Open educational resources (OER) are educational materials and resources offered freely and openly for anyone to use and under some licenses re-mix, improve and redistribute.
Drawing inspiration from open source models, principles and practices to promote access to the design and production of goods and knowledge, and utilizing Creative Commons intellectual property licenses and tools, the OER movement seeks to provide more equal access to knowledge and educational opportunities.
Through its Open Educational Resources Initiative, the Hewlett Foundation has been perhaps the leading champion of OER projects around the world, supporting institutions and organizations that develop and provide online access to open educational content around the world. (more information) Hewlett's OERderves blog is a key source of news on the topic.
The OECD's Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI) has an influential project investigating issues related to Open Educational Resources.
- A Review of the Open Educational Resources (OER) Movement: Achievements, Challenges, and New Opportunities
- Giving Knowledge for Free: The Emergence of Open Educational Resources
Prominent OER examples
- Carnegie Mellon University's Open Learning Initiative provides openly available and free online courses and course materials that enact instruction for an entire course in an online format.
- Connexions is an environment for collaboratively developing, freely sharing, and rapidly publishing scholarly content on the Web
- Curriki supports the development and free distribution of educational materials.
- MIT Open Courseware, perhaps the most well known OER initiative, provides free access to MIT course materials.
- OER Commons is a teaching and learning network of shared educational materials.
- OpenLearn provides access to course materials from The Open University (UK).
- Open Learning Exchange.
- WikiEducator is a community resource supported by the Commonwealth of Learning for the development of free educational content.
- Wikiversity is a community for the creation and use of free learning materials and activities, sponsored by the people behind the Wikipedia.
- The Commonwealth of Learning has put together a useful short draft paper on Open Licenses copyright for authors, educators and librarians, especially Chapter 8 (pg. 87).
For additional information
- OER Grapevine promotes discussion and cooperation among projects relating to open educational resources (OER).
- ccLEARN, the new education division of Creative Commons, launched in the summer of 2007, with support from the Hewlett Foundation. Working with a number of global OER initiatives, it seeks to help minimize barriers -- legal, technical and social -- to the sharing and reuse of educational materials.
- The Development Gateway maintains a large database and community of resources related to all aspects of Open Educational Resources.