Defining OER

What IS an OER?:

The term ‘Open Educational Resources’ (OER) describes any educational resources which have been made available for use under open licenses which mean that anyone can use, adapt and redistribute them. Educational resources are any material designed for teaching, learning and research used by educators, students and self-learners (including curriculum maps, course materials, textbooks, videos, multimedia applications, podcasts, etc.). OER may be available online, in print, on DVD or any other media.

What is NOT an OER:

Of course not any educational material that can be found on the web is an OER. Most resources on the internet are closed resources even if they are available for free. Materials that are under full copyright or which are not accompanied by a specific license allowing anyone to copy, adapt and share them are not Open Educational Resources. You can use these materials only within the fair use provisions or copyright exceptions in your country.

(source: "Open Educational Mythbusting", by Karolina Grodecka and Kamil Śliwowski)

Further popular definitions:

  • World OER Congress held at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris from 20 - 22 June 2012. Its declaration calls on governments worldwide to openly license publicly funded educational materials. Click!
  • Definition of the Hewlett Foundation. Click!


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