An introduction to Open Educational Resources (OER)
An introduction to Open Educational Resources (OER)

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

An introduction to Open Educational Resources (OER)

1 Open Educational Resources (OER)

The internet provides vast amounts of OER for use and reuse. This may be text, video, graphics or audio and is free of charge. It’s usually produced by educational institutions and published online to the general public for their immediate use or for repurposing according to the users’ needs. This fast-paced Short History of English , for example, was loaded onto YouTube by The Open University in 2011.

Download this video clip.Video player: Short History of English
Skip transcript: Short History of English

Transcript: Short History of English

The History of English in 10 Minutes

Chapter Two, the Norman Conquest, or Excuse My English. 1066. True to his name, William the Conqueror invades England, bringing new concepts from across the Channel, like the French language, the Doomsday Book, and the duty-free Gauloises multipack.

French was de rigueur for all official business, with words like judge, jury, evidence, and justice coming in and giving John Grisham’s career a kick start. Latin was still used ad nauseum in church, but the common man spoke English, able to communicate only by speaking more slowly and loudly until the others understood him.

Words like ‘cow’, ‘sheep’ and ‘swine’ come from the English-speaking farmers, while the a la carte versions – ‘beef’, ‘mutton’ and ‘pork’ – come from the French-speaking toffs, beginning a long running trend for restaurants having completely indecipherable menus. All in all, the English absorbed about 10,000 new words from the Normans, though they still couldn’t grasp the rules of cheek kissing.

The bonhomie all ended when the English nation took their new war-like lingo of armies, navies and soldiers and began the 100 Years’ War against France. It actually lasted 116 years, but by that point, no one could count any higher in French, and English took over as the language of power.

End transcript: Short History of English
Short History of English
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

OER can also be created by individuals, so the production of OER is not exclusive to educational institutions although largely dominated by them.

In this course you will look at three institutional OER initiatives – MIT’s open courseware, Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative and The Open University’s OpenLearn. You will get a flavour of how different OER initiatives design and present the content for their audiences.

You will also have the option to find, discuss and redesign some OER material. You can choose your audience for the material and redesign it to fit their needs.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371