Open Educational Resources (OER) are course materials such as textbooks, workbooks, tutorials, videos, and other educational content that are freely available to anyone online. There are no access fees or subscription fees. Students and instructors alike can access OERs without paying anything, which helps lower the cost of higher education.
OERs have been openly licensed by their creators or are in the public domain. Works in the public domain include works created by the federal government and works with an expired copyright. Creators may also waive copyrights to their work, effectively placing the work in the public domain.
More commonly, creators license their work in a way that allows people to share their content, create new content, and distribute the resource to others, while still retaining certain rights such as attribution. Most OERs fall into this second category. Either way, students can access openly licensed and public domain materials for free.