Open Educational Resources – A Primer

Open textbooks have been discussed via email as an option for instructors at Tillamook Bay Community College. I was asked to provide a bit of a primer on Open Educational Resources and where faculty can start to look in order to explore these free resources. Here are a few questions you might have on Open Educational Resources and my attempts to provide you with some information to help you answer them. I thought I’d write it as a blog post in case others find this information useful.

What are Open Educational Resources (OERs)?

Free! Resources! To use! Open typically means that you can use, share and modify them for educational purposes with attribution (give credit where credit is due). Usually some form of a creative commons license applies. Click the link for more information.

How do I find them?

I usually stumble on to them. One website I frequent, Open Culture, has links down the right hand side to free movies, textbooks and more. Often you’ll have to look at the website for a resource (look for the badges mentioned in the Creative Commons License link above) or contact it’s creator in order to find out if it’s covered by a CC license.

When I was working at Southwestern, I was often looking for educational resources for their math instructors, and found a website called Merlot. It has resources for online learning in subjects ranging from Algebra to Sociology. Just click on “Search Merlot” on the main page and you’ll be on your way to exploring an overwhelming number of resources, depending on your subject area.

Another neat feature of Merlot is that if you click on a resource, you can get more details about whether it’s copyrighted or if it’s been created under a Creative Commons License.

Columbia Gorge Community College has put together a great page with additional resources pertaining to Open Educational Resources, including information on Quality Considerations when selecting OERs. They have also collected many links to different sources for OERs on that page.

Finally, one of my favorite resources is Twitter. Really. If you explore the #oer hashtag you can find resources, webinars and people to chat with.