March 2 – 6, 2020 Is Open Education Week

Happy Open Education Week 2020! Open Education is a movement that promotes using free educational tools–such as textbooks–that instructors have the right to retain, reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute. These five permissions are known as “The 5 Rs” of Open Educational Resources (OER).

Be on the lookout for more posts about Open Education this week. Today, we will start with an overview of what makes a resource “open.”

What do the 5 Rs mean?

The 5 Rs of Open Educational Resources. For a text version of the image above, visit and scroll down to “Open Educational Resources (OER).”

Why are the 5 Rs important?

There is no financial cost to use OER in their digital form; often, print versions of OER textbooks are available far cheaper than commercial textbooks. OER textbooks are available in a variety of subject areas, free for instructors to use in their classrooms (“reuse”); anyone may download and share them (“redistribute”). When instructors use an OER textbook, there is nothing to purchase! A digital version of it is available to students beginning on the first day of class. Unlike some online textbooks, homework platforms, and other online learning tools, instructors and students have the ability and permission to access the resources at any time: access doesn’t expire (“retain”).

Some instructors may decide they only want to use part of an OER in a class, or to combine multiple OERs to create a customized textbook (“remix”). Other instructors may decide to improve upon an existing OER textbook (“revise”). This is also allowed!

If you would like to know more about OER textbooks, NC LIVE can help you get started. If you, as an instructor, want to begin using OER in your class, NC LIVE is still–for a limited time–awarding grants to adopt OER in the classroom.

Please reach out to the Durham Tech library or contact me directly for more information about OER.

About Meredith Lewis

Meredith is a librarian at Durham Tech on both the Main and Orange County Campuses.