Open Educational Resources

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials published under an open license or in the public domain. As a result, these learning materials are free, and openly accessible, allowing them to be adopted or adapted (Unesco, 2019). At the national level and within Utrecht University (UU), there is a growing focus on the value of these learning materials. The University Library supports educators in sharing educational materials openly.

Definition of Open Educational Resources

The term ‘open educational resources’ is used when the educational material allows for the following possibilities (the 5 R’s):

  1. Retaining: To own a personal copy of the content.
  2. Reusing: To reuse the content in multiple ways.
  3. Revising: To adapt or modify the content.
  4. Remixing: To combine the content with other learning materials to create a new product.
  5. Redistributing: To further share the content (Wiley and Hilton, 2018).

Sharing OER can happen in two ways:

Intentionally designed for sharing openly: These resources typically have an explicitly educational context and are often presented as a collection or course. For example: a collection of materials published in educational projects.

Sharing existing materials openly: Some materials, like images, seminar slideshows, or individual assignments, were not initially designed to be shared openly. When shared openly, it is important to highlight how these materials can be reused in other educational contexts (Weller, 2010).


By sharing educational materials educators can make their subject and pedagogical knowledge visible to others. This allows them to present themselves as experts in their field, without following traditional publication routes. Additionally, sharing OER enhances the quality of education, as colleagues (from other institutions) can build upon shared work by implementing it in their own teaching, and when they, in turn, share their newly developed educational materials for further reuse, a positive feedback loop is created.

Utrecht University Library facilitates openly sharing educational materials on the the national platform Edusources. The library provides guidelines and showcases OER projects.

By reusing OER instead of developing their own, educators save time. Additionally, OER are free, making education more accessible by reducing study costs. Furthermore, OER can be reused by colleagues, students from other institutions, professionals, or other interested parties for further (self)study.

Through Edusources, it is possible to find OER from other Dutch institutions.


The difference between the Teaching and Learning Collection and Edusources

Are you looking for pedagogically sound teaching methods that you can use in your education? Within the CAT’s Teaching and Learning Collection, you will find tips, good practices, teaching methods, knowledge items, projects, and tools to implement in your teaching. Are you searching for subject-specific educational materials, such as a knowledge clip on a specific concept or an assignment tailored to your discipline? Or do you want to openly share such learning materials yourself? Then, make use of Edusources and request assistance from the University Library.

Open Pedagogy

Within the OER movement, there is an increasing focus on Open Pedagogy. Open Pedagogy emphasizes the use of OER in the classroom. Important here is that materials are not solely designed by the instructor but actively co-created by students (Tietjen and Asino, 2021). When this student work is published as OER, allowing for reuse and adaptation, it transforms a student product from a one-time assignment into a sustainable educational resource that later study years can build upon. Thus, the efforts and contributions of students have a direct impact on future education (Wiley and Hilton, 2018).

If you want to learn more about the possibilities of open educational resources and Open Pedagogy, please refer to the list of sources and reading materials below.


Additional literature