Open Educational Resources are freely available, high quality educational materials that can be downloaded, edited, and shared to better serve all students. They can include any type of educational resource, from textbooks to full courses.
At the core of OER is allowing reuse: as equally important as making educational resources freely available is making them free to reuse in whatever way you would like, whether that be downloading and copying, adding to a course website, or editing and releasing a new version. The Open Education community often refers to the "5R's" when talking about OER: these are the activities you are free to do with OER.
What makes OER different from all the other free educational materials that can be found online? All users are allowed to copy, modify, and share OER without needing to request permission, making them different from other educational materials, which may be freely available online, but do not grant users these rights. Many of these resources can't be legally copied, and users can't update them or build upon them without specific permission from the copyright holder.
|Material Type||Freely Available||Can Be Copied, Modified, Shared|
|Open Educational Resources||Yes||Yes|
|Free online resources under all rights reserved copyright||Yes||No|
|Materials available through the Gordon Library||Yes (to WPI)||No|
|Open access articles and books||Yes||Maybe|
OER Publishing Efforts mirror the traditional publishing process, including author compensation and peer review, and release the output under an open license. These efforts may be supported by institutions or grant funding.
Publicly-Funded Initiatives support the development of OER and ensure that taxpayer-funded educational resources are openly licensed.
Individual Authors who receive support from their institution or a foundation, or write on their own time, share their work freely through OER collections.
OER reduce the financial barrier to achievement in higher education for students.
OER improves student grades, especially for traditionally underserved students.
Students can engage with course content before, during, and after a course.
OER gives instructors the flexibility to modify and add content according to what they need.
OER authors can share their work with a global audience and increase their visibility in their fields.
OER supports culturally responsive teaching and the development of more inclusive teaching and learning materials
The Open Education Group's Review Project provides a summary of all known empirical research that focus on the efficacy of OER or teacher/student perceptions.
A meta-analysis of 9 peer-reviewed research studies that measured student learning outcomes showed that 95% of over 46,000 student participants performed as well or better when OER were used. Measurements varied but included exam scores, pass/fail rates, withdrawal rates, course grades, and national test scores.