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Open Educational Resources: OERs Life Cycle

This guide is designed as a tool kit for engaging with various aspects of OERs - from finding to distributing open educational materials.


Just like the research cycle, OER's is iterative.

OERs also have similar life cycles as that of research & publishing.  They both involve three stages overall: Planning, Processing, Sharing.

The planning stage can includes tasks such as defining learning objectives, gathering and selecting materials (or creating them from scratch), and developing a timeline and organizing tasks.

The processing stage is where materials are used, tested, revised, and prepared for the last stage: sharing.

The sharing stage is where archiving and distribution occurs and is the stage where OERs and Research & Publication begin to diverge drastically.


So, how is the OER cycle different from the research cycle?

Well, in typical circumstances, licensing decisions are typically controlled by the publisher.  Where OERs concerned, authors have more control over the licensing terms (standard copyright regulations are still upheld but authors of OERs have more control over how their materials can be used.  This is called Creative Commons licensing.

Contact the OER team

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If you have any questions related to Open Educational Resources. Please contact the OER Team.

Suggest a Resource

Found a resource you would like to see on the OER guides? Please e-mail the OER Specialist.


The OER process can be daunting at first because there are so many resources and ways to engage with them. Where do you start?  What direction do you want to take.  This guide will provide you with available options, but first let's understand the process:

Make a list of OER resources for your discipline

  • Make a list on your website or blog. 

  • Send it to a discipline's mailing list. 

  • Post it on social media like or LinkedIn. 

  • Share it with your library subject specialists.

Use one OER

Try out an Open Educational Resources from one of the many collections out there in your class. It can be an assignment, in-class activity, or any other small component of your overall class. If you like it, keep using it! 

Review an OER

If you use OER material in your class, consider posting a review to let others know how useful an item is. Many OER collections like Merlot offer the option of peer reviews from the community. If you want to be an official OER reviewer, check out Merlot's GRAPE Camp for official peer reviewers. 

If you run a blog or social media site, you can write a post with a review of the material that you have found and used. 

Deposit OER

OER collections like Merlot and OER Commons are made of resources created by the community. You can contribute as well! Once you've created and licensed an item, deposit it in one of these collections or choose one of the subject-specific collections listed in this guide.