UNESCO describes OER as “any type of educational materials that are in the public domain or introduced with an open license” (2016). OER come in many shapes and forms. For instance, they might come as a full course with lesson plans, lecture notes, readings, assignments, videos, and tests, or they might be a single module, textbook, or syllabus. Regardless of the format of your OER, accessibility and open licensing are crucial.
While there is no definitive definition of open educational resources (OER), OER Commons’ definition is widely accepted,
Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that you may freely use and reuse at no cost. Unlike fixed, copyrighted resources, OER have been authored or created by an individual or organization that chooses to retain few, if any, ownership rights. In some cases, that means you can download a resource and share it with colleagues and students. In other cases, you may be able to download a resource, edit it in some way, and then re-post it as a remixed work. How do you know your options? OER often have a Creative Commons or GNU license to let you know how the material may be used, reused, adapted, and shared. (2015)
"Open Books Image" by Sami Kerzel is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
Open educational resources allow instructors to choose the materials best fitted to their students and courses without reinventing the wheel. Expensive publisher textbooks are not a sustainable option for students who cannot afford them. Selecting quality OER and presenting them in accessible ways ensures that students are learning the information most relevant to the course. Over time, instructors can see a decrease in the amount of effort that curriculum development requires, as they are able to adapt materials for new instruction techniques or developments in the field of study. Here are some additional benefits of using OER:
For more information, check out Textbook Affordability Efforts at LBCC.
Home - learn about OER
FAQ - Answers to frequently asked questions
Licenses - learn about open licensing
Find - find OER and see examples of OER
General OER Sites - find OER through general sites
Subject Specific OER Sites - find OER through subject specific sites
Review - learn how to review your OER
Attributions - learn how to attribute OER properly
Accessibility - learn how to make OER accessible
For Grant Recipients - a checklist of LBCC OER grant recipients