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Open Educational Resources (OER)

What are Open Educational Resources, how can you find them, and most importantly - how can they benefit your classes?

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What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?

Open Educational Resources are educational materials and resources offered freely and openly for anyone to use and under some licenses to re-mix, improve and redistribute.They include:

  • Learning content: full courses, course material, content modules, learning objects, collections, and journals.
  • Tools: software to support the creation, delivery, use and improvement of open learning content including searching and organization of content, content and learning management systems, content development tools, and online learning communities.
  • Implementation resources: Intellectual property licenses to promote open publishing of materials, design-principles, and localization of content.

Why OER?

OER provides an alternative to the rising costs of education. OER provides an opportunity to try new ways of teaching and learning, many of which are more collaborative and participatory. Beyond the financial benefits of adopting OERs:

  • Students have access to the materials when class starts. No more problems with students not having their textbook 2 weeks into the semester.
  • Faculty can pick and choose from multiple sources and use only those parts that are relevant to what they want to cover. Similarly, the content can be modified or customized to fit the instructor's needs. 
  • Students have perpetual access to the class materials (if the material is truly openly licensed) and can refer back to it long after the class is over. Compare this to rented textbooks or expensive, purchased books that have to be returned to recoup some of the cost.

Additional Information

Parts of this guide are based on OER guides from the UMass Amherst and Lansing Community College Libraries.