The 5R activities of OER

cassette tapeDuring his 2019 TAA Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference presentation, “Why I Chose to Publish OER, What I Learned, and Do I Have Regrets”, with Jeanne Hoover, Dave Dillon, TAA Council member and author of the award-winning open textbook Blueprint for Success in College and Career, shared the 5R activities permitted by open access.

Defining the “open” in open content and open educational resources (OER), Dillon noted, “The terms ‘open content’ and ‘open educational resources’, describe any copyrightable work that is either (1) in the public domain or (2) licensed in a manner that provides users with free and perpetual permission to engage in the 5R activities” below.

The 5Rs of OER

1) Reuse

The most basic of the OER activities, reuse of material published as open content or OER, refers permits someone to “use the content in its unaltered form”. Reuse of the material still requires proper attribution.

2) Revise

One of the benefits to OER is the ability to adapt material to fit current needs. The revise activity allows others to “adapt, adjust, modify, improve, or alter the content” contained in the original work.

3) Remix

Based on Dillon’s experience as an instructor who found value in a variety of instructional resources, he finds the remix activity permitted by OER practices one of the most fun and beneficial in which to participate. When remixing OER content, you “combine the original or revised content with other OER to create something new”. For Dillon, that “something new” was his award-winning textbook.

4) Redistribute

Open access is founded on a basic principle of providing greater access to information and materials. Supporting this principle is the OER activity of redistribution which permits users to “share copies of the original content, revisions or remixes with others”.

5) Retain

This final OER activity, addresses another need that Dillon identified while considering open access publishing options for his book. He recognized that the modern practice of limited-time access codes for course materials presented a problem for students that either needed to retake a course or wanted ongoing access to the materials after the class ended. The ability to retain OER content means that students can “keep access to the materials after the learning event”.

Although not the focus of Dillon’s presentation, he noted that the 5R activities are all permitted under the least restrictive of the six Creative Commons licensing options, however some activities are prohibited under other licenses.

The complete presentation is available in TAA’s Presentations on Demand library.


Eric Schmieder

Eric Schmieder is the Membership Marketing Manager for TAA. He has taught computer technology concepts to curriculum, continuing education, and corporate training students since 2001. A lifelong learner, teacher, and textbook author, Eric seeks to use technology in ways that improve results in his daily processes and in the lives of those he serves. His latest textbook, Web, Database, and Programming: A foundational approach to data-driven application development using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, MySQL, and PHP, First Edition, is available now through Sentia Publishing.