Open Educational Resources (OER)

"Open Educational Resources are learning, teaching and research materials in any format and medium that reside in the public domain or are under copyright that have been released under an open licence, that permit no-cost access, re-use, re-purpose, adaptation and redistribution by others" - UNESCO


About OER

Open Educational Resources (OER) can complement the existing paid-for resources on your reading list, and allow you to customise and re-use content in a way that’s not permissible with commercial teaching material.

The University Library is exploring the possibilities that OER offer teaching staff in ways which support the core principles of our content strategy (specifically, supporting open scholarship, seeking sustainable solutions, and investing in diverse resources).

OER also support the Education Vision Pillar priority of delivering a rich, multifaceted and inclusive digital teaching and learning environment that supports excellent and inspiring teaching by providing students with material that is diverse and easily accessible.

Funding opportunities

The Library is making funding available for teaching staff who are interested in taking a further look at OER. In particular, we are interested in hearing from staff who would consider one or more of the following options:

  • Reviewing an existing open textbook from the Open Textbook Library, or alternative source, and posting a review on the website
  • Identifying an existing open textbook and using it as key module reading in place of a commercial textbook
  • Identifying an existing open textbook and adapting it to suit local (Sheffield or wider UK) curriculum needs, using the Sheffield Pressbooks Network or other appropriate platform.
  • Adapting your existing teaching material, or creating new material, and publishing it in the Sheffield Pressbooks Network

An open textbook is one with a CC BY licence or a CC BY-SA (or by exception, a CC BY-NC or CC BY-NC-SA). Material with a NonDerivative licence is ineligible for support under this initiative because it does not align with the principles of OER.

The funding amounts available range from £150 to £5000, payable to your department. If you have an idea for a project in the area of OER that doesn’t fit into one of the categories above, talk to us about how the Library might support you. The names of successful applicants will be published here.

Email for full details.

Support for OER

The University Library is developing support and infrastructure to help you explore OER. Recent developments include:

  • An OER Toolkit, created with colleagues at Leeds and York, with the aim of providing more information about using, adapting, creating and licensing OER in your teaching and research.
  • An institutional subscription to the Pressbooks authoring and editing tool, enabling you to modify existing open content or write new content and publish it on the Sheffield Pressbooks Network. You can browse the global list of Pressbooks titles in the Pressbooks Directory. Please get in touch with us via if you would like to discuss using Pressbooks.

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