Open Educational Resources

Find information on the following topics below:

  1. What are OERs?
  2. Why are OERs important?
  3. OER for Faculty

1. What are OERs?

OER can be many things, including full courses, learning objects, tests, or other tools for use in teaching, learning and research.

Open Educational Resources, or OER, refer to any teaching and learning materials that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open licence, such as a Creative Commons Licence or GNU General Public Licence, that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution with no or limited restrictions.

Attribution: OER Can Be and the associated images are a derivative of the BCOER Poster, by BCcampus, licensed under CC BY 4.0. Definition of OER is from UNESCO, and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

2. Why are OERs important?

Benefits for faculty:

  • Increases student retention by reducing costs
  • Assures academic freedom to modify or add content to your specifications
  • Extends your academic profile
  • Provides more relevant and engaging materials for your students

Benefits for students:

  • Low cost or free
  • Easy to find and access – even before classes start
  • More customised and relevant

Attribution: “Benefits for faculty and students” is a modified derivative of the poster “BCOER” by BCcampus, licensed under CC BY 4.0

Learn more about the benefits for Teaching and Learning:

Video: A Review of the Effectiveness & Perceptions of Open Educational Resources As Compared to Textbooks

A Review of the Effectiveness & Perceptions of Open Educational Resources As Compared to Textbooks: Animated video summarizing research findings on the benefits of OER to teaching and learning. From Royal Roads University. Transcript.

Slideshare: Experiences, Perceptions & Outcomes of Using Open Textbooks

Experiences, Perceptions & Outcomes of Using Open Textbooks: Research from the BC OER Research Fellows: Slides from three research studies about open textbooks and OER, focusing on students in postsecondary institutions in British Columbia, Canada.

3. OER for Faculty

How Librarians Can Help You:

What Librarians Can Do

  • Help faculty identify existing OER materials, including alternatives to textbooks
  • Use advanced search skills to find exactly what faculty need
  • Give options for ways that students can access resources
  • Advise on how to make resources more accessible
  • Advise on issues of copyright and fair dealing
  • Advise on use of Creative Commons licences

What Librarians (Likely) Cannot Do

  • Be completely knowledgeable of your subject area
  • Make the final call on the quality of a resource
  • Choose your textbook or course material
  • Interfere with your academic freedom

Attribution: Text a derivative of “How Libraries can Help”, in CCCOER: Faculty and Librarians Selecting High Quality OER, by Tina Ulrich, licensed under CC BY 4.0

For more information on getting started with OER, please see The Learning Portal’s Faculty Quick Start Kit and/or reach out to your Research & Curriculum Librarian

Through open licencing, OER opens up possibilities for new, more collaborative teaching and learning practices—because the materials can be used, adapted and shared within and across learning communities. The Learning Portal’s OER Teaching module explores Open Pedagogy—collaborative teaching and learning practices that help educators to advance a culture of sharing and active learning through OER. The module also suggests ways that educators can work with library staff to further their practice of Open Pedagogy.

The Learning Portal’s OER Curating module includes information to help find, evaluate, adapt and share open educational resources to meet learning outcomes and objectives. The module also offers information on how to describe and organize OER to enable its discovery by future users.

Below is a list of sites where you can search for OER, in particular open texts, open data and open case studies.