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Faculty Open Educational Resource Toolkit: About OERs

What are Open Educational Resources?

Open Education Resouces are free-to-use information resources made legally available online. They are "free" not only in that there is no cost to the user, but they also usually have generous copyright licenses that allow for sharing, reproduction, and making derivative works, and access is not restricted by geography, subscriptions, or other such barriers. All kinds of media and genres can be OERs, including books, articles, videos, software, educational kits, and more.

Where do OERs come from?

Open Education Resources come from a variety of publishers and providers, including higher education institutions and government entities. Low cost does not indicate low quality since these projects and their dissemination still requires labor and investment. They are sometimes sponsored by charitable endowments, non-profits, and other organizations. When using any kind of information resource, whether Open or proprietary, considering the source, its authors, age, purpose, and its own citations is always necessary.

Why use OERs?

Because of their accessibility, OERs can be assigned or recommended to students easily, even uploaded in full to BlackBoard with no restrictions. Links to OER content can shared with ease because there is usually no login and certainly no paywall obstructing access to the materials.

You can also develop OERs of your own for the benefit of your field and your own professional development. Using an Open publishing model will make your work available to more readers, which could increase the number of people citing your work.

Where can I get OERs?

The pages of this guide have links to websites providing various types of open educational resources: