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What are Open Educational Resources (OERs)?
"Open Educational Resources (OERs) are any type of educational materials that are in the public domain or introduced with an open license. The nature of these open materials means that anyone can legally and freely copy, use, adapt and re-share them. OERs range from textbooks to curricula, syllabi, lecture notes, assignments, tests, projects, audio, video and animation." (UNESCO)
OERs include digital learning materials such as: open textbooks, full courses, modules, syllabi, lectures, homework assignments, quizzes, lab activities, games, simulations, etc.
The 5R Permissions of OERs
Reuse: Use the content in its unaltered form
Revise: Adapt, adjust, modify, improve, or alter the content
Remix: Combine the original or revised content with other OER to create something new
Redistribute: Share copies of the original content, revisions or remixes with others
Retain: Keep access to materials after the learning event
The 5Rs of OER was created by David Wiley and published freely under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.
Open License - Creative Commons Licenses
Authors use open licenses to grant permissions for use of their works in ways beyond what copyright normally allows. Open licenses do not replace copyright but work alongside it, allowing authors to keep their copyrights while permitting others to use their works.
Creative Commons licenses are the most commonly used open licenses for open educational resources (OER). These licenses come in a variety of forms, giving authors multiple choices in how their works can be used. OER are made available with the 5R permissions, and authors can apply Creative Commons licenses to their works to provide these permissions.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 508), as well as good teaching practice, require that all online educational materials be accessible to students with disabilities. When discussing accessibility in terms of OER there is often an assumption that all products, platforms, and materials are able to be accessed by all individuals. Please know that this is not always the case and that not all OER are inherently accessible for individuals with disabilities. Some basic checks when evaluating a resource include checks for closed captioning on all videos and the ability for assistive technology to interact with products, platforms, and materials.
Open textbooks offered by the major OER publishers are likely highly accessible but still require verification. In general, accessibility varies by text, but the open license gives you permission to revise the content to improve accessibility.
Bridgewater State University Library Research Guide on Open Educational Resources (OER) Services is a derivative of multiple Open Educational Resources (OER) Guides used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. This guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License by Maxwell Library.
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