Open Education Resources
What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?
Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research materials that are made freely available that you may use and reuse at little or no cost. Unlike resources under strict copyright terms, OER have been authored or created by an individual or organization that chooses to retain few, if any, ownership rights. OER are made available in a variety of digital and print formats. (Adapted from OER Commons)
Creative Commons Licensing
Most OER are covered by licenses that allow users to access, share, and re-mix the resources. The most common type of licensing is Creative Commons Licensing, which allow a creator to clearly communicate how their works can be used.
Open Textbooks offer an affordable, high-quality alternative as a class textbook. Open textbooks are commonly made available as PDF, ePub, Word, or html files, supporting accessibility for learners.
Below is a selection of Open Textbook Repositories offering peer-reviewed textbooks under Creative Commons or other open licenses:
General OER can include open syllabi, assignments, assessment tools, and other web resources related to teaching and learning. Below are a list of some resources for finding general OER:
- Alberta Open Educational Resources (ABOER)
- Multimedia Exchange Resource for Learning and Online Teaching (MERLOT)
- OER Commons
- Open Course Library
- The Public Domain Review
There is a wide breadth of open educational resources available; however, you still want to make sure that you are finding high-quality resources that are made available using best practices in Open Education.
When evaluating an open resources, you should be looking for:
An OER that has been peer reviewed
A fully accessible resource that is made widely available in accessible formats
An OER that has been maintained and updated
An OER that includes clear instructions for use, including:
- Has the OER been licensed using a creative commons license
For more information, visit BC Campus’ Faculty guide to Evaluating OER and the Council of Atlantic University Library’s A Helpful Guide to Approaching & Evaluating Open Textbooks.
Questions About OER
Contact Alison Foster (FosterA25@macewan.ca)
Visit these resources to learn more:
Adopting Open Education Resources in the Classroom: provides a thorough overview of licensing, finding, and evaluating OER.
Guidelines for open educational resources (OER) in higher education: Produced by UNESCO.
Open Education Fact Sheet: produced by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC).
- Alberta Open Educational Resources Starter Kit