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Open Educational Resources


"On open educational resources -- Beyond definitions,"
by opensourceway, CC BY-SA 2.0


Open Educational Resources, or OERs, are classroom and study materials that are avaliable online and that can be reused and modifed for educational purposed by others.

This guide provides

What are Open Educational Resources?

According to its 2007 report "Giving Knowledge for Free," the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), OER materials share the following characteristics:

  • They are created with an educational intent and have pedagogical value.
  • They are available online in a digitized format.
  • They are available to educators and learners without any cost.
  • They can be reused and customized (most are licensed under Creative Commons licenses).

Open Educational Resources can take the form of any materials associated with teaching and learning, including:

  • Lesson plans
  • Textbooks 
  • Learning modules
  • Lecture notes and slides
  • Syllabi
  • Assignments 
  • Podcasts and videos
  • Training materials

Why Use Open Educational Resources?

There are several possible benefits both to using OERs and to sharing your own materials as OERs. Open Eductional Resources may:

  • showcase the school's educational resources
  • raise the teaching reputations of both the faculty member and the university
  • encouragie peer review and collaboration of educational materials
  • support curriuclum development
  • allow potential students to examine the curriculum before selecting courses

Concerns About OERS

While there are considerable potential advantages to OERs, there are concerns about them as well:

Quality control: Some faculty are have concerns about the quality and value of OERs.

Copyright concerns: Knowing what you can do (and cannot do) with a specific OER can be confusing.

Locating OERs: Finding quality OERs and modifying them for a specific purpose requires may require a significant time commitment.

Right now, these concerns have been voiced, but not investigated.

As more OERs are used in the classroom, these issues may be resolved or realized, and other concerns may surface.