Open educational resources are course materials that are shared with an open license so that faculty can do the 5 R’s: revise, remix, reuse, redistribute, and retain. You can download the material, tailor it to your course, save a copy locally, and share it back out with attribution. Students can access the material for free online or in print at low cost.
Open educational resources are abbreviated as “OER.”
Common misconceptions about this term:
- OER are free - OER can be accessed for free online, but print versions will cost money to cover materials, printing, and overhead.
- OER are online - OER can be accessed in print or online (the “O” is for “Open,” not “Online”)
- OER is a recognizable term - the term “OER” is jargon and might not mean anything to students, colleagues, and administrators. Try “affordable textbooks” or “openly licensed materials” instead.
The video below introduces the basics.
Other movements related to “open”
Computer and web-based technologies spawned a number of “open” movements, which can, according to the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Research Coalition (SPARC), “democratize access to knowledge, accelerate discovery, and increase the return on our investments in research and education.”
Open Access is the idea that research should be made freely available via the Internet. It should be free of licensing restrictions so that others can use, enhance, analyze, and build upon the research in any way imaginable. Open Access advocates also encourage authors to make the data accompanying their research articles open.
Open Data is the free, online availability of research data, along with the rights to use, enhance, analyze, and build upon the data for any purpose. Open Data proponents urge researchers to post the data accompanying their research articles to an open data repository.
Open Educational Practices (Open Education)
“Open Education encompasses resources, tools, and practices that are free of legal, financial, and technical barriers” (SPARC). Open Educational Resources (OER), Open Pedagogy and Open Courseware are all examples of Open Educational Practices. This term is sometimes shortened as Open Education.
Open Pedagogy employs strategies that use the affordances of open licenses to get students involved in creative activities with real-world audiences. For more information, click on “Open Pedagogy” in the left-hand menu.
Open Courseware is “a free and open digital publication of high quality college and university‐level educational materials. These materials are organized as courses, and often include course planning materials and evaluation tools as well as thematic content. OpenCourseWare are free and openly licensed, accessible to anyone, anytime via the internet” (Open Education Consortium).