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Faculty Resources: OER

What is OER?

 What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?

Open Educational Resources ( also termed open content or open courseware ) are educational materials and resources offered freely and openly for anyone to use and under some licenses to be shared, remixed or improved to redistribute.

Open Educational Resources include:

  • Learning content: full courses, course material, content modules, learning objects, collections, and journals.
  • Tools: software to support the creation, delivery, use and improvement of open learning content including searching and organization of content, content and learning management systems, content development tools, and online learning communities.
  • Implementation resources: Intellectual property licenses to promote open publishing of materials, design-principles, and localization of content.

Why OER?

OER is a relatively new movement in education; educators and learners as well as learning institutions are driving its development. OER provides an alternative to the rising costs of education. For example, in some countries like South Africa, many educators and learners are using OER as the only source for textbooks. OER provides a exploratory mechanisms for others means of teaching and learning that are collaborative and participatory. 

For additional information about OERs view Dr. Cable Green's Powerpoint slides here or read the following articles:

Open Access is a movement by scholars and the public to overturn the current system whereby publishers restrict access to articles.

The OpenCourseware Consortium stated: "We envision a world in which the desire to learn is fully met by the opportunity to do so anywhere in the world - where everyone, everywhere is able to access affordable, educationally and culturally opportunities to gain whatever knowledge or training they desire."

For faculty open access provides "better visibility and a higher impact to their scholarship."

For students open access ensures they get the best possible education and are not restricted by the selection of scholarly journals or other resources their campus provides.

Open education resources depend on a type of licensing that allows the copyright owner to freely distribute their materials under certain terms. 

The CC license puts certain restrictions on materials, and there are different permissions associated with each license. 

Always check the Creative Commons licence before using the OER materials.  While most allow re-use with attribution for non-commerical purposes. Some licensing does not allow for re-mixing or adaptation.

OER Communities

OER Opportunities and Resources