The OER Knowledge Cloud makes use of cookies. By continuing, you consent to this use. More information.
Are OER the same as open learning/open education?

Although use of OER can support open learning/open education, the two are not the same. Making 'open education' or 'open learning' a priority has significantly bigger implications than only committing to releasing resources as open or using OER in educational programmes. It requires systematic analysis of assessment and accreditation systems, student support, curriculum frameworks, mechanisms to recognize prior learning, and so on, in order to determine the extent to which they enhance or impede openness.

Open learning is an approach to education that seeks to remove all unnecessary barriers to learning, while aiming to provide students with a reasonable chance of success in an education and training system centred on their specific needs and located in multiple arenas of learning. It incorporates several key principles:
  • Learning opportunity should be lifelong and should encompass both education and training;
  • The learning process should centre on the learners, build on their experience and encourage independent and critical thinking;
  • Learning provision should be flexible so that learners can increasingly choose, where, when, what and how they learn, as well as the pace at which they will learn;
  • Prior learning, prior experience and demonstrated competencies should be recognized so that learners are not unnecessarily barred from educational opportunities by lack of appropriate qualifications;
  • Learners should be able to accumulate credits from different learning contexts;
  • Providers should create the conditions for a fair chance of learner success1.
As this list illustrates, while effective use of OER might give practical expression to some of these principles, the two terms are distinct in both scope and meaning.

1 Saide (South African Institute for Distance Education) (1996) The Green Paper on Higher Education: An open learning perspective. Unpublished paper, Saide, Johannesburg
Taken from A Basic Guide to Open Educational Resources (OER)


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. ...

OpenStax surpasses $1 billion in textbook savings, with wide-ranging impact on teaching, learning and student success
September 11, 2020
"Less than a decade after publishing its first free, openly licensed textbook, OpenStax - Rice University’s educational technology initiative - has saved students $1.2 billion. "Driven by the belief that everyone should have access to knowledge, OpenStax has published 42 titles for college and high school courses across science, math, social sciences, business and the humanities disciplines since 2012. It has served over 14 million students with its resources, with more than 36,000 instructors from across the world adopting an OpenStax textbook. Every book in its library is available free - forever - to students and independent ...

Comment on Five Alternatives to Expensive Textbooks
September 9, 2020
In 2011, the Globe and Mail newspaper ran an article presenting "Five Alternatives to Expensive Textbooks," by Ritika Puri. While the article is no longer available, the following comment has been preserved. Richart the Lionhearted comment on "Five Alternatives to Expensive Textbooks": I recently purchased the 8th Edition of Perry's Chemical Engineering Handbook for $15 and was very disappointed about the PDF View only option. In addition, the e-book is only an abridged version of the large hard copy of the CEHB. You can by a CD for PCs version for $150 that has the complete contents and full PDF view and copy formats. Plus, if the student underground is working properly, the whole class of 45 students can share the CD, illegally of course, but no different than lending out your hard copy. "Very disappointed in this purchase. I needed this book as a reference and cannot even read most of the charts in it. The charts fill the entire screen of my Kindle but are too light and washed out to read. I also tried reading it on my Kindle for PC with the same problem. The rest of the text is dark and clear, but having unreadable charts makes this book worthless. Buy the hard copy!" ...

The ultimate guide to copyright, fair use, and Creative Commons for educators
July 6, 2020
This Edublogger resource, prepared by Kathleen Morris, Sue Waters, and Ronnie Burt, provides a comprehensive yet reader-friendly overview of copyright for educators: "Copyright is important for all teachers, students, and bloggers to know about. And it doesn’t have to be as complicated as you think. We’re here to break down the basics of copyright and other related topics like fair use, public domain, and Creative Commons." ...