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OER overview

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What are OER? 

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research materials in any medium that permit no-cost access, use, adaptation, and/or redistribution by others. They include textbooks, curricula, syllabi, lecture notes, question banks, videos, audio, simulations, assessments, etc.  

Adapted from "Open Education: Content" (EDUCAUSE) 

Why OER? 

  • To remove access barriers as OER are free to use, easily shared, and can be kept forever 
  • To make course materials affordable, resulting in significant cost saving for students  
  • To adapt content easily to suit pedagogical needs (e.g. timely updates, local examples) 
  • To improve student experience with potential positive impact on student success

"OER (Open Educational Resources) Introduction II" by Brendan Walsh, with closed captions, CC BY

A compass on a rock against a waterfall

How are OER licensed? 

In order for OER to be shared and adapted in a timely manner to benefit learners and educators, open licensing is crucial in the process. Open licenses such as Creative Commons licenses allow OER to be retained, reused, revised, remixed, and redistributed based on standardized conditions (e.g. attribution, non-commercial, sharealike).

The approach taken is "some rights reserved", which grants certain usage rights to the public, while reserving other rights. Attribution is essential to open licensing as it ensures that authorship is acknowledged and content creators/contributors are properly credited. 

Image: OER Global Logo by Jonathas Mello, CC BY Unported 3.0; Photo by Bryan Minear, public domain

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