(QESP Editor’s Note:  The following is an extract from a paper by Saleem A,  Department Member, Bharathiar University, Coimbatore, Tamilnadu, INDIA. The original, with details of other global OER initiatives,  is available at  https://www.academia.edu/11646292/Open_Educational_Resources?auto=abstract )

Introduction to Open Educational Resources: 

OER  –  are digital materials that can be re-used for teaching, learning, research and more, made available free through open licenses, which allow uses of the materials that would not be easily permitted under copyright alone. As a mode for content creation and sharing, OER alone cannot award degrees nor provide academic or administrative support to students. However, OER materials are beginning to get integrated into open and distance education. Some OER producers have involved themselves in social media to increase their content visibility and reputation.

OER include different kinds of digital assets. Learning content includes courses, course materials, content modules, learning objects, collections, and journals. Tools include software that supports the creation, delivery, use and improvement of open learning content, searching and organization of content, content and learning management systems, content development tools, and on-line learning communities. Implementation resources include intellectual property licenses that govern open publishing of materials, design-principles, and localization of content. They also include materials on best practices such as stories, publication, techniques, methods, processes, incentives, and distribution. 

What are Open Educational Resources?

Open Educational Resources (OER) are educational materials and resources offered freely and openly for anyone to use and under some license to adapt, copy and redistribute. OER can include course syllabi, presentation slides, image collections, animations, videos, textbooks, research papers and self-assessments. The term “open educational resources” was first adopted at UNESCO’s 2002 Forum on the Impact of Open Courseware for Higher Education in Developing Countries.

“OER” is largely synonymous with another term: Open Course Ware (OCW), although the latter may be used to refer to a specific, more structured subset of OER. An Open Course Ware is defined by the OCW Consortium as ‘a free and open digital publication of high quality university-level educational materials. These materials are organized as courses, and often include course planning materials and evaluation tools as well as thematic content.

OER have the potential to advance the delivery of education by increasing the availability of relevant learning materials, reducing the cost of accessing educational materials, and stimulating the active engagement of teaching staff and students in creating learning resources. The Open Educational Resources (OER) movement encourages the creation of free, high-quality content for community college courses to replace commonly used textbooks.  By promoting OER, community colleges can create sustainable academic resources for students and provide professional development opportunities for faculty.  A wealth of public domain and fair use learning materials are currently available via the internet that faculty can repurpose for use in their classes to replace some of the books required for purchase by students.

(QESP Editor’s Note:  Other papers in this series include


Analysis of PLEs’ implementation under OER design as a productive teaching-learning strategy in Higher Education. A case study at Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia

By María Dolores Castrillo, Elena Martin-Monje and Esteban Vázquez

EU-StORe European Standards for Open Education and Open Learning Resources Open Educational Resources – Quality Standards, Implementation, Sharing and Use

Use and Implementation of OERs in Italy

By Valeria Damiani,  Gabriella Agrusti, Elisa Muscillo

Open educational resources in distance education: Adopting a model of open learning in academic practice, by Charles Kasule, King’s College London Department Member.

“We repurposed a collection of digital learning resources to support programme learning outcomes. These were audio (mp3 files), or videos, PPTs with audio commentaries, and readings that offered a critical approach to understanding learning and teaching in higher education, to be used for self-study by ODL tutors.”

Also relevant is an  October 15, 2019 article in The Conversation, Australia is facing a looming cyber emergency, and we don’t have the high-tech workforce to counter it, by Greg Austin, Professor UNSW Canberra Cyber, UNSW )

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