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Open Educational Resources

A guide to help faculty find and use Open Educational Resources.

What Are Open Educational Resources (OER)?

Open Educational Resources (OER) are educational materials that either exist in the public domain or are openly-licensed, usually with Creative Commons licenses (DeRosa & Jhangiani, 2018).

This means they are free to use for educators and students.

OER are characterized by the 5 R's. These are rights retained by the instructor and students:

•    Reuse: "use your original, revised, or remixed copy of the resource publicly (e.g., on a website, in a presentation, in a class)"
•    Retain: "make, own, and control a copy of the resource (e.g., download and keep your own copy)"
•    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)"
•    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)"

(Wiley, n.d.)

OER & Open Pedagogy

OER exist in the broader ecosystem of "open", including Open Access, Open Science, Open Data, Open Source, etc. (DeRosa & Jhangiani, 2018). This movement works to ensure that knowledge and capabilities aren't locked behind paywalls, but are accessible to the broadest spectrum of people possible, regardless of ability to pay.

Coupled with this idea of access, OER also facilitate Open Pedagogy.

There are various ways of describing Open Pedagogy, but in general, it is an educational philosophy and practice that enables students to “contribute to the knowledge commons, not just consume from it, in meaningful and lasting ways” [emphasis added] (DeRosa & Jhangiani, 2018).

Because OER are openly-licensed, students can not only freely access these materials, they can freely create with them. The rights of the users enabled by OER are necessary for the practice of open pedagogy (DeRosa & Jhangiani, 2018; Wiley, 2013).

This aspect of OER as opposed to commercial content underscores the Open Pedagogy tenet that "knowledge consumption and knowledge creation are not separate but parallel processes, as knowledge is co-constructed, contextualized, cumulative, iterative, and recursive" (DeRosa & Jhangiani, 2018).

OER Tutorial

Learn more about Open Educational Resources in this robust tutorial from American University:

OER 101 from American University