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Open Education Resources (OER) are online teaching and learning resources freely available for reuse, re-purposing, and sharing.
Creative Commons, "What is OER?"
OER can either be in the public domain, or under a more lax intellectual property license.
OER can be revised, remixed, added upon, translated, and then shared again to meet different needs.
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