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Open Educational Resources: Why OERs

This guide provides instructor a basic understanding of Open Educational Resources. OERs are educational materials and resources offered freely and openly for anyone to use.

Benefits of OERs

The benefits of open education include the following:

Free and Legal to Use, Improve and Share

  • Education open to anyone and affordable, ideally its free
  • 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.

Creating OERs

OER (Open Educational Resources) Introduction

The Five Rs of Open Content

OER are those teaching and learning materials that are available either in the public domain or under an open license. OER, particularly open textbooks, save students money while empowering faculty by giving them more control over their course content.

The power of open educational resources comes from a set of permissions known as the "5 Rs of OER", which allows you to:

  • Retain: Users have the right to make, own, and control copies of the content (e.g., download, duplicate, store, and manage)
  • Reuse: User have the right to the use the content in a reused in its unaltered form and wide range of ways (e.g., in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video)
  • Revise: User have right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language)
  • Remix: User have right to the combine the original or revised content with other open content to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)
  • Redistribute: User have the right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend)

These permissions are usually granted by the copyright holder of a work by licensing it under a Creative Commons license.

Further reading

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