Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning and research materials in any format that reside in the public domain or have been released with an open license that permits access, use, repurposing, and/or redistribution by others with limited or no restrictions (Atkins, Brown & Hammond, 2007).
OER can include full courses, course materials, textbooks, interactive materials such as simulations and role plays, databases, software, apps (including mobile apps), websites, videos and any other materials useful for teaching or research.
OER are specifically designed by their creator/s to be free, openly available, and are often licensed to be re-used, re-mixed, and re-distributed. Open is not just about low cost (though that is an important benefit of using OER) but about the ability to take what others have created, customize it for your specific educational needs, and then share your creation with others.
OER can come in a variety of forms:
Primary sources - Images, video, and sound recordings. Some sources are in the public domain, while others have been licensed as open by their creators. In addition, many texts that are in the public domain are available online/electronically.
Learning content - created content that ranges from individual lectures, animations, and assessments to complete courses and textbooks.
The Massachusetts statewide OER Advisory Council for public higher education institutions has recommended that courses be marked as "OER/No Cost" or "OER/Low-Cost" for instructional materials according to the following definitions from their Course Marking Implementation Guidelines.
Instructional Materials are defined as:
Instructional Materials do not include:
OER/No Cost/Library Resources are defined as: No textbook to purchase, no cost for students
To be designated as an OER/No Cost/Library Resources course/section, a course/section should use the following as the primary, required instructional materials for the course:
For examples of OER/No cost courses, see page 7 of the MA DHE Course Marking Implementation Guidelines.
Low-Cost ($50 or less) are defined as: The total required instructional materials cost $50 or less.
To be designated as a Low-Cost course/section, the combined cost of the course/section instructional materials should be $50 or less. This marking is to designate those course/sections that use affordable instructional materials that do not conform to the OER/No Cost/Library Resources criteria.
This includes all required instructional materials (definition above).
For examples of Low-Cost ($50 or less) courses and more, see page 8 of the MA DHE Course Marking Implementation Guidelines.
Annette Chapman-Adisho, Professor of History and Faculty Fellow for OER & Textbook Affordability: firstname.lastname@example.org
Elizabeth McKeigue, Dean of the Library: email@example.com
Gail Rankin, Director of Academic and Educational Technologies: firstname.lastname@example.org
Eliza Bobek, Director of the Center for Teaching Innovation: email@example.com
Justin Snow, Digital Initiatives Librarian, firstname.lastname@example.org
For help and advice for finding resources in your specific discipline, go to the Contact a Librarian page to find the subject librarian for your discipline.