OER university: Feb 16-Mar 2, 2011

What's OER?

What's OER?

by Paul Stacey -
Number of replies: 3
Today I got an e-mail from someone saying "this [the OER Challenge] sounds like fun and very interesting. However, I've got a prob- what's OER?"

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:
and many more.

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:
  1. Giving Knowledge for Free: The Emergence of Open Educational Resources
  2. On the Sustainability of OER initiatives
  3. Open Educational Resources, Open Content Licensing
All these and more are available from the OECD website at: http://www.oecd.org/document/20/0,2340,en_2649_34859749_35023444_1_1_1_1,00.html.

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.

In reply to Paul Stacey

Re: What's OER?

by Wayne Mackintosh -
Hi Paul,

That's an excellent summary of OER. Good links and references.

In addition, the OER Foundation has been working on a collaborative project with the volunteers from WikiEducator, the OpenCourseWare Consortium and Creative Commons to develop an online course on OER, copyright and open content licensing for educators. UNESCO will sponsor a free online workshop which is scheduled for 21 - 25 March.

If you know of anyone who wants to learn more about OER, copyright and creative commons licenses -- please feel free to spread the news about the Open Content Licensing for Educator's Course.

Registrations are open for the free workshop sponsored by UNESCO. Spread the word :-)


In reply to Paul Stacey

Re: What's OER?

by Edward Mokurai Cherlin -
In reply to Edward Mokurai Cherlin

Re: What's OER?

by Barbara Dieu -
Thank you, Edward. Librarian Chick has compiled an exhaustive list!
However, although many of them may be free , they are not open as they just allow viewing and do not permit revision, remix or redistribution.

She does point to a number of Open Source and Open Courseware links.