Thanks to Steven Bell at Temple University for creating the original version of this guide and for making it available to all by using a Creative Commons license.
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Open Educational Resources (OERs) are educational materials and resources that are publicly accessible. OERs are openly available for anyone to use which are under Creative Commons licenses to re-mix, improve and redistribute.
OER is a movement in education that seeks to counter costly textbook prices with publicly accessible content. OERs are licensed, so that they can be freely distributed and shared. Here is the official definition from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization:
Open Educational Resources (OERs) are any type of educational materials that are in the public domain or introduced with an open license. The nature of these open materials means that anyone can legally and freely copy, use, adapt and re-share them. OERs range from textbooks to curricula, syllabi, lecture notes, assignments, tests, projects, audio, video and animation.
Educators and learners as well as learning institutions are driving its development. OERs provide an alternative to the rising costs of education. They alleviate the burden of student debt while providing opportunities to students who might not otherwise be able to afford or access materials. In response to the effectiveness of OERs compared to traditional commercial textbooks, research now indicates that OERs are equally or more effective. Watch the video below in which Dr. John Hilton reviews sixteen research studies comparing OER with traditional textbooks.
OERs provide an opportunity to try new ways of teaching and learning in which are more collaborative and participatory.
Educators across the K-16 spectrum are taking advantage of OERs to (1) move away from traditional textbooks and (2) improve learning by introducing students to more varied and current learning content. In higher education, faculty are adopting OERs as a way to save their students money, but also increase the likelihood that students will acquire and read learning content.
Who is not using OERs? Too often faculty at higher education institutions are not aware of the existence of OERs. Academic librarians and instructional designers are joining forces to help create more awareness at their institutions.
Lumen Learning provides a course for faculty which discusses the adoption, use and the re-purpose of openly licensed educational resources.
Open SUNY Affordable Learning Solutions (ALS) developed a self-paced OER course for faculty, librarians, instructional designers and staff.
Open Washington developed a nine module course covering OER basics.
Self-paced course to open educational resources
Second Place Winner of "Why Open Education Matters"
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