The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Open Educational Resources

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What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?

Open Educational Resources are educational materials and resources offered freely and openly for anyone to use and under some licenses to re-mix, improve and redistribute.They include:

  • Learning content: full courses, course material, content modules, learning objects, collections, and journals.
  • Tools: software to support the creation, delivery, use and improvement of open learning content including searching and organization of content, content and learning management systems, content development tools, and online learning communities.
  • Implementation resources: Intellectual property licenses to promote open publishing of materials, design-principles, and localization of content.

Why OER?

OER is a relatively new movement in education; educators and learners as well as learning institutions are driving its development. OER provides an alternative to the rising costs of education. For example, in some countries like South Africa, many educators and learners are tapping into OER as the only source for textbooks. OER provides an opportunity to try new ways of teaching and learning, many of which are more collaborative and participatory.

Below are several resources that might be useful to the instructor who would like to know more about the open education movement and how to teach with open education resources.

The OER Starter Kit Workbook

The OER Starter Kit Workbook is a remix of Abby Elder's OER Starter Kit, which was created to provide instructors with an introduction to the use and creation of open educational resources (OER). The text is broken into five sections: Getting Started, Copyright, Finding OER, Teaching with OER, and Creating OER. This edition, developed by CUNY, includes worksheets to help instructors practice the skills they need to confidently find, use, or even create open educational resources (OER).

Open Pedagogy

A website designed to serve as a resource for educators interested in learning more about Open Pedagogy.

An Open Education Reader

This is a collection of readings on open education with commentary created for a graduate course at Brigham Young University and edited by David Wiley. It includes chapters on intellectual property, free software, open source, open content, open textbooks, and research in open education.

The Open Education Handbook

This handbook is a deliverable of the LinkedUp Project, and is a primer on the open education ecosystem, information about useful tools and software, references, a glossary of commonly used terms, case studies and examples, and answers to frequently asked questions. 

An Examination of the Lived Experience of Eleven Educators Who Have Implemented Open Textbooks in Their Teaching

A masters thesis by Danielle Paradis out of Royal Roads University, Victoria, BC. Of particular interest is Chapter 4, Results. It includes quotes from teachers on how they found out about OERs, their experience teaching with them, and motivations behind use.