Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that are freely available online for anyone to use, whether you are an instructor, student, or self-learner. OER can exist as smaller, stand-alone resources that can be mixed and combined to form larger pieces of content, or as larger course modules or full courses.
OER is also a process of engaging with the materials. This process involves sharing materials that you have created, either individually or in groups with other teachers and/or learners; using and adapting others’ materials for your own use; and sharing back modifications to or comments about others’ materials so that future users can benefit. In this course, when we use the term OER, we are talking about the process of engaging with the materials. --OER Commons (wiki.oercommongs.org)
OER are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use or re-purposing by others. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge --William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Much as we might measure the openness of a door in inches, we measure the openness of content in terms of the rights a user of the content is granted. The 4Rs Framework describes the four most important rights:
1. Reuse - the right to reuse the content in its unaltered / verbatim form (e.g., make a digital copy of the content)2. Revise – the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., modify a learning activity) 3. Remix – the right to combine the original or revised content with other content to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup) 4. Redistribute – the right to make and share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend)--David Wiley
There are many reasons for choosing Open Educational Resources (OER). Determining whether OER is for you will require an understanding of your own context, and the internal and external forces that impact on your decisions. Your point of view will depend on where you stand within the OER stakeholder group.
If you’re re-using someone else’s materials, the most notable reason for using OER is peace of mind. The resources are licensed to allow the sharing of content and so you will not need to contact the author about making use of his or her work, provided that what you want to do falls within the ‘open’ licence. OERs are free at the point of use, so you will not need to provide monetary compensation for using them. Then there is the opportunity of discovering alternative ideas for presenting and teaching your subject matter, or being able to point your students to the alternative explanations for further study.
OpenCourseWare (OCW) is an educational initiative developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to make the core teaching materials for all MIT graduate and undergraduate classes available at no cost to Internet users around the world. Course materials on the OCW site are "open and freely available worldwide for non-commercial purposes such as research and education, providing an extraordinary resource, free of charge, which others can adapt to their own needs".
Top 10 OpenCourseWare Sites
MIT OpenCourseWare MIT OCW is a large-scale, Web-based electronic publishing initiative funded jointly by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and generous support of the Ab Initio software company. Its goals are to: (i) Provide free, searchable access to MIT's course materials for educators, students, and self-learners around the world, and (ii) Extend the reach and impact of MIT OCW and the "opencourseware" concept.
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.
An open textbook is a textbook published under an open license, offered online by its author(s) or through a non-profit or commercial open-licensed publisher.
There are a number of specialized search engines and repositores based on subject, institution or media that have been set up to make finding OER easier. In fact there are so many, that entire websites are devoted to listing them (e.g. Merlot) and from WikiEducator, an "Exemplary Collection of Open eLearning Content Repositories. Many people even blog about them (e.g., Jeff Cobb's 100 Free Places to Learn Online.)
A partial list of the most popular OER repositories includes:
Connexions is a rapidly growing collection of free scholarly materials and a powerful set of free software tools to help authors publish and collaborate, instructors rapidly build and share custom courses, learners explore the links among concepts, courses, and disciplines. Authors in Connexions are clearly identified. This sort of academic "credit" is important to many authors and is often a prerequisite for them to participate. Moreover, having a named author authenticates the work, which helps out later with quality control. The Connexions project team is from Rice University.
Creative Commons offers license-aware search through Creative Commons enabled services of Google, Yahoo, Flickr, blip.tv, etc.. The search results will only include resources that are licensed under a Creative Commons license which matches your requirements (e.g. resources which may be modified and used commercially). JISC Digital Media maintain guidance on finding video, audio and images online, including those licensed as Creative Commons.
Federal Resources for Educational Excellence (FREE): learning resources from government agencies. Licenses tend to be either All Rights Reserved or public domain.
The Khan Academy is an organization on a mission. We're a not-for-profit with the goal of changing education for the better by providing a free world-class education for anyone anywhere. All of the site's resources are available to anyone. It doesn't matter if you are a student, teacher, home-schooler, principal, adult returning to the classroom after 20 years, or a friendly alien just trying to get a leg up in earthly biology. The Khan Academy's materials and resources are available to you completely free of charge.
MERLOT offers free and open resources designed primarily for faculty and students of higher education. Specifically, MERLOT is a growing catalog of online learning materials, peer reviews, learning assignments, and user comments, organized by discipline into specific discipline communities and created to help faculty enhance their instruction that anyone can use for free.
NROC (Monterey Institute for Technology and Education National Repository of Online Courses) A growing library of high-quality online courses for students and faculty in higher education, high school and Advanced Placement. Courses in the NROC library are contributed by developers from leading online-learning programs across the US. All courses are assessed to ensure they meet high standards of scholarship, instructional value and presentational impact. NROC partners with academic institutions, publishers, teaching organizations, US state and federal agencies, international distributors and others to create a global distribution network to provide courses to students, teachers and the general public at little or no cost. It is supported by a grant from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
HippoCampus is a project of the Monterey Institute for Technology and Education (MITE). The goal of HippoCampus is to provide high-quality, multimedia content on general education subjects to high school and college students free of charge. KCTCS Online is a member of NROC and thus has access to Hippocampus. KCTCS HippoCampus User Guide
OER Commons is a teaching and learning network offering a broad selection of high-quality Open Educational Resources, OER, that are freely available online to use and, in most cases, to adapt to support individualized teaching and learning practices. It is the first comprehensive open learning portal where teachers and professors (from pre-K to graduate school) can access their colleagues’ course materials, share their own, and collaborate on affecting today’s classrooms. It uses Web 2.0 features (tags, ratings, comments, reviews, and social networking) to create an online experience that engages educators in sharing their best teaching and learning practices. OER Commons is a project of ISKME, a recognized leader in applying educational research to educational practice.
The Orange Grove is Florida's digital repository for instructional resources. The repository provides an environment for educators to search for, use, remix, share, and contribute educational resources. The repository can also be integrated with Blackboard. Discover, contribute, and import repository resources directly from Blackboard.
Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools.
Our free, easy-to-use copyright licenses provide a simple, standardized way to give the public permission to share and use your creative work — on conditions of your choice. CC licenses let you easily change your copyright terms from the default of “all rights reserved” to “some rights reserved.”
Creative Commons licenses are not an alternative to copyright. They work alongside copyright and enable you to modify your copyright terms to best suit your needs.
The quickest and easiest introduction to CC is to watch the following short video: "Wanna Learn More?"
One of the best ways to learn about Creative Commons is to watch one of our videos. Are you an IE9 user and having trouble viewing some of these videos? Try installing the WebM plugin for IE9.
This page highlights some of the best known users of Creative Commons licenses. For many more, see our case studies and interviews and watch our blog — especially the milestone tag — for the latest. You can also search hundreds of millions of CC licensed works and choose a license for your own.
KOLTS, Kentucky Community and Technical College System. All Rights Reserved.
300 N. Main Street, Versailles, KY 40383
KCTCS is an equal educational and employment opportunity institution.