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Open Educational Resources

Frequently Asked Questions - Open Educational Resources

The generally accepted definition of open educational resources is this one, from OERCommons:

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that are freely available online for everyone to use, whether you are an instructor, student or self-learner. Examples of OER include: full courses, course modules, syllabi, lectures, homework assignments, quizzes, lab and classroom activities, pedagogical materials, games, simulations, and many more resources contained in digital media collections from around the world.

  1. The Open Professionals Education Network sponsors a search engine that can help you locate OER materials from various web sources and includes tips for using the different websites. It allows searches for videos, images and music, too.
  2. At the OER Commons website, you can browse to locate materials, or, if you prefer, use their topics list.
  3. The Community College Consortium for open educational resources lists open textbooks by discipline.
  4. The Open Course Library "is a collection of shareable course materials, including syllabi, course activities, readings, and assessments... Unless otherwise noted, all materials are shared under a Creative Commons (CC BY) license.OCL courses and materials have undergone testing for accessibility and have been designed using the industry-standard Quality Matters (QM) rubric for assessing the quality of online courses."
  5. Lumen Learning offers courses in Mathematics, Science, Technology, General Education, Developmental Education, Business and Education.
  6. Openstaxcollege.org, an initiative of Rice University, is a nonprofit organization "committed to improving student access to quality learning materials." Their peer-reviewed free online and low-cost print textbooks include supporting materials.
  7. Saylor Academy is a large, free and open course initiative on the web funded by the Constitution Foundation. It offers more than 300 free college-level, credit courses for transfer to accredited public and private partner institutions. Many of their online materials are creative commons licensed.

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools. This short video introduction explains Creative Commons.

CAST has launched a new website, entitled On Campus: Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education. This site contains information on accessibility and universal design when used with open educational materials.

More resources are listed at the Open Professionals Education Network (OPEN).