Open Education Week
March 7-11, 2022 is Open Education Week, a time to raise awareness about Open Educational Resources. An open educational resource (OER) is free to access and use, and is licensed so that it can be shared and modified. David Wiley defined the characteristics of open content with the 5 R’s: Retain, Reuse, Revise, Remix, Redistribute. This means that you can keep the resource, use it in its original form, but also edit it and recombine it with other materials, and then make those reworkings available as well, subject to specific license agreements (most frequently Creative Commons licenses).
There are many advantages to using Open Educational Resources. Their cost (free online, and nominal cost in print) is welcome for student budgets. Moreover, because open textbooks don’t have restrictions on copying, they can be easier to access and adapt for students who need accommodations. OER allow faculty a great deal of flexibility: faculty members can assign an entire open textbook, or choose sections from different open works and combine them (without fears of copyright infringement). They can create their own edits and improvements to an existing open textbook, or even recruit their students to help.
It can be a challenge to find OER that meet your criteria for content, scope, rigor, clarity, or other standards. However, while there are more OER than ever before, there are also excellent resources to help you find and evaluate them. One place to start is the Penrose Library Guide to OER, which directs you to a few central OER hosting platforms, search tools, and additional guides that link to subject-specific resources; rubrics to evaluate OER are also available. Your Penrose librarians can also help! Get in touch with us for more information.