Definition of OER:
An OER, according to The Learning Portal (2020), refers to any teaching and learning materials that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license such as a Creative Commons License which allows no-cost access, use, adaption and redistribution with no limit or limited access.
What Makes a Resource Open?
David Wiley’s 5 R’s of open education provides a good summary of how to answer this question:
From: The Learning Portal. (2020). About open educational resources. Retrieved from https://researchguides.library.brocku.ca/c.php?g=648524&p=4548113
From: Brock University. (2020). What makes a resource open? Retrieved from https://researchguides.library.brocku.ca/c.php?g=648524&p=4548113
This video defines what open educational resources (OER) are, provides reasons why they should be used in courses and explains what Creative Commons' Licenses are. One good reason to use OER is that there are often high costs associated with textbooks which has an impact on whether students can purchase them for academic programs. If freely available OER are successfully used, they can remove the barriers and make textbooks more accessible for students when studying and preparing assignments. It's important to note that OER can be syllabi, Powerpoint slides, quizzes, videos, textbooks and more. Lastly, OER are effective to use since they can be reused and adapted to suit curriculum.
There are many ways to find OER including open textbooks, courses, multimedia resources, syllabi, quizzes and more. They can be found by searching Google, but it is often more time efficient to find them through specific and well known OER repositories. Below are examples and recommendations of these repositories. If you have any questions about locating OER using repositories, don't hesitate to contact Library Commons staff.
Not all OER are created equal; therefore, it's very important to evaluate them using criteria such as:
See the links below for more more detailed rubrics and accessibility guidelines on how to effectively evaluate OER.
From: The Learning Portal. (2020). Evaluating oer. Retrieved from https://tlp-lpa.ca/oer-toolkit/finding-curating
These resources and key organizations such as UNESCO, BCcampus, eCampusontario and the Creative Commons, provide great information about all aspects of OER. The toolkits and guides are particulary useful for practical and theoretical guidance on how to curate, create, evaluate and adapt OER.
This video makes the important point the world and communication are evolving rapidly and that one new form of effective communication is open educational resources (OER). OER are well defined as sustainable, relevant and freely available educational resources in the formats of course materials, textbooks, syllabi, videos and more. OER help educators provide and keep up with rapidly evolving knowledge in the education landscape.