Teaching & Learning Portal


Open educational resources

Education for all has taken on a new meaning in the digital age. The internet has paved the way for a cultural revolution in which academics share their teaching materials online, for free.

Open educational resources (OER) can be anything from complete courses to recorded lectures, essay questions, discussion topics or reading lists. Teaching staff can 'pick and mix' these to suit their own purposes. 

This spirit of collaborative working opens up higher education to a much wider audience, gives students and teachers greater access and raises the profile of the academics who create OER. 

Find out about using OER at UCL in this video:

UCL is already committed to making all its research available online on UCL Discovery and has released some excellent learning resources through OER projects. With new supporting technologies on the horizon and national funding for UKOER, the potential is huge.

How to create OER

While turning a pre-existing resource into an OER is very worthwhile, it's vital that you follow these steps before doing so:

Content preparation

OER is about portability and re-usability. Make sure the file type, size and formatting are fully accessible, using the guidelines below:

Text files Open document format (.odt), rich text format (.rtf), portable document format (.pdf)
Images  PNG, JPEG
Audio MP3
Video MPEG4

Rights clearance process

This involves identifying who owns the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) behind a resource. You need to know this to determine whether or not you can legally use the resource as an OER. You must obtain the author/rights owner's permission to release anything to which you do not own the rights. Use this JISC-funded IP resources page to download useful guidance and consent forms.

Open licensing

Decide how open you wish your resource to be and then select the corresponding licence to give access while preserving the author's rights. Creative Commons (CC) licences are a specific type of open licence, used commonly with OER, which allow you to share resources for free. More information, and the opportunity to generate and download CC licences, can be found on the Creative Commons website.

Where to find OER

UCL repositories

UCL on iTunes U

Download and watch over 164 interviews, lectures and other UCL content via iPods or computers.

UCLTV on YouTube

UCLTV is UCL's official channel on YouTube EDU, showcasing mini-lectures and student-focused features.


News and information on UCL's input into OER and its externally-funded projects to develop and release open educational resources.

UCL Discovery

Showcase for UCL's research publications, giving access to journal articles, book chapters and digital web resources.

UK repositories


OpenLearn provides free access to over 8,000 study hours of learning materials from Open University courses.


This free online repository service constitutes a key part of the JISC programme to collect and share learning and teaching materials.


HumBox is a bank of online humanities resources run by the University of Southampton. 

Language Box

This is a virtual storage space for modern languages learning materials. It stores resources in 26 languages, from Arabic to Welsh.


The University of Nottingham's Xpert repository contains metadata and resources for almost 120,000 learning objects from over 8,000 providers.

International repositories

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) open courseware

Launched in 2001, MIT open courseware is a repository for almost all MIT learning content. 

Japan OCW consortium

Over 40 Japanese institutions have provided more than 200 course materials in English.


For advice on developing OER, contact E-Learning Environments (ELE)