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Open Educational Resources  

A clearinghouse of OER, including learning object repositories, open course repositories, scholarly repositories, open textbooks, and information about open learning/education in general.
Last Updated: Feb 11, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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What are Open Educational Resources?

Open Education or Open Learning is a peer-to-peer way of doing things. It takes advantage of the Internet, particularly web 2.0 technologies, for sharing, finding, and adapting resources. 

Open Educational Resources (OER) are licensed with a GNU Public License (for software) or a Creative Commons License (for all other kinds of intellectual property) so that they are free to be used and adapted without paying or having to ask for permission.

  • OER save time and effort and diffuse innovations and best practices by allowing educators to use one anothers' work.
  • OER reduce the burden on academic libraries' acquisitions budgets, which have been under increasing strain from the cost of scholarly journals, whose price increases have far outstripped the general rate of inflation.
  • OER make higher education more affordable to students, who often have difficulty affording their required textbooks. 
  • OER make educational opportunities available to teachers and learners in impoverished areas and developing nations, and to learners whose life circumstances don't permit them to attend formal education.

OER include

  • entire courses
  • courseware
  • learning objects of all kinds
  • tools for creating learning objects
  • textbooks
  • open access articles and other scholarly works

Related ideas:

  • Open Education or Open Learning - synonyms for Open Educational Resources.
  • Open Content - texts, images, audio-video resources, and other kinds of intellectual property that are made available for users to copy, share, and remix under a Creative Commons license. Open Educational Resources are a kind of Open Content.
  • Open Source - software that is available for anyone to use or adapt without asking permission or paying under a GNU Public License. Moodle is an Open Source LMS.
  • Open Access - scholarly articles that are made available to readers for free. Gratis Open Access articles are free to read but not free to copy, share, or adapt. Libre Open Access articles are free to read, copy, share, and remix. Libre Open Access articles are a kind of Open Content.
  • Open Textbooks - full ebooks, chapters, and modules that are free to use, copy, share, and remix under a Creative Commons license. Open Educational Resources are a kind of Open Content.

    OER Consortia and Organizations

    • Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources
      The primary goal of the Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources is to identify, create and/or repurpose existing OER as Open Textbooks and make them available for use by community college students and faculty. We are seeking the support of faculty to identify, review, evaluate, and make available high quality, accessible and culturally relevant model Open Textbooks.
    • Connexions Consortium  
      The Connexions Consortium is dedicated to the design and development of collaborative, open source code, software efforts and open access educational content that are targeted at supporting education, research and related scholarly activities. The Consortium is a group of organizations and individuals, who work together to advance open source educational technology and open access educational content.
    • International Council for Open and Distance Education  
      The ICDE is a leading global membership organization on open and distance learning. It has a formal consultative relationship with UNESCO and is supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research.
    • Open Courseware Consortium  
      The OpenCourseWare Consortium is a collaboration of higher education institutions and associated organizations from around the world creating a broad and deep body of open educational content using a shared model.
    • Sloan Consortium  
      The Sloan Consortium is an institutional and professional leadership organization dedicated to integrating online education into the mainstream of higher education, helping institutions and individual educators improve the quality, scale, and breadth of education. Membership in the Sloan Consortium provides knowledge, practice, community, and direction for educators. Originally funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Sloan-C is now a non-profit, member sustained organization

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    Feel free to copy and adapt this guide and its contents for your own use

    Creative Commons License
    Open Educational Resources, Open Textbooks, and Creative Commons by Sarah Morehouse is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.

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