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Research Guides

Open Educational Resources: What are OER?

A guide to locating open educational resources

Definition

Open Education Resources (OER) are online teaching and learning resources freely available for reuse, re-purposing, and sharing.

Creative Commons, "What is OER?"

Key Features

  1. OER can either be in the public domain, or under a more lax intellectual property license.

  2. OER can be revised, remixed, added upon, translated, and then shared again to meet different needs.

  3. OER can take many forms, such as: syllabi, lesson plans, videos, software, tests, teaching techniques, group activities, writing prompts, textbooks, learning modules, experiments, simulations, and course designs. There are no platform restraints.

Source: The Review Project

Why use OER?

There are many reasons instructors might want to use OER: 

Free and Legal to Use, Improve and Share

  • Save time and energy by adapting or revising resources that have already been created
  • Tailor educational resources to the specific content for your course
  • Expand opportunities for interdisciplinary teaching and learning by allowing you to integrate and revise multiple educational resources
  • Redefine "traditional" learning by incorporating multi-media or scenario-based education
  • Go beyond the confines of "teaching to the book"

Network and Collaborate with Peers 

  • Access educational resources that have already been "peer reviewed" by other experts in your field
  • Review or annotation features and texts so other instructors have more in-depth knowledge of the resource and its quality quickly
  • Make learning and teaching a team project using collaborative platforms

Lower Educational Cost and Improve Access to Information

  • Reduce the cost of course materials, particularly textbooks so that all students have access and aren't as financially burdened
  • Find and access information instantly on virtually any topic, on various devices.
  • Give learners the option of looking at course content openly before enrolling.
  • Reduce the load students bear, possibly increasing graduation and retention rates

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