Great to get this question right at the start of this seminar. OER stands for Open Educational Resources. OER are learning materials that are freely available under a license that allows them to be:
- reused - you have the right to reuse the content in its unaltered / verbatim form
- revised - you have the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself
- remixed - you have the right to combine the original or revised content with other content to create something new
- redistributed - you have the right to make and share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others
Implementation involves licenses, tools (store, search distribute, …), processes (design, development, …) and resulting content (full courses, modules, learning objects, media elements, …)
Over the past 5 years Open Educational Resources have flourished and expanded into an international movement. There are many examples of Open Educational Resource initiatives around the world.
My short list of popular OER initiatives includes:
- MIT OpenCourseWare
- Rice University Connexions
- Carnegie Mellon Open Learning
- UK Open University Open Learn
- BCcampus SO*LR
David Wiley’s recent Open Education Resource webcast for Educause provides a good introduction to what OER are all about. You can see the recording of this presentation at: http://educause.adobeconnect.com/p55443669/
Numerous portals that aggregate and list OER available for reuse also exist including:
The Open Education Resource Foundation this seminar is working in partnership with provides a forum for networking together OER initiatives from around the world.
A large range of books and journal articles have been written on OER.
The OECD Centre for Educational Research and Innovation has numerous Open Educational Resource publications including:
- Giving Knowledge for Free: The Emergence of Open Educational Resources
- On the Sustainability of OER initiatives
- Open Educational Resources, Open Content Licensing
The book Opening Up Education: The Collective Advancement of Education through Open Technology, Open Content, and Open Knowledge edited by T. Iiyoshi & M. S. V. Kumar (2008) provides extensive background and case studies.
UNESCO has an Open Educational Resources site including case study stories http://oerwiki.iiep-unesco.org/index.php?title=Main_Page
The July/August 2010 issue of Educause covers the entire field of “open” in education. See:
"Free to Learn: an Open Educational Resources Policy Development Guidebook for Community College Governance Officials" by Hal Plotkin was just published using a Creative Commons license in October 2010 and is available online for free at: http://wiki.creativecommons.org/Free_to_Learn_Guide
For those new to OER I hope the above provides a mini orientation.