Open Educational Resources (OER)

What is OER? (1 min video) - Wisconsin Technical College System

OER Definitions

OER = Open Educational Resources

OERs are educational materials that include permission for anyone to use, modify and share at no cost. These are either in the public domain or have licenses that provide permission to retain, remix, revise, reuse and redistribute with proper citation.  Resources with Creative Commons licenses meet these criteria. Check out some examples of OER remixed textbooks. Browse the list of WTCS OER textbooks or the WISELearn statewide repository.

AER = Affordable Educational Resources

AERs are free or low-cost materials that do not have open licenses for editing or sharing (but they are still awesome for students).  Examples include free (non-open) web resources, Library-supplied resources, or Bookstore options under $40.

OER Faculty Checklist

Use the OER Faculty Checklist to help you follow the steps to explore textbook possibilities, evaluate and choose materials, communicate your choice, add the materials to student booklists, and share in your courses.  Links are provided to the experts who can assist you throughout the journey!

Specialized OER Resources

Best Practices

When using OER in your class:

  • Make sure all faculty and students have the links.
  • When sharing with students for assignments, link to the specific part of the textbook you want them to read.
  • Remind students of any low cost print versions of the OER through the Bookstore. Some students may want a physical copy.

Librarians Can Help!

The NWTC Library staff are happy to help you find OER materials for your courses.

Please send an email to Julie Chapman or call her at 920-498-5490.

It helps if you can identify the following information:

  • Class name
  • Competencies that you are trying to teach with OER materials
  • What type of material are you most interested in finding?  Full replacement textbook, individual chapters for specific competencies, learning objects, video content, etc.
  • Are you OK with a combination of OER, free resources from the web, and library-supplied resources?  Or do you want only OER materials? 

The Library staff will pull together materials that you can review for use in your classes.

After finding OER materials, Kim LaPlante  (920-498-5487) can help you determine the feasibility of remixing them together to create a custom textbook in Libretexts.  This can give students a book they can download for free plus the option to purchase that book in the Bookstore at a low cost. Example textbooks.


An Introduction to Open Educational Resources (4 min video)