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 re-purposing by others. These resources may include:
OER materials are any type of educational material that is freely available for teachers and students to use, adapt, share, and reuse. They are NOT the same as public domain materials; however public domain materials are often included in many of the OER full courses. Most of the time, someone still owns the copyright of the OER under a creative commons license.
According to David Wiley from Lumen Learning, the power of open educational resources comes from a set of permissions which allows you to:
These permissions are usually granted by the copyright holder of a work by licensing it under a Creative Commons license.
The open resource movement has been around for a while, but has transitioned to OER that allows for revision and reuse. Textbooks and learning materials currently cost students approximately $900 - $1,200 per year. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, 7 in 10 students didn't purchase textbooks in the last year because they were too expensive. Using OER materials can drastically reduce the cost of student materials. The use of OER also gives instructors the ability to customize the materials, creating textbooks that fit their needs.
For more information, see the article from EDUCAUSE, 7 Things You Should Know About Open Educational Resources.