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Law: Open Education Resources

A start guide to legal research in the C J Koh Law Library

About OER

  OER defined  

"Open Educational Resources are teaching, learning and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise – that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions" -- The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

  Examples of OER  
Types of OER include (but are not limited to) textbooks, journal articlessyllabi, podcasts, lesson plans, learning modules, lab experiments, simulations, course videos, discussion prompts, assignments, assessments, library guides, and course design templates. In short, OER are teaching, learning and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others

  OER for Instructors  
Instructors  use  OER in their classes: — showing YouTube videos, using worksheets created and shared by other instructors, and using online simulations as learning activities. Instructors can also create and share syllabi, lesson plans, and even full textbooks for their courses. They can collaborate with instructors at their own institutions, or other institutions around the world. They can access and remix existing OER and republish them to share with others.

Source: "Understanding OER." by SUNY OER Services, OER Community Course is licensed under CC BY 4.0

  Potential benefits of OER  
  • Saves costs and grants access to more quality choices
    ​​Students enjoy savings from accessing free quality materials developed by faculty, experts and leading institutions. OER programs have reported that students enjoyed huge savings on the cost of their education.
  • Lifelong learning
    Because OER are open, they allow students to return to course content again and again -- before and after courses.
  • More clarity/certainty regarding reuse of materials
    You will have peace of mind especially if you’re re-using someone else’s materials. The resources are licensed to allow sharing of content. You need not contact the author for permission to use of his/her work as long as it falls within the ‘open’ license.
  • Customize contents to meet specific teaching needs
    OER are fully revisable and remixable and this allows for freedom to revise materials as well as the flexibility to combine parts of resources to ensure that materials are contextualized to a specific course.
  • Increasing support for "plug and play" resources 
    For instructors who have little time to adapt resources, OER projects like OpenStax and the Open Learning Initiative (Carnegie Mellon) are increasingly making "packaged" resources available. Packaged resources include textbooks with accompanying ancillary resources (slides, clicker exercises, learning materials).
  • Student-driven, multi modal learning
    OER are one way of engaging students more deeply in the educational process, moving beyond lecture and text. Open education gives instructors the tools to involve students in the creation of learning materials.

Adapted from the Open Educational Resources (OER): Tools for Affordable LearningWashington State University LibGuide.

"The terms 'Open Content' and 'Open Educational Resources' describe any copyrightable work (traditionally excluding software, which is described by other terms like 'Open Source') that is either in the public domain or  licensed in a manner that provides users with free and perpetual permission to engage in the following 5R activities":


This material is based on original writing by David Wiley, which was published freely under a Creative Commons Attribution CC BY 4.0. license at

  Characteristics of a good OER  

  • Searchable – it can be in multiple locations
  • Clearly described
  • Clearly licensed (normally through Creative Commons)
  • From a source you trust
  • Easy to modify
  • Free-standing – it does not assume knowledge of other resources
  • Free of copyright content
  • Being used by/recommended by people like you
  • Imperfect – it just needs to work for you.

Adpated from: The Open University. OpenLearn. Creating open educational resources. What makes a good OER?

Related Guides

 Open Educational Resources by NUS Libraries

The above guide covers the following:

OER in Law

An index to mainly open access legal resources was first set up in 1994 to complement the Law Library's collection and housed on the library's homepage. To "mirror" the collection, the coverage of resources in the index included mainly websites from the common law jurisdictions and ASEAN as well as international law websites.

These indexes have now been incorporated into the library's libguides:

Law in Singapore
How to Find (Articles, Books, Cases, Legislation & Treaties, Theses) | Journals | Web Resources (By Subject) | Databases | Reference Sources | Forms & Precedents | Legal Abbreviations & Citation | Legal Skills & Research | 
Library Guides | FAQs

ASEAN Law Resources
ASEAN | Brunei | Cambodia | Indonesia | Lao PDR | Malaysia | Myanmar | Philippines | Singapore | Thailand | Vietnam

Law in Foreign Jurisdictions
Australia | Canada | China | Europe | Hong Kong | India | New Zealand | Pacific Islands | South Africa | United Kingdom | United States

International & Comparative Law
General | International Organisations | International Courts & Tribunals | Treaties & International Conventions | Databases | Books | Foreign Jurisdictions

NUS Law Working Paper Series

Browse the following Working Paper Series by NUS Law and its Centres for relevant articles (mostly published on SSRN):