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Open Educational Resources: Home

A guide to Open Educational Resources (OER) with tools and strategies to retrieve and create them

What Are OERs?

Open Educational Resources are publicly accessible materials useful for teaching, learning, and assessing as well as for research purposes. They are openly available for anyone to use and, under some licenses, to re-mix, improve and redistribute.

UNESCO defines OERs as "teaching, learning and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise – that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions". 

David Wiley, world expert on open content, states that "the terms 'open content' and 'open educational resources' describe any copyrightable work (traditionally excluding software, which is described by other terms like "open source") that is either (1) in the public domain or (2) licensed in a manner that provides users with free and perpetual permission to engage in the 5R activities."

5R Activities

Materials licenced as OERs generally provide users with free access and permission for the following activities:

  • Retain - the right to make, own, and control copies of the content (e.g., download, duplicate, store, and manage)
  • Reuse - the right to use the content in a wide range of ways (e.g., in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video)
  • Revise - the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language)
  • Remix - the right to combine the original or revised content with other material to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)
  • Redistribute - 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)

Why Use OERs?

Due to their nature, OERs provide the following advantages to their users:

  • Expanded access to learning: OERs bear no access restrictions, which makes them available anytime, anywhere 
  • Ability to modify course materials: OERs can be narrowed down to topics that are relevant to course, or expanded in order to cover further topics deemed important, according to the needs of both teachers and learners 
  • Enhancement of course material: OERs can be implemented with further multimedia contents that can support different learning styles.
  • Rapid dissemination of information: OER textbooks can be updated more quickly than new editions of textbooks can be published, and they can also be put forward online in a faster manner
  • Cost saving for students: students are released from a significant part of the economic burden related to higher education
  • Draw attention to university faculty: releasing OERs means publicity for faculty and for the school