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Open Educational Resources (OER)

This guide provides faculty a basic understanding of Open Educational Resources (OER), including how to find, evaluate, use and adapt OER materials for their own courses.

What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?

Definition:

"OER are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others."

Source: The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. For more definitions of OER, see the Creative Commons Wiki.

Important Features of 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 creating
  • Tailoring educational resources to the specific content for your course
  • Expands opportunities for interdisciplinary teaching and learning by allowing instructors to integrate and revise multiple educational resources
  • Redefines "traditional" learning by often incorporating multi-media or scenario-based education
  • Allows instructor to go beyond the confines of "teaching to the book"


Network and collaborate with peers

  • Access to educational resources that have already been "peer reviewed" by other experts in your field
  • Many resources have a review or annotation feature so instructors have more in-depth knowledge of the resource and its quality quickly
  • Makes learning and teaching more collaborative


Lower educational cost and improve access to information

  • Reduces 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, and can access with various devices.
  • Gives learners the option of looking at course content openly before enrolling.
  • Can reduce the students bear, sometimes increasing graduation and retention rates

Traditional Textbooks v. OER

What's the same and what's different?
 

Traditional textbooks vs. OER comparison chart

**Note: This comparison chart was developed by Kate Hess from Kirkwood Community College Library's guide on open textbooks