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What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?

In its simplest form, the concept of Open Educational Resource (OER) describes any educational resource (including curriculum maps, course materials, textbooks, streaming videos, multimedia applications, podcasts, and any other materials that have been designed for use in teaching and learning) that is openly available for use by educators and students, without an accompanying need to pay royalties or licence fees.

The term OER is largely synonymous with another term: Open CourseWare (OCW), although the latter may be used to refer to a specific, more structured subset of OER. An Open CourseWare is defined by the OCW Consortium as 'a free and open digital publication of high quality university-level educational materials. These materials are organized as courses, and often include course planning materials and evaluation tools as well as thematic content'1.

OER has emerged as a concept with great potential to support educational transformation. While its educational value lies in the idea of using resources as an integral method of communication of curriculum in educational courses (i.e. resource-based learning), its transformative power lies in the ease with which such resources, when digitized, can be shared via the Internet. Importantly, there is only one key differentiator between an OER and any other educational resource: its licence. Thus, an OER is simply an educational resource that incorporates a licence that facilitates reuse, and potentially adaptation, without first requesting permission from the copyright holder.

Taken from A Basic Guide to Open Educational Resources (OER)


ICDE OERAC publishes Open Innovation Framework report
March 30, 2022
This report titled “Open Innovation Framework: Emerging Narratives from the ICDE OER Advocacy Committee”, written by the ICDE OER Advocacy Committee (OERAC), addresses Open Educational Resources and Open Science through a proposed framework for Open Innovation. It includes a summary and outputs from a workshop hosted by the committee during the ICDE Virtual Global Conference Week in October 2021. Open Innovation Framework: Emerging Narratives from the ICDE OER Advocacy Committee ...

Two new publications from the Commonwealth of Learning
March 22, 2022
The Commonwealth of Learning has published two new OER-related reports: Open Educational Resources in the Commonwealth 2021 reports on the status of OER in the Commonwealth in the context of the challenges posed by Covid-19 to help countries develop strategies and action plans for the implementation of the 2019 UNESCO Recommendation on OER. Integrating OER in Teaching: A Guide for Teachers in the Pacific , developed as part of the Pacific Partnership for Open, Distance and Flexible Learning Project, is intended to assist teachers in the Pacific to integrate OER into their teaching. ...

New book: An Introduction to Open Education
December 19, 2021
This open-access edited volume published by EdTech Books features chapters by leading and emerging authors and researchers in the field of open education and open educational resources. Sections include the foundations of OE and OER, current research including open textbooks and dashboards, obstacles in the use of OER and open scholarship, and future directions such as open pedagogy. The appendices include several student presentations as slides and videos that can themselves be used as open educational resources. Edited by Yvette Arts, Hannah Call, Melissa Cavan, Theresa P. Holmes, Jacob Rogers, Sara H. Tuiloma, Layne West, and Royce Kimmons. ...

Launch of the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Open Educational Resources
April 7, 2021
The Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property at the American University Washington College of Law has released its Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Open Educational Resources. This document is intended to support authors, teachers, professors, librarians, and all open educators in evaluating when and how they can incorporate third party copyright materials into Open Educational Resources to meet their pedagogical goals. Click here for the report's Cloud record and downloadable Code of Best Practices. ...

2020-21 OA diamond journals study released
March 30, 2021
From June 2020 to February 2021, a consortium of 10 organisations undertook a large-scale study on open access journals across the world that are free for readers and authors, usually referred to as "OA diamond journals". This study was commissioned by cOAlition S in order to gain a better understanding of the OA diamond landscape. The study undertook a statistical analysis of several bibliographic databases, surveyed 1,619 journals, collected 7,019 free text submissions and other data from 94 questions, and organised three focus groups with 11 journals and 10 interviews with hosting platforms. It collected 163 references in the academic literature, and inventoried 1048 journals not listed in DOAJ. The key findings of the study are: a wide archipelago of relatively small journals is serving diverse communities; OA diamond journals are on the road to full compliance with Plan S; a mix of scientific strengths and operational challenges; and an economy that largely depends on volunteers, universities and government. Click here for the study's Cloud record and downloadable Findings and Recommendations. ...