what is oer?

what is OER?

Open education resources (OER) are “educational materials made freely and legally available on the Internet for anyone to reuse, revise, remix and redistribute.” [1] In other words, there’s never a need to wonder if you’re breaking copyright law when reusing these materials. It’s legitimately allowed.

Why does it matter? The fact that something already resides on the web does not mean that its author has granted permission for others to reuse it. The main thing to remember is that Free is Not Always Open. If you’re working on something new and exciting you’d like to release to others, applying an open license – e.g. one from Creative Commons – ensures it a long and healthy life span.

The definition released by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation,

OER are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge.[2]

For many, the idea that materials may be re-used by others is enough! Others feel strongly that educational materials – lesson plans, readings, videos, even images − must also be available for re-purposing: that is, removal from one context and adaptation for another one.

There’s a wealth of info available about open educational resources, how they work, and why they matter. OERx is a great place to cut your teeth on all this jargon. Dive on in!

Questions? Ideas? Send us your musings or tweet @salientresearch. Or check out our FAQ!


[1] http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/labor/news/2012/02/07/11167/dramatically-bringing-down-the-cost-of-education-with-oer/

[2] http://www.hewlett.org/programs/education/open-educational-resources

[3] https://wiki.creativecommons.org/What_is_OER