VIU Campus

Open Education Resources

Open educational resources, also known as OER, are teaching, learning and research materials that are in the public domain and have been released under an open license. OER materials are most commonly digital, yet they can come in other mediums. The open license permits no-cost to users, thereby removing barriers to access and reducing textbook costs for students. There are other advantages too.

What does Open Licensing mean?  

Open Licencing, such as Creative Commons, let’s you retain ownership of your work, while allowing others to use, share, and remix it, all without requesting your permission. Yet, open licensing does require future users and adapters to attribute you for your work. There are many advantages to this form of licencing, one being that it enables the ongoing collaborative development of resources.

Want to know more about Creative Commons licensing?

Let’s start by comparing Creative Commons licensing with Copyright. Did you know that anytime you produce a new creative work, such as a study guide, a PowerPoint slide deck, or a handout for students, you are automatically granted copyright? This means that your work is protected, and all your rights are reserved without any action from you.

Whereas Open Licensing /Creative Commons licensing provides you the opportunity to freely share your work simply by selecting from a range of permissions available. The Creative Commons agreement is structured into 5 categories of permission, commonly known as the 5 R’s.

David Wiley  introduced the 5 R’s framework as a means for thinking about copyright permissions. It permits curators of resources to select an appropriate level of permission based on their desire to openly create and to collaborate at the global level.  

The 5’s are organized as follows:

  1. Retain– the right to make, own, and control copies of the content.
  2. Reuse– the right to use the content in a wide range of ways.
  3. Revise– the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself.
  4. Remix– the right to combine the original or revised content with other material to create something new.
  5. Redistribute– the right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others.

To learn more about Creative Commons licencing, and ideas about collaborative models for working together in a digital world,  watch this short video

Why use OER?

For many educators, they believe that OER provides opportunities to explore, create, and collaborate with others from around the world, ultimately improving curriculums for all ( In addition, OER provides public access to digital libraries. We live in a digital world where books, journal articles, and other educational resources can be copied and readily distributed at essentially no cost, this forgoes the idea of ownership, thereby providing access for all (Wiley, 2014).

Cost-saving for students!

One of the most compelling and driving forces behind the use of Open Textbooks is the significant cost-savings that are passed on to the student.  Here in BC,  BCcampus reports that the adoption of digital Open Textbooks between 2012 to 2021 has resulted in a total savings for students amounting to $24 ,577, 133. Savings as significant as these ultimately impacts the student experience and their overall access to education. 

To date there are 205, 487 students in BC using Open Textbooks and a total of 41 institutions currently adopting them. For more information on Open Textbook Stats, please visit BCcampus OpenEd

Are you interested in writing and self-publishing an open textbook?

We are proud to say that there are many faculty at VIU that have written and self-published open textbooks over the past few years, and there are many others that have adopted and adapted open textbooks. To support you in getting started with this process, BC Campus provides a Self-Publishing Guide

Are you interested in adopting and/or adapting an open textbook?

BC Campus Open Education offers a substantial selection of openly licensed textbooks and associated resources. Many of which have been developed collaboratively and are available electronically, free of charge. 

To search the BCcampus Library containing 371 Open Textbooks ranging in subjects from Academic /Career Success, through Biological/physical Sciences, Commuter Science, Earth and Ocean Sciences, to Education, Health and Medical, Humanities, Trades, and beyond; please follow this link Find an Open Textbook

eCampusOntario is another great resource, housing 611 open textbooks available at no charge. is part of Rice University which is a non profit charitable corporation. It’s mission is to transform learning so that education works for every student. To date, the use of their open textbooks have saved students a total of $1,726, 487,368 since 2021. To access openstax textbooks, click the link.