The definition of OER from the OER Commons is:
"Open Educational Resources are teaching and learning materials that you may freely use and reuse, without charge. OER often have a Creative Commons or GNU license that state specifically how the material may be used, reused, adapted, and shared."
OERs help the diffusion of innovation and excellence among educators, and lower the cost of education for students. They:
- Make higher education more affordable to students, who often have difficulty affording their required textbooks.
- Make educational opportunities available impoverished areas and developing nations, and to learners whose life circumstances don't permit them to attend formal education.
- Allow faculty to customize the content to their learning objectives and their learners, rather than being locked into whatever publishers create.
- Can be saved and shared so that they never go out of print; revised so that nothing goes out of date; translated into any language, adapted for any level or particular interest; made accessible; and converted to work with any technology.
- Give faculty a chance to reach a broader audience and have a greater impact on the world.
- Can be used to let students co-create learning materials to share with others.
- entire courses
- audiovideo resources
- games, simulations
- text content
- learning activities and assessments