There is an internationally agreed on definition of 'open educational resources' supplied by UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, which states:
Open Educational Resources are learning, teaching, and research materials in any format and medium that reside in the public domain or are under copyright that have been released under an open license, that permit no-cost access, re-use, re-purpose, adaptation, and redistribution by others.
Open educational resources (OER) are freely accessible online teaching and learning materials. They can be videos, textbooks, quizzes, learning modules and more. This guide collects the best-of-the-best OER and organizes them by college and department.
This guide is intended to introduce faculty and librarians to Open Educational Resources. It points toward resources that either provide or promote the use of Open Educational Resources.
If you are familiar with a resource that is not listed here, please email Bill Orme (firstname.lastname@example.org), University Library's OER liaison, to have it added to this guide.
Specifically, Open Educational Resources (OER) are any copyrightable work (or in the public domain) that is licensed in a manner that provides users with free and perpetual permission to engage in the 5R activities:
Retain - the right to make, own, and control copies of the content (e.g., download, duplicate, store, and manage)
Reuse - the right to use the content in a wide range of ways (e.g., in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video)
Revise - the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language)
Remix - the right to combine the original or revised content with other material to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)
Redistribute - the right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend) be retain, reuse, revise, remix and redistribute.
Open Educational Resources provide advantages to students, faculty, and the institution. Among them are these:
Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that promotes the use of Open Educational Resources by providing copyright licenses that provide both protections for the content creator and permissions for those wanting to use that creator's content. It is the application of a Creative Commons license that most clearly identifies an Open Educational Resource.
There are currently six available Creative Commons licenses to choose from. They are: