Community and Civic Engagement

Open Educational Resources Overview

The goal of this website is to provide staff, faculty and adminstrators with information on Open Educational Resources and how to appropriately utilize the information in classes to make classes more affordable and more accessible.OER Global Logo by Jonathas Mello is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Unported 3.0 License



OER is a rather nebulous term that can cover a wide variety of different educational materials, both physical and digital as long as they are ‘open.’ In this case, ‘open’ refers to being openly licensed, such as under Creative Commons licensing. These resources can be freely distributed, shared, adapted and edited by anyone. One of the more widely acknowledged definitions is from the Hewlett Foundation:

“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 Open Educational Resources (OER) movement has its roots in Distance Learning, the Open Source and the Free/Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) cultural and technological movements of the 90’s, where it barrowed the concept of free (libre) information in the same since as freedom of speech. The movement first started to take off when MIT started their OpenCourseWare (OCW) project in 2001. The project put all of MIT’s courses online for free. This, in addition to Rice University’s Connexions database, paved the way for other universities, such as Stanford and Harvard, to offer free online courses and materials.

Recent initiatives of note include the WikiEducator and the Saylor Foundation, the latter of which provides grants for educators who write and publish their own textbooks under Creative Commons licensing. In 2012 Harvard and MIT unveiled edX, their new platform for free and open online courses from universities all over the world.

The movement gained international momentum when China created the China Open Resources for Education (CORE) initiative in 2003, Japan and India soon followed suit. 


The goal of OER is to provide access to quality educational resources for everyone, regardless of geographical location or income, and share the wealth of human knowledge and information with all.

In 2007 the Open Society Institute and the Shuttleworth Foundation brought together participants from all over the world to discuss and promote OER. One of the outcomes of this conference is The Cape Town Open Education Declaration, a mission statement for the OER movement.



This site was developed by Student Advocacy Group - a group of students working to bring OER to De Anza, with the help of Cynthia Kaufman, Director of the ICCE.

OER Global Logo by Jonathas Mello is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Unported 3.0 License

Building: East Cottage Contact: Cynthia Kaufman
Phone: 408.864.5559

Last Updated: 5/19/15