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Open Educational Resources (OER): Welcome!

The What and Why of Open Educational Resources (OER)?

 

According to UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) from their 2002 Forum on the Impact of Open Courseware for Higher Educational in Developing Countries:

"Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning and research materials in any medium - digital or otherwise - that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions."  

Why OER? 

  • Access: Students can instantly access, copy and share reading material.
  • Cost: They save money at a time when textbook prices and tuition are rising dramatically. 
  • Customizable: These resources can be tailored for your unique learning environment. 
  • Easily Updated: Changes can be made and uploaded nearly instantaneously.
  • Supplemental Material: OER materials often include educational material to supplement a book/textbook. 

Challenges

  • Quality: Material must be thoroughly evaluated to ensure accuracy and quality standards are upheld.
  • Outdated Material: It is imperative to check whether content is timely and publication dates listed.
  • Stability: Is the site hosting material stable and will it be maintained in the future?
  • Copyright: Some material that may not be true open content can make its way onto OER pages. This must always be double checked. 

Finding OER

1. Take the time to search and explore your options. Finding high quality, timely, and relevant material may take some time. In the same way that you need time to conduct any academic research, finding the best OER will be a process.

2. Search multiple repositories. Although some material may hosted on multiple OER pages, you will find material that is unique to certain pages. 

3. Ask colleagues in your department. Find out who has used OER textbooks and other material in the past, and find out what they would recommend.

4. Consider utilizing more than one resource. Although there may be one textbook that replaces the costly, physical one you used in the past, you may also consider using a variety of material, including multimedia. Don't forget that many OER repositories include supplemental material to go along with a text. 

5. Reach out to your subject-area liaison librarian. They can be a great resource to help you find the right OER for your class. Don't hesitate to reach to this person. If you don't know who your subject liaison librarian is, check here.  

6. Don't give up! It takes time to explore the vast array or what's currently available, and the process can be overwhelming at first. Give yourself time and be sure to reach out if you need assistance.

OER Intro Video