Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning resources made freely available through the public domain or open copyright licenses. They include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge (ARL, “Open Scholarship”).
Using “open” as a descriptor depends on how well the resource lets users engage in 5R activities:
- Retain – make, own, and control a copy of the resource (e.g., download and keep your own copy)
- Revise – edit, adapt, and modify your copy of the resource (e.g., translate into another language)
- Remix – combine your original or revised copy of the resource with other existing material to create something new (e.g., make a mashup)
- Reuse – use your original, revised, or remixed copy of the resource publicly (e.g., on a website, in a presentation, in a class)
- Redistribute – share copies of your original, revised, or remixed copy of the resource with others (e.g., post a copy online or give one to a friend)
This is determined by what license a resource has. All created objects fall under copyright by default.
Moez Chakchouk, Asst Director-General for Communication and information, UNESCO
Since 2002… OER has increasingly been recognized as an innovative tool for meeting the challenges of providing lifelong learning opportunities for learners from diverse levels and modes of education worldwide.
Adopting a resource
When you use an OER in the classroom (not created by you), you are adopting it. The process is simple:
- Find a resource
- Review and evaluate to see whether it fits your criteria [PDF]
- Decide if you want to modify it (adaption)
- Check the licensing to see what restrictions there are
- Distribute to your students
- Let us know!