Was this guide helpful? Let us know!
"Open Educational Resources: The Education Ecosystem Comes to Life" by opensourceway is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.
David Wiley, Lumen Learning
Open Educational Resources (OER) are any type of educational material freely available for teachers and students to use, adapt, share, and reuse. Examples of OER include learning content (such as lesson plans, assignments, textbooks, exams, and videos) as well as tools for learning (like software for creating videos and websites, course management systems, word processing programs, and training materials).
This guide is designed to help the RRU community understand, discover, evaluate, adopt, and adapt OER materials for use in courses.
Textbooks are prohibitively expensive for some students, especially those who rely on grants and student loans to attend university. This is an important equity consideration. Studies show that 60% of students have not bought a textbook because it is too expensive, and 23% of students routinely forego purchasing a required course textbook because of the expense.
OER include not just textbooks, but also lesson plans, assignments, exams, and in-class activities. OER are created by instructors from around the world and shared with others teaching similar topics. Instead of creating course content all on their own, instructors can take advantage of high-quality course materials already made by others. Instructors can then spend more time on their personalized lectures, feedback, and one-on-one assistance for students.
One of the hallmarks of OER is their reusability.
OER are generally offered with Creative Commons licenses that allow the content to be freely reused and remixed with attribution to the original author. This means that you can take a great resource and tweak it to fit your class's needs.
Students often choose to borrow textbooks from the library or rent them from the bookstore in lieu of purchasing the textbook. For those that do purchase textbooks, many attempt to regain their money by selling the books back to the bookstore or online after the course is over. OER are free and available. Students can take their materials with them after class ends, which means that they will always have access to learning materials for future use.
Textbooks and educational materials are often covered by stringent copyright restrictions, which does not allow reuse in other contexts or modifications or derivations. With OER, students and instructors can re-use and re-purpose the materials not just during the class, but in the future as well.
OER are free and available online, which means that anyone can access and use them. When an instructor makes their teaching material openly available, they can teach far beyond their own classroom. Students can also access these materials, whether they are supplementing a course they are already taking or starting out on an educational journey.
By creating and adopting OER, students and teachers can connect around the world, opening up networks of learning and enhancing collaboration opportunities. Read a story here about a yak herder in Tibet learning poetry from a Stanford professor.
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 (1) in the public domain or (2) licensed in a manner that provides everyone with free and perpetual permission to engage in the 5R activities:
(Defining the "Open" in Open Content and Open Educational Resources was written by David Wiley and published freely under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license at http://opencontent.org/definition/.)
Much of the content of this guide has been adopted and adapted from OER: Open Educational Resources by the University of Pittsburg Libraries, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.