“Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that are freely available online for everyone to use, whether you are an instructor, student, or self-learner. Examples of OER include: full courses, course modules, syllabi, lectures, homework assignments, quizzes, lab and classroom activities, pedagogical materials, games, simulations, and many more resources contained in digital media collections from around the world.”
OERs are not only freely shared online, but are also free for others to re-use. Typcially, OERs are shared under Creative Commons Licenses, or similar licenses, that allow the creator to retain copyright while also allowing others to copy, distribute, or remix the OERs for their purpose.
"Open Educational Resources (OER) provide a new model for disseminating knowledge that is designed to take full advantage of the digital environment. OER are distributed freely online under an open license that grants blanket permission for full reuse rights to the public. Users are free to share, copy, paste, edit, adapt and interact with the content — in short, everything the Internet enables. Students can access OER online for zero cost, download and keep a copy, and print as many pages as they wish. Teachers can collect and tailor OER to perfectly suit their curriculum, and share their innovations with other educators. Entrepreneurs can build businesses around OER by offering products that add value, such as assessments, software or enhanced formats. Authors can disseminate their work to a worldwide audience while still receiving attribution. OER can maximize the full benefit of the Internet to improve teaching, learning and access to education."
- The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC)
Why in summary:
- Openly available to students and instructors for access and reuse
- Wider dissemination of a work
- Reduces duplication of effort