1.1 What are Open Education Resources?
The term can include: textbooks, course readings, and other learning content; simulations, games, and other learning applications; syllabi, quizzes, and assessment tools; and virtually any other material that can be used for educational purposes. OER typically refers to electronic resources, including those in multimedia formats, and such materials are generally released under a Creative Commons, or similar, licence that supports open use of the content. OER can originate from colleges and universities, libraries, archival organisations, government agencies, commercial organisations such as publishers, or faculty or other individuals who develop educational resources they are willing to share (Educause, 2010).
You might recall that we briefly talked about OER in Week 2 and how this has partly evolved from the idea that educators could produce Reusable Learning Objects (RLO). With some OER, the focus is more on sharing educational content with a licence, rather than how applicable the materials are for reuse. Some can easily be reused, while others could require editing to make them suitable for use with your learners. Some OER may not meet accessibility or interoperability requirements (Baker, 2008), and quality and accuracy must always be checked. However, repositories and search engines can help you to find good OER for your purposes.
Activity 1 Why are Open Educational Resources important?
Watch this short videoexplaining why OERs are important, and note down what users have permission to do with OERs (found in the section 1:13–1:24).
OERs have a great deal of value to teachers and especially to those who teach online. This activity is designed to illustrate why OERs may be important to you as you take your teaching online.