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Benefits of OER


Welcome to the Open Educational Resources (OER) guide. This guide is designed to help teaching academic staff to find, use, adapt and create OER. For more assistance with locating OER for your course please contact Ask the Library.

What are OER?

Open Education Resources (OER) are designed to make education more inclusive, opening up opportunities to those who otherwise couldn’t afford it by alleviating the high cost of course materials.

OER are educational materials that have been licensed for free use and adaptation (e.g. Creative Commons) or do not have copyright restrictions (e.g. the public domain).

OER include a wide range of resources such as textbooks, teaching and learning materials, images, videos, games, lesson plans, worksheets and assessments.

Why OER matter

Watch the video below to find out how teaching and learning materials are changing and why OER matter!

 Video Length: 2 min 9 sec

UniSA testimonials

Hear from UniSA staff on how Open Educational Resources are being used and the impact this has for their students

Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences

"The textbook minimisation project led by the UniSA Library is a fantastic initiative. Teaching curriculum, delivery modes and resources in higher education are constantly evolving. As such , the prescribing of a hard copy textbook that a student will carry around and have for years is becoming less common. Moving to portable, flexible, electronic resources is essential, and minimising textbook usage helps drive the development of new electronic resources." Professor Craig Williams, Dean Programs: Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences


"Working with the UniSA Library, as part of the textbook minimisation project, we were able to conduct a comprehensive review of the textbooks and alternative resources available for the nursing program with the aim to reduce the overall cost of texts for students. We were able to reduce the financial burden for students significantly, and this was a really important outcome to promote equity and access for all students in the nursing program. In addition, we were able to comprehensively scrutinise the references and resources across the nursing program to identify the most appropriate and current references to improve the overall quality of the resources available for students." Maria Chilvers, Lecturer in Nursing

Applied Physics

"The textbook minimisation project is a great idea and approach to help reduce the cost of studying for students by reducing the number of textbooks that students need to buy. In place of textbooks, open access and other centrally licenced or free resources are provided to students to aid them with their studies. The library was very helpful in identifying suitable resources for a couple of more foundational physics courses, and we have now switched to using a free online textbook which the students really appreciate." Dr Sam Tuttle, Lecturer: Applied Physics

The 5 Rs of using OER

When you are using OER, you have the flexibility to:

5 Rs Allows you to 
reuse use content in its unaltered/verbatim original format
retain keep copies of content for personal archives or reference
revise adapt or alter content to suit specific needs
remix combine content with other similar content to create something new
redistribute share content with anyone else in its original or altered format

OER benefits & impact

There are many reasons for using OER in teaching and learning:

Diagram highlighting some key benefits of OER for students and for academics

Text version of benefits & impact image

There are many reasons for using OER in teaching and learning:


  • Free access to educational materials
  • Access anywhere, anytime
  • Support independent learners
  • Customised, relevant and current: continuously edited
  • Materials in multiple formats
  • Potential increase in graduation and retention rates


  • Versatility: tailor to meet student needs
  • Collaboration
  • Add value to existing coursework
  • Open collegial culture through sharing open resources
  • Share innovations freely
  • Gain ideas and inspiration


OER can help redress deeply-embedded issues of equity and inclusion in traditional textbook publishing.

Check out the blog post below from EmpoweredOER to learn more and to explore examples of innovative and inclusive OER.

Key takeaways:

  • Equity (and Amplifying Voices through OER)
    Everyone is free to create, share, and glean knowledge
  • Innovative (and Transformative) Pedagogy
    Educators are free to explore methods of teaching in flexible and transformative ways
  • Student Success (OER and UDL)
    Learners are free to succeed without the unnecessary barriers of cost and access to course materials