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FAC: Affordable and Open Educational Resources (A&OER) - Faculty: A&OER Basics

Open Educational Resources (OER)

OER, Open Educational Resources“Open Educational Resources 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 repurposing by others. OER include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge.” Source: Open Educational Resources, William & Flora Hewlett Foundation 

OER Basics

MOBIUS: Open Textbook Network

Through the MOBIUS consortium of libraries, ECC is a member of Open Textbook Network, an alliance of hundreds of colleges, universities, and consortia partners working together to advance the use of open textbooks in higher education. Textbook affordability is a major concern on college campuses throughout the United States. This partnership provides tools and services that will assist in building sustainable open textbook programs on our campuses. MOBIUS membership allows access to OTN resources including training and space on the OER Commons.

Levels of Openness

1) Truly open - free resources that can be used in whole or part. These may be public domain (copyright free) or have a CC (Creative Commons) copyright license that allows open use, including copying, modifying, use in course packs, etc. 

2) Free to use with restrictions - there are several levels of Creative Commons copyright permissions, some of which require that the resource be kept whole (not modified or remixed), include attribution, and/or include a link back to the source. TED Talks are an example of this. Always read the site's usage policy. 

3) Low cost to the student - this includes library resources or other materials paid for by the institution and  "OER" textbooks on a paid platform. Some institutions provide OER textbooks and subsidized printing, so they are free as e-books and low cost as hard copies for students. Library materials under copyright may or may not already be licensed for classroom use; fair use guidelines may apply. 

Levels of Use

1) Adopt - use an existing open textbook or other OER without making changes.

2) Adapt - modify an open resource or mix parts of several existing open resources.

3) Create - author your own textbook or other resource, and make it open. 

The 5 Rs of Openness, David Wiley

The Open Education movement is built around the 5Rs of Openness:

  • Retain – the right to make, own, and control copies of the content
  • 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)
  • 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 open content to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)
  • 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)  (David Wiley Blog)

TEDxNYED - David Wiley - 03/06/10


With permission

This guide includes content adapted with permission from Sharon Fox, Library Instruction Professor, St. Louis Community College, March 5, 2019.