What is OER?
Open Educational Resources (OERs) are openly licensed educational materials that are made available for public use through open licenses such as Creative Commons. OERs take a variety of forms; assignments, quizzes, videos and even full textbooks. OERs are freely accessible to students and institutions. There are many open textbooks that are available online for post-secondary use due to their open licence.
How it affects students
Currently students are faced with high-priced textbooks and ever-changing editions. Because of thi, students go to online options and used books, while others simply do not purchase a textbook. Challenges arise from this as students are placed under the burden of high prices set by the publisher and others face educational challenges from using older editions or none at all.
With OER, students may have the ability of choosing between a printed or digital text, where the cost of printing is the only expense! This brings an incredible opportunity for students, bringing them more choice, and the opportunity for more affordable education.
How it affects instructors
Open Educational Resources offers Instructors open access to free resources ranging from assignments to full textbooks. Many of these are high-quality reviewed texts that are great alternatives to traditional published content.
Under certain copyright conditions instructors are able to take one digital resource, identify the sections that are most relevant to their course material, and then combine it with other parts from other resources to create a custom “textbook” for their students, all at no cost. Because of the “open” nature of certain OERs, instructors have the ability to combine and revise content to be as relevant and up-to-date as possible.
How to get involved
Currently a OER faces a lack of awareness. In order to move towards open resources it is important that students, faculty, and administration have an awareness and understanding of OER.
The next step is to begin to look for relevant OERs aligned with the courses you are taking on OER repositories, such as https://open.bccampus.ca (more links on below!)
For students, having conversations with instructors about their thoughts on Open Educational Resources is important.
For instructors, it is important to have conversations with Chairs and senior leadership about looking OER alternatives.