Open Educational Resources


In 2002, the Hewlett Foundation began investing in open educational resources (OER), which are high-quality teaching, learning, and research materials that are free for people everywhere to use and repurpose.

We were one of the first institutions to invest in the field, at a time when MIT’s Open Courseware initiative and Creative Commons were in their infancy. Since then, the foundation has partnered with several content producers as well as technical assistance advisors and policy groups to support the creation of an ecosystem of OER groups.

In addressing the costs and quality of learning in the U.S. and the dearth of high-quality course materials, we see an unprecedented opportunity to scale OER and unleash its potential to improve education for the future. Our grantmaking supports mainstream adoption and effective use of openly licensed educational resources that provide students around the world greater access to a world class education.



Support the development of effective, standards-aligned open educational resources for teachers and students in the United States, and promote OER as a way to increase educational access and equity in the developing world.

Postsecondary education

Reduce the cost of college and the quality of pedagogy by ensuring that OER, including open textbooks, are freely available for postsecondary courses, and that OER-based degree pathways are widely accessible in community colleges.

Infrastructure investment

Support people and institutions promoting OER, research on OER effectiveness, and the technical basis for OER, including policy and advocacy, research, open licenses, interoperability, and accessibility standards.

Ideas + Practice

OER Defined

Open Educational Resources 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 repurposing by others. OER include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge.

Our Grantmaking

Cerritos College Foundation
for increasing research and teaching capacity for Open Educational Resources
Open Education Consortium
for general operating support
Ontario College of Art & Design
for support of the Flexible Learning for Open Education (FLOE) program
The Rebus Foundation
for building a platform to help faculty publish open textbooks

Our Team

Barbara Chow 
Program Director
TJ Bliss 
Program Officer
Hillary Bounds 
Senior Staff Counsel
Neha Singh Gohil 
Communications Officer
Laura Kimura
Laura Kimura 
Grants Officer
Marcelle Trethewey 
Program Associate

Learn more

In the United States, OER can fill key gaps in the market for instructional materials and offer educators innovative ways to engage students and exchange best practices. OER can provide up-to-date textbooks and curricula to meet new, higher academic standards. Community colleges are taking the lead in building degree pathways based exclusively on OER, easing the burden of textbook costs for many students and providing opportunities to improve instruction and learning.

Globally, the Hewlett Foundation is partnering with UNESCO and the Commonwealth of Learning to spread OER in different countries, engaging governments with ideas about how to apply OER in schools, and promoting access and equity in the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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