Educational materials are an important output of the research process, and SPARC believes that Open Educational Resources (OER) maximize the power of the Internet to improve teaching and learning, and increase access to education. SPARC supports the creation and sharing of open materials used in teaching, as well as new approaches to learning where people create and shape knowledge openly together, and promotes practices and policies that advance this vision.
What are Open Educational Resources (OERs)?
Open Educational Resources are teaching, learning, and research resources released under a license that permits their free use and repurposing by others. OERs can be full courses, course materials, lesson plans, open textbooks, learning objects, videos, games, tests, software, or any other tool, material, or technique that supports access to knowledge.
Open Educational Resources are broadly considered to meet the “4Rs Framework,” meaning that users are free to:
- Reuse: Content can be reused in its unaltered form;
- Revise: Content can be adapted, adjusted, modified or altered;
- Remix: The original or revised content can be combined with other content to create something new;
- Redistribute: Copies of the content can be shared with others in its original, revised or remixed form.
Why Open Educational Resources?
The Internet enables us to teach, learn and develop knowledge faster and on a wider scale than ever before. Learners can find information instantly on virtually any topic, and connect with peers across the globe. Teachers can share their knowledge with students on another continent almost as easily as in their own classroom. And educational resources such as books can be disseminated to a worldwide audience at virtually no marginal cost.
How Do Open Educational Resources Work?
The OER movement is comprised of four main categories:
How Do We Enable Open Educational Resources?
There are three main strategies that can be used to promote Open Educational Resources:
Supporting OER adoption. OERs are available in a wide variety of subjects and course levels, yet many educators are not aware of these resources or do not know where to find them. Students, professors, librarians, and administrators can help spread the word to other educators and advocate adoption of OER whenever appropriate.
Supporting OER development.
Advocating effective policies.
Why Should You Care About Open Educational Resources?
During the past several years, Open Educational Resources have begun to be developed across a wide range of subjects, in an increasingly diverse set of educational settings. Researchers, scholars, students, educators and librarians are being called upon to participate in an environment that is evolving quickly, and that poses new challenges and opportunities for the creation, sharing, review, and use of educational resources.
Enabling the efficient creation and widespread adoption of Open Educational Resources will play a key role in ensuring that the scholarly communication system evolves in a way that supports the needs of scholars and the academic enterprise as a whole.
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