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Open Educational Resources: Getting Started with OER

How can the Library Help?

As the cost of textbooks continues to rise academic institutions are choosing to identify lower cost and free scholarly works and other educational materials with which to educate students.  Since they are the primary developers of their courses, the identification of low cost and free materials has naturally fallen to Faculty. What constitutes Fair Use, Copyright, Open Access, and Open Educational Resources are very murky waters. Thus, Faculty often struggle to adopt, adapt, or create alternatives to expensive textbooks. Sometimes they will reach out to librarians for help and we want to encourage this practice!

Why OER?

OER Research

What are Open Education Resources?

The terms "open content" and "open educational resources" describe any copyrightable work (traditionally excluding software, which is described by other terms like "open source") that is licensed in a manner that provides users with free and perpetual permission to engage in the 5R activities:

  1. Retain - the right to make, own, and control copies of the content (e.g., download, duplicate, store, and manage)
  2. Reuse - the right to use the content in a wide range of ways (e.g., in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video)
  3. Revise - the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language)
  4. Remix - the right to combine the original or revised content with other material to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)
  5. Redistribute - the right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend)

This material was created by David Wiley and published freely under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license at opencontent.org .

As defined by UNESCO (2002 Forum on Open Courseware):

  • “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. Open licensing is built within the existing framework of intellectual property rights as defined by relevant international conventions and respects the authorship of the work.”

As defined by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation:

  • "Teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge."