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Open Educational Resources

What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?

"…any educational resources (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 are openly available for use by educators and students, without an accompanying need to pay royalties or licence fees.

Butcher, N. (2011). A Basic Guide to Open Educational Resources (OER). Commonwealth of Learning and UNESCO. http://hdl.handle.net/11599/36 

What makes a resource "open"?

David Wiley’s 5 R’s of open education provides a clear summary of how to answer these questions:

  1. Retain – You are welcome to download and keep the materials whether you are an author, an instructor, or a student.
  2. Reuse – You are free to use materials in a wide variety of ways without expressly asking permission of the copyright holder.
  3. Revise – You can adapt, alter, or modify the content to suit specific purposes, such as educators who make the material more relevant to their students. You can also make the resource available in a number of different formats.
  4. Remix – You can pull together a number of different resources to create something new.
  5. Redistribute – You are free to share with others, so they can reuse, remix, improve upon, correct, or review the work.

(Manitoba Open Textbook Initiative)

What's driving open teaching and learning materials?:                        

  • Concern over cost of educational materials e.g. student #textbookbroke campaigns  
  • Technology
  • Culture of openness, sharing and mixing 
  • Growth in distance ed​ucation
  • Need to reach under-served populations  

Benefits of OER

 Challenges of OER

  • Lower costs
  • Built-in accessibility features
  • Customization & flexibility:​ Encourages active learning
  • Broader reach​: available to all
  • Peer scrutiny promotes quality improvement
  • Takes time to find “right” textbook​ 
  • Major shift in editorial production process​: more work for authors/creators
  • Loss of commercial opportunity: no revenue for authors