Incorporating Open Education Resources (OER) can save instructors time and effort in developing content by adapting freely available counterparts into their courses. In turn, students can save money from having to purchase commercially available education resources. On this page, instructors will learn about…
Instructors can download the Template for Evaluating OER Content and use it to evaluate a piece of OER content, determine whether it is suitable for their course, and how to adapt it based on the subject matter and course structure.
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Open education resources (OER) refer to educational content that is available online and free of charge. OER is different from open learning (OL): OL refers to both content and educational services, such as learner support and assessment. In contrast, OER refers to the content only. OER covers a wide range of online media, including textbooks, audio and video recordings, websites, graphics, auto-graded online tests and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) (Bates 2019).
According to Hilton et al. (2010), there are five core principles of publishing OER, these principles are:
Incorporating OER saves the instructor (and students) time and money. Instructors can use existing content to save their effort in creating a new one and/or avoid using paid commercially available content. On the other hand, students can save money on purchasing commercial education resources (e.g. textbooks).
The volume of OER is continuously expanding, which makes it easier for instructors to find OER content suitable for their teaching purposes. According to Bates (2021, p. 576), there are four ways instructors can interact with OER. This page focuses on the first type of interaction – adapting OER content.
Copyright laws protect all original work. By default, the creator has the exclusive right to copy and license the work. Creative Commons (CC) licenses provide creators with the flexibility to allow others to adapt their work while still retaining the copyright. CC-licensed work is often free to use and provides a more economical alternative to both instructors and learners (Curator Module, Ontario Extend, ECampusOntario).
CC-licenses can be customized to grant different access rights to original work. The following table provides a sample CC license and the various elements representing the different access rights. A complete list of licenses and their implications is provided on the Creative Commons website. When choosing a license, think about why you want to share your work and how you hope others will use that work. Only the copyright holder or someone with expressed permission from the copyright holder can apply a CC license or CC0 to a copyrighted work. The UBC Wiki on Creative Commons licenses provides a comprehensive guide on adding a Creative Commons license to a webpage.
This CC BY license allows reusers to distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon the material in any medium or format, so long as attribution is given to the creator. The license allows for commercial use.
Once applied to the creator’s work, the CC0 license cannot be revoked. Anyone who receives it may rely on that license for as long as the material is protected by copyright, even if the creator stops distributing it later.
Instructors incorporate images in their course materials to help students better understand concepts or illustrate how different concepts/components are organized in a structure. They might also incorporate images for decorative purposes. Not all images on the internet are free to use. The following web resources provide a good starting point in your search for OER images. (Source: Curator Module, Ontario Extend, ECampusOntario)
In addition to images, instructors might incorporate OER texts, podcasts, videos, learning models, auto-grade exercises and MOOCs as part of their teaching content. Searching for OER in these formats has been made easy due to the advent of web referatories and repositories. According to Ontario Extend, a referatory is “a search that links to content hosted elsewhere, whereas a repository hosts the content. Here are a few examples (Source: Curator Module, Ontario Extend, ECampusOntario):
Ontario Extend lists several rubrics for assessing OER content, such as the Achieve Rubric for Evaluating OER, the BC OER Faculty Guide for Evaluating OER, the Open Education Network Open Textbook Review Criteria, and the CRAAP test. These rubrics vary in terms of the level of detail and their focus on different aspects of teaching. Nonetheless, they provide a systematic and theoretically based tool with which instructors can make informed decisions about whether and how to adapt OER content into their courses. To save you time, we have reviewed all the rubrics and consolidated them into the following list of aspects to consider. You can also download the Template for Evaluating OER Content to work on your own or with an instructional designer.
Achieve (2011). Rubrics for Evaluating Open Education Resource (OER) Objects, under Creative Commons license. Retrieved from https://www.achieve.org/files/AchieveOERRubrics_1.pdf
Bates, A. W. (2019). Teaching in a Digital Age: Guidelines for designing teaching and learning. Open Education Resource, Contact Nord.
BC Campus (2015). Faculty Guide for Evaluating Open Education Resources. BCOER Librarians, under Creative Commons license. Retrieved from https://opentextbc.ca/adaptopentextbook/wp-content/uploads/sites/144/2016/06/Faculty-Guide-22-Apr-15.pdf
Center for Open Education (2021). Open Textbooks Review Criteria, Open Textbook Library, under Creative Commons license. Retrieved from https://open.umn.edu/opentextbooks/reviews/rubric
Creative Commons (2021). [Website: https://creativecommons.org]
eCampusOntario (2021). Curator Module. Ontario Extend.
Hilton, J., et al. (2010). The four R’s of openness and ALMS Analysis: Frameworks for open educational resources. Open Learning: The Journal of Open and Distance Learning, 25(1), 37–44
Meriam Library (2020). The CRAAP Test. Meriam Library, California State University, Chico. Retrieved from https://libguides.csuchico.edu/c.php?g=414315&p=2822716