Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research resources that are freely accessible on the Internet and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. OER include open textbooks, lesson plans, lecture notes, assessment tools, games, courses, etc.
The intent of OER is to promote sharing of information and resources amongst educators and to support teaching and learning activities while removing barriers such as costs and copyright clearance. OER can generally be copied, re-used and shared with others. In many cases, the material can also be revised and adapted to one's instructional needs.
OER are different than traditional textbooks and educational materials based on the following 5R principles for users:
The 5R Permissions of OER
|Retain||• Make and own copies|
|Reuse||• Use in a wide range of ways|
|Revise||• Adapt, modify, and improve|
|Remix||• Combine two or more|
|Redistribute||• Share with others|
Although most OER follow the 5R principles, some do have unique restrictions. The best practice is to check the Creative Commons licence, if there is one, of the material you want to use.
Creative Commons licensing is very common for OER. These licences allow creators to set limitations on the use of their materials if they choose to do so. There are 6 types of Creative Commons licences:
|CC BY - Attribution|
|CC BY SA - Attribution & Share Alike|
|CC BY ND - Attribution & No Derivatives|
|CC BY NC - Attribution & Noncommercial|
|CC BY NC SA - Attribution, Noncommercial & Share Alike|
|CC BY NC ND - Attribution, Noncommercial & No Derivatives|
CC BY is the most user friendly licence because only attribution is required. For more information, please visit the Creative Commons website.
|BENEFITS FOR FACULTY|
|Increases student retention by reducing costs|
|Assures academic freedom to modify or add content to your specifications|
|Extends your academic profile|
|Provides more relevant and engaging materials for your students|
|BENEFITS FOR STUDENTS|
|Low cost or free|
|Easy to find and access -- even before classes start|
|More customised and relevant|
*Part of the BCOER's infographic on "Key Things to Know about Open Educational Resources", CC BY 4.0