Why are Open Educational Resources?
The 5 Rs of OER
Revise – the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language)
Remix – the right to combine the original or revised content with other material to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)
Reuse – the right to use the content in a wide range of ways (e.g., in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video)
Retain – the right to make, own, and control copies of the content (e.g., download, duplicate, store, and manage)
Redistribute – the right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend)
OER in Higher Education
Many faculty already use OER — examples include showing an openly licensed course video or using curricular material created and shared by others. Open licensing allows faculty to create and share syllabi, lesson plans, and even entire textbooks for their courses. Further, OER provides opportunities for faculty in different institutions around the world to collaborate and to build off of each others' work.
Students can play a significant role in creating and improving OER ─ from simple assignments to full textbooks. One example from Plymouth State University in New Hampshire is The Open Anthology of Early American Literature. This anthology was created by students working together to find public-domain materials, write topic introductions, craft discussion forum prompts, and create assignments to go along with the materials to create a full OER textbook.
Librarians play a key role in OER initiatives by advocating, developing, exploring, and managing OER. Along with helping faculty find existing OER, librarians can often explain copyright concepts and provide guidance in adaptation and creation of OER.
Instructional Designers can work with faculty to integrate OER into courses; they can also help to share and publish course design templates as OER. Many instructional designers and technologists work with librarians and IT services to help integrate OER into learning management systems such as Blackboard, Canvas, Brightspace, Moodle, etc.
Open Licensing & OER
By definition, OER reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license permitting free use and repurposing by others.
The most commonly used intellectual property license for OER that permits free use and re-purposing is called Creative Commons (CC) Licensing. CC licenses work with legal definitions of copyright to automatically provide usage rights pertaining to that work.
A (Very) Brief History of Open Educational Resources
1994 - Wayne Hodgins coined the term “learning object”
1998 - David Wiley coined the phrase “open content”
2001 - Larry Lessig, Hal Abelson, and Eric Eldred founded Creative Commons
2001 - MIT introduced their OpenCourseWare project (MOOCs)
2002 - UNESCO coined the term "Open Educational Resources” (OER).
2012 - UNESCO adopted the 2012 OER Paris Declaration, an international commitment to OER
This movement continues to gain momentum, and the community of open education practitioners continues to expand. Educators around the world are increasing their use and creation of these resources in their teaching and learning.
Read the following resources to learn more about the history of OER.
Bliss, T. J. and Smith, M. (2017). A brief history of open educational resources. In: Jhangiani, R S and Biswas-Diener, R. (eds.) Open: The philosophy and practices that are revolutionizing education and science. (pp. 9–27). Ubiquity Press. https://doi.org/10.5334/bbc.b
Weller, M. (2017). The battle for open: How openness won and why it doesn’t feel like victory. Ubiquity Press. https://doi.org/10.5334/bam
Wiley, D. (2020, January 16). Clarifying and strengthening the 5Rs. Improving learning. https://opencontent.org/blog/archives/6271
Information for this module was consulted and adapted from:
"Defining the "Open" in Open Content and Open Educational Resources" by David Wiley is licensed under CC BY 4.0.