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Open Educational Resources: OER

Tools to help instructors navigate the process of using OERs, finding resources, adapting them for use, and building more effective pedagogy in their disciplines.


What is an OER?

Open Educational Resources (OER) are educational materials of all sizes and types, freely available for anyone to use, copy, adapt, and reshare, because they are in the public domain or because their creator endowed them with an open license. Examples include complete textbooks, videos, syllabi, quizzes, lecture notes, graphics, slide decks, and more, plus curricula comprising combinations of multiple objects. OERs are typically shared in electronic form, but final use can include print versions or other formats.


Why use OERs?

OERs support learning in several ways. They:

  • lower students' textbook costs, which have risen to burdensome* levels.
  • allow instructors to customize course materials to their preferred way of teaching.
  • support new modes of pedagogy.
  • can be quickly updated to reflect new knowledge in the field.

* Recent studies (such as this whitepaper and this report) find that many students report going without one or more textbooks due to cost, knowing that it will hurt their learning.

OpenStax CNX, hosted at Rice University, offers a more detailed introduction to OERs.

The OER Process

OER process flowchart

To gain a foothold into the world of OERs, read Amee Godwin's post "On Doing OER" and the discussion following, found on the site.

Yes, the process is considerable work. However, the rewards are worth it, and very much in line with Concordia's mission. Always remember that Concordia's librarians and Instructional Innovation team are ready to help you along the way.

Additional Resources

Just a sampling of many places to learn more about OERs:

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