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Open Educational Resources: Home

What is OER?

Open Educational Resources “ . . . are defined as ‘digitized materials offered freely and openly for educators, students, and self-learners to use and reuse for teaching, learning, and research,’ have been developed (Bissell, 2009, p. 97).  OER include textbooks, short readings, modules, lesson plans, artwork, videos, music, or podcasts (Butcher, 2015).  OER are free in terms of being available for use by educators and students, without license fees (Smith, 2009).  OER are free to be adapted and mixed by faculty (although the extent to which they can be changed varies by the license; see Green, 2017; Hilton et al., 2010) and can be shared on course learning management sites (Feldstein, Martin, Hudson, Warren, Hilton, & Wiley, 2012).”

P. 5 Clinton, Virginia. Cost, Outcomes, Use and Perceptions of Open Educational Resources in Psychology: A Narrative Review of the Literature. Psychology Learning & Teaching. 2019, Vol. 18(l) 4-20.

Why Use OER?

There are many reasons instructors might want to use OER: 

Lower Educational Costs 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

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

Source: University of Illinois's OER Guide

Important Features of OER

  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

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