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Professional Development Institute: OER

Professional Development

What is OER?

What are open educational resources?

Open educational resources (OER) are materials that are free to be used in the educational setting. Some materials are free because they are in the public domain. Others are free because they have been released to be used or shared with others. OER includes a wide variety of educational material including digital textbook, videos, lesson plans, assignments, quizzes, games, activities, and more.

Example of an open book on OER
OER Student Toolkit: A BC campus Open Education advocacy guide for student leaders:

Defining the "Open" in Open Content and Open Educational Resources:

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:

  • 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)

OER FAQ: Texas Tech Universities

Check your licensing knowledge game:

Not All OER is the Same

Not all OER is of the same quality:

Check the material for:

  • Clarity, comprehensibility, and Readability
  • Accuracy (content and technical)
  • Adaptability
  • Appropriateness
  • Accessibility
  • Supplemental Resources

OER Providers

Providers of Open Educational Resources

  • Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources: consortium of community and technical colleges committed to access to education and increasing student success through adoption of open educational policy, practices, and resources
  • Merlot: California State University System OER library, which allows you to find material, add material, create material, or create a course ePortfolio
  • MIT Open Courseware: open access to materials used in MIT courses
  • OER Commons: Library of searchable Open Educational Resources
  • Open Course Library: Washing State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, shareable course materials, including syllabi, course activities, readings, and assessments designed by teams of college faculty, instructional designers, librarians, and other experts
  • OpenStax: Rice University OER library
  • Open Textbook Library: University of Minnesota OER library, includes to links to many colleges and libraries
  • University of Pittsburgh: OER: Big List of Resources
  • Word Digital Library: project of the U.S. Library of Congress, makes available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from all countries and culture
  • Open Yale Courses: free and open access to a selection of introductory courses taught by distinguished teachers and scholars at Yale University
  • YouTube: videos on a wide variety of topics

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