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How can education benefit by harnessing OER?

The most important reason for harnessing OER is that openly licensed educational materials have tremendous potential to contribute to improving the quality and effectiveness of education. The challenges of growing access, combined with the ongoing rollout of ICT infrastructure into educational institutions, indicates that it is becoming increasingly important for them to support, in a planned and deliberate manner, the development and improvement of curricula, ongoing programme and course design, planning of contact sessions with students, development of quality teaching and learning materials, and design of effective assessment - activities all aimed at improving the teaching and learning environment while managing the cost of this through increased use of resource based learning.

Given this, the transformative educational potential of OER revolves around three linked possibilities:
  1. Increased availability of high quality, relevant learning materials can contribute to more productive students and educators. Because OER removes restrictions around copying resources, it can reduce the cost of accessing educational materials. In many systems, royalty payments for text books and other educational materials constitute a significant proportion of the overall cost, while processes of procuring permission to use copyrighted material can also be very time-consuming and expensive.
  2. The principle of allowing adaptation of materials provides one mechanism amongst many for constructing roles for students as active participants in educational processes, who learn best by doing and creating, not by passively reading and absorbing. Content licences that encourage activity and creation by students through re-use and adaptation of that content can make a significant contribution to creating more effective learning environments.
  3. OER has potential to build capacity by providing institutions and educators access, at low or no cost, to the means of production to develop their competence in producing educational materials and carrying out the necessary instructional design to integrate such materials into high quality programmes of learning.
Deliberate openness thus acknowledges that:
  • Investment in designing effective educational environments is critically important to good education.
  • A key to productive systems is to build on common intellectual capital, rather than duplicating similar efforts.
  • All things being equal, collaboration will improve quality.
  • As education is a contextualized practice, it is important to make it easy to adapt materials imported from different settings where this is required, and this should be encouraged rather than restricted.

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. ...