Thursday, October 26, 2017

Spotlight on OER

No comments :
Our friends at the Centre for Teaching and Learning are celebrating Open Access Week too! We asked them to share this guest post on Open Educational Resources for today's OAWeek post.

Spotlight on OER

Krysta McNutt, OER Project Manager, Centre for Teaching and Learning

OER (open educational resources) are teaching and learning materials that allow free use and reuse, without charge. OER often have a Creative Commons license that states specifically how the material may be used, reused, adapted, and shared.

OER can unlock freedom and creativity in the classroom. Instructors are exploring the use of OER to reduce textbook costs, customize activities and assignments, increase engagement with learning materials, and even co-create resources with students. Adapting and sharing OER also builds community among educators and scaffolds collaborative practice.

Using OER in place of a textbook or other proprietary learning material opens the door for student agency in how they consume this material (for example, students may re-format the content in a way that is more palatable to their learning preference), and the opportunity for instructors to facilitate activities such as non-disposable assignments.
The true power of open comes not from a resource being free of cost but rather from the freedoms to reuse, retain, redistribute, revise, and remix content. These freedoms empower both students and faculty while widening access and supporting the democratization of education. (Jhangiani).
Using OER allows educators to customize content to increase relevancy and ensure inclusivity. By sharing educational material “in the open” with open licensing, the impact reaches beyond students at the University of Alberta by increasing accessibility and availability to informal and lifelong learners.
David Wiley’s 5Rs are frequently cited as defining traits of OER.
Credit: Image by BC campus, CC-BY 4.0

Wiley states: “Open educational resources are defined as “any copyrightable work that is licensed in a manner that provides users with free and perpetual permission to engage in the 5R activities”.

Open Licensing your educational content is one way instructors can get started with OER. AASUA members retain the copyright in the course materials they create and assign an OER-compatible licence. The copyright status on your work does not change when a standard open licence is assigned, such as Creative Commons.

1. Choose a licence
2. Mark the work with the CC icon
3. Link icon to licence deed (e.g.
4. Include a statement.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Revising and remixing content is the key to OER. By revising and remixing educational materials, instructors can customize and tailor their instructional materials to meet their students’ needs. By requiring students to revise and remix this content as assignments, instructors can create unique learning experiences, encourage discussion, debate, and uncover new perspectives.

Finding OER

Three common methods to discover OER is through the Creative Commons, BCcampus, or OER Commons websites. However, these are just three of many other ways.

The chart below can be helpful in determining what and how a selected OER may be used. For example, if you select a resource which carries a CC-BY-SA license, you may engage in all 5Rs but you must revise and remix the resource only with content which is also of the same license (CC-BY-SA).

Credit: Image “Wiley’s 5Rs and Creative Commons Licensing” by Krysta McNutt, CC-BY 4.0 (to view the full version, click here)
Taking the First Step

If you’re interested in exploring OER further, whether it is to adapt existing work, adopt it into your course, or create new content, the Libraries and CTL are here to help!

Your Subject Librarian can be a great starting point. You may also want to check out the CTL Open Education page and consider booking a consultation, read more on the open education movement on the UA Libraries Open Education libguide, or join the UofA OE Interest Group.

Upcoming Workshops

  • Speedy Intro to Open Education (webinar) October 27, 2017, 9:00am - 10:00am
  • Finding, Creating, and Using OER (CTL) November 7, 2017, 12:00pm - 1:00pm

Further Information

McNutt, K., Wakaruk, A. (2017), “Speedy Intro to Open Education”, Centre for Teaching and Learning, University of Alberta, October 24, 2017,

Wiley, David. “Defining the "Open" in Open Content and Open Educational Resources.” Iterating toward open,

No comments :

Post a Comment