Diving into Open Educational Resources (OER)

With the rising costs of textbooks, it’s imperative that universities and colleges find cost-friendly, quality learning materials for students. Enter Open Educational Resources (OER), stage left.

In 2017, our team dove into OER as a means to bring it to our university’s online and blended programs. Throughout the month of April, we’ll share what we’ve discovered about OER.

What are Open Educational Resources, Anyway?

David Wiley defines OER as materials that fall under the category “5 R’s”: Retain, Reuse, Revise, Remix, and Redistribute (Sorry, no Reducing or Recycling here). Much of this material is shared under Creative Commons licenses, so users are free to adapt it to their needs.

OER materials and tools include:

  • Textbooks
  • Courseware
  • Learning Management Systems (LMS)
  • Learning Objects
  • Open Repositories
  • Open Source Tools

Diving off the deep end with OER can be intimidating, for sure. So, while you can use OER in your course exclusively, a good way to get started is to use OER as supplemental materials to compliment traditional resources.

Our Team’s OER Journey

As a part of our OER exploration, we’ve researched materials, developed a course using only OER (which we presented at the 2017 MI OER Summit), and shared our experience with our university.

We’ll look at the value of OER, where to find quality resources, some discoveries we made while researching the sustainability of OER as well as explore some models of how to bring OER to an institution.

Does your university or institution use open educational resources? In what ways have you found OER to be effective? Or, do you have some questions on OER that you’re hoping we’ll touch on. Give us a shout on Twitter or let us know in the comments.

Author: Jessica Bishop, Instructional Designer

Jessica is a designer and writer focused on learnability, storytelling, sensemaking, wayfinding, and removing barriers to learning. A Michigan native, she likes crafting, reading, walking, and spending way too much time in the distant corners of the internet. You can also find her at JessicaMBishop.com.

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