What is OER or Open Educational Resources?

What is OER or Open Educational Resources?

September 11, 2019 0 By Ronny Jaskolski


Hi there. I am John Bond from Riverwinds Consulting
and this is Publishing Defined. Today I am going to talk about OER or Open
Educational Resources. OER is an umbrella term for freely accessible,
openly licensed text, media, and other digital assets that are useful for teaching, learning,
and assessing as well as for research purposes. The movement is an outgrowth of the open access,
open science, and open education movements. The term OER got started in the late 90’s
or early 00’s and is usually credited to David Wiley, MIT the William and Flora Hewlett
Foundation, who all played separate roles in launching the valued movement. OER material is usually digital, and carries
a broad level of openness with ready access with no restrictions on reuse, usually using
a Creative Commons license. In fact, many times the material can be personalized
to an institution or school. The material comes in the form of student
textbooks or workbooks, faculty resources, supplemental content, videos, worksheets,
software, and other materials. The digital and open nature of the material
means easier revising when errors are found or the content becomes outdated content, with
reduced time for these revisions. The obvious benefit is very low or no costs
to the student or the school/institution. The initial focus of the OER movement was
on K to 12 education, but it quickly expanded to higher education including highly academic
fields. Higher education is a natural place for OER
to blossom and succeed as course materials continue to rise in price. OER faces a few challenges. First there is no universal open file format
for OER materials. Second, the perception still exists that free
means lower quality or unreliable quality. Expanding acceptance of open access journal
articles may be helping to change that. Also, efforts such as Center for Open Education
at the University of Minnesota to have faculty around the country review and rate the material
will help ensure quality and reliability with this content. There is a lot going on in this area. An organization such as OER Commons (at oercommons.org)
is leading the way. They “offer a comprehensive infrastructure
for curriculum experts and instructors at all levels to identify high-quality OER and
collaborate around their adaptation, evaluation, and use to address the needs of teachers and
learners.” Major institutions such as MIT, Google, the
William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, many of the other major foundations, and many state
and national governments are investing heavily in developing and promoting OER. I look forward to reporting back on OER’s
headway into higher education, particularly STEM education, very, very soon. Well that’s it. I’ve released a new eBook called, “The
Request for Proposal in Publishing: Managing the RFP Process.” It is a short, focused guide to this essential
business task that associations or societies use to find potential publishing partners. See the link in the notes below for more information
on the book or how to purchase it. Hit the Like button below if you enjoyed this
video. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel or
click on the playlist to see more videos OER. And make comments below or email me with questions. Thank so much and take care.