According the Hewlett Foundation, a pioneer in Open Educational Resources (OER) research, "Open Educational Resources are teaching, learning, and research materials in any medium -- digital or otherwise -- that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaption and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions." Often online library educational resources (LER) are mistaken for OER, but there is a distinct difference between the two as outlined below.
Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise – that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions (UNESCO).
OERs include a wide range of materials, including: assessments, assignments, books, case studies, courses, journals, primary sources, reference materials, simulations, tutorials, tests, audio/video files, and textbooks.
5 R's of OER:
Library (Licensed) Educational Resources (LER) are generally not considered to be Open Educational Resources (OER) since they are usually purchased or licensed and are not openly accessible in the public domain. But, LER are openly accessible via user authentication to the community of card holders for that particular library! By using these LER, such as ebooks, online journal articles, and streaming media, you can lower textbook costs for students. These are high-quality, often peer reviewed resources that students can access at no additional cost.
Before using LER resources for your class, you must check for copyright and/or licensing restrictions, and be aware that not all LER (especially ebooks) allow for multiple, simultaneous users. Reach out to your Polk State College librarians for help or questions related to this and adding LER content to your courses.
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Evaluate OERs in the same manner that you would review textbooks and other materials for your course. Some considerations: