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Open Educational Resources (OER)

This guide provides information and resources to help support you learn about OER, find and evaluate existing OER, adopt OER, and create OER projects.

Open Educational Resources (OER) are:

Learning, teaching and research materials in any format and medium that reside in the public domain or are under copyright that have been released under an open license, that permit no-cost access, re-use, re-purpose, adaptation and redistribution by others (UNESCO, 2021).

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 (Hewlett Foundation, 2017).

 

  • Permissions around use and repurposing are granted by use of an open license (for example, Creative Commons licenses) which allows anyone to freely use, adapt and share the resource—anytime, anywhere.

  • “Open” permissions are defined in terms of the “5R’s”: users are free to Retain, Reuse, Revise, Remix and Redistribute these educational materials.

5 R's of Open: Free and able to 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; revise, the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself; remix, the right to combine the original or revised content with other material to create something new; and redistribute, the right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others.


Watch the video below to learn more about OER and how OER can benefit the UCalgary community, including students, faculty, and instructors.

Introduction to OER: Resources for Learning about OER

OER Glossary

Open Educational Resources (OER): Learning, teaching and research materials in any format and medium that reside in the public domain or are under copyright that have been released under an open license, that permit no-cost access, re-use, re-purpose, adaptation and redistribution by others (UNESCO, 2021). 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 (Hewlett Foundation, 2017).

Open Textbooks are a source of information which includes learning, teaching, and research materials in a variety of formats and mediums, designed specifically for the use of students, in a particular subject or field of study which is developed based on an instructional sequence or syllabus and geared towards meeting specific quality and learning requirements within an organized curriculum. This source of information is published by the copyright holder either under an open licence or into the public domain – whereby rights have been waived or expired - allowing for no-cost access, reuse, repurposing, adaptation, and redistribution by others (Adapted from: UNESCO 2003a and UNESCO IBE 2006, UNESCO 2021, and BCcampus Open Education Self-Publishing Guide)

Other Open Textbook and Related Definitions

 

Open Textbook: A textbook released with an open-copyright licence and made available online and in a variety of file types to be freely used by students, teachers, and members of the public (BCcampus Open Education Answer Guide).

Open textbooks: Open educational resources or instructional resources created and shared or published in ways that allow more people to access them. They reside in the public domain — where copy rights have been waived by the copyright holder or copyright has expired — or have been released by the copyright holder under an open-copyright licence; both of these circumstances permits free use and repurposing by others. This prototype is different from how copyrighted materials are typically managed. (See Copyright and Open Licences.) (BCcampus Self-Publishing Guide).

Textbook: A written source of information, designed specifically for the use of students, on a particular subject or field of study that is usually developed based on a syllabus and geared towards meeting specific quality and learning requirements. School textbooks pertain to an instructional sequence based on an organized curriculum. Ideally they serve as a complement to a good teacher and an inquiring learner.
(Adapted from: UNESCO 2003a and UNESCO IBE 2006).


This guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0) unless otherwise noted. Content adapted from work done by BC Campus, Simon Fraser University, University of British ColumbiaGeorge Washington University and more.