultural barriers. Although efforts are being made to make OERs available in multiple languages, many are only available in English, limiting their usefulness to non-English speakers. Additionally, not all resources are culturally appropriate for all audiences.

technological issues. Some students may have trouble using some OERs if they have a slow or erratic internet connection. Other OERs may require software that students don’t have and that they may not be able to afford.

intellectual property/copyright concerns. Since OERs are meant to be shared openly, the “fair use” exemption from the U.S. Copyright Act ceases to apply; all content put online must be checked to ensure that it doesn’t violate copyright law.

sustainability issues. Since OER creators generally do not receive any type of payment for their OER, there may be little incentive for them to update their OER or to ensure that it will continue to be available online.

source: Goucher College Library

Some educational resources are available free of charge to students but do not meet the definition of an OER.

Open Access: Resources made freely available to all Internet users. Although anyone can access them, they are still protected by copyright.
Examples: Purdue OWL; online newspaper articles; YouTube videos.

Licensed Resources: Resources that have no cost to students or faculty but are paid for by the Library. They are protected by copyright.
Examples: Library databases and e-books.

source: Daniel A. Reed Library SUNY 

OER related to Library subject

Multidisciplinary OER Collections