March 6-13 is Open Education Week! The tenets of open education offer promise for expanding educational potential in several areas, but one of the most tangible and immediate is the opportunity to help students with the spiraling cost of books for their courses. This is made possible through the growing pool of resources (textbooks included) that are made to be shared openly, collectively labelled open educational resources. To quote the description from OER Commons (one of the largest repositories of OER at this time):
Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that you may freely use and reuse at no cost. Unlike fixed, copyrighted resources, OER have been authored or created by an individual or organization that chooses to retain few, if any, ownership rights.
Besides the ability to use and re-use them freely, OER can also (generally) be remixed and revised to suit a particular course’s learning goals, further leveraging their potential.
With all the promise of OER, there are still challenges to their adoption. Among the greatest are the scattered nature of OER repositories and the lack of standardized process for evaluating them. But strides are being made on both fronts out in the open education community and awareness is growing.
To increase the opportunity for people to know about and explore the possibility of OER, we’ve created this brief Open Educational Resources Guide.