What are Open Educational Resources (OER)

Brief explanation of OER

Open Educational Resources (OER) are (educational) resources that can be reused freely due to their open licence. Free reuse means that the ‘5Rs’ apply to the resources. OER are often, but not necessarily, digital and can vary greatly in format and complexity: from a simple worksheet to a comprehensive online course, or from an image to a presentation or an interactive video.

OER are used in education, but also in science, culture and many other areas.

OER are necessary, because normally copyright law sets very tight limits on the use of created contents. Even if I can do almost anything with it in private, nearly nothing at all is allowed in public. (Public means anything that affects more than just me and people who are directly acquainted with me.) So if someone wants to allow free reuse of a created content, you have to publish your content under a open licence.

There are many different open licences. In the educational and cultural sector Creative Commons licences (CC) are usually used as open licences. You can find a comprehensive overview of CC licences in the ‘Licencing‘ section.

For our project, it is crucial that different regions are involved. The copyright regulations and especially the copyright practice differ from region to region. But if we want to ensure that the content we create can be used everywhere, we have to make sure that we don’t use anyone else’s copyrighted content and that we license our own content openly.

Besides the legal dimension, OER also enable collaboration and inclusion. The aim is that everyone should be able to use and remix open content.

In this video, the basics of OER are explained in more detail.

Do you have questions or comments about this? Leave a reply!