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Open Educational Resources are teaching, learning, or research materials offered freely and openly for anyone to use. The term OER generally refers to digital resources. OER may be in the public domain, or they may be offered under an open license that allows for reuse, revision, remixing, and/or redistributing. Materials with copyright restrictions are not open educational resources.
Examples of OER include, but are not limited to:
Videos, audio clips, animation, images, lecture notes, reading lists, course assignments, syllabi, lesson plans, documents, data, instructional games, tests, and quizzes can all be released as Open Educational Resources.
OER may be found in digital collections around the world. They can be valuable for academic, professional, and personal purposes.
Charles Leadbeater: The era of open innovation
In this deceptively casual talk, Charles Leadbeater weaves a tight argument that innovation isn't just for professionals anymore. Passionate amateurs, using new tools, are creating products and paradigms that companies can't (18.58).
For more information about this subject or this speaker, visit this talk at ted.org.
To learn more about the history and philosophy of OER, as well as the issues surrounding their adoption, you might find these resources useful:
Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources
Composed of over 240 community and technical colleges in North America, its mission is the promotion of open education policies and practices to expand access to education and improve teaching and learning
EDUCAUSE Library: Open Educational Resources
Articles, books, and presentations on a variety of topics related to the adoption of open educational resources
Hewlett Foundation White Paper: Open Educational Resources
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation was an early backer and continues to advocate for open educational resources
SPARC: Open Educational Resources:
An international alliance of academic and research libraries supporting the open creation and sharing of materials used in teaching and learning
UNESCO Guidelines for Open Educational Resources in Higher Education
The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization strongly supports open educational resources
Library photo courtesy of Barry Halkin Photography