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Open Educational Resources

This guide provides an introduction to Open Educational Resources (OER) and links to resources like databases containing them.

How will OER impact my teaching?

When you assign openly licensed resources in your courses, you can design new kinds of assignments that take advantage of the rights they grant end users. In their article, "Defining OER-Enabled Pedagogy," Wiley and Hilton explain how the removal of copyright restrictions can allow students to engage with the course content and assigned resources in new ways that improve learning:

We accept as axiomatic that students learn by doing. The function of copyright is to prohibit people from engaging  in  broad  categories  of  activity  (e.g.,  making  copies  or  creating  derivative  works)  without permission  from  a  rights  holder.  If  students  learn  by  doing,  and  copyright  makes  it  illegal  to  engage  in certain  kinds  of  doing  without  a  license,  then  copyright necessarily functions  to  limit  the  ways  in  which students can learn. The permissions to engage in the 5R activities that are granted in association with OER lift these restrictions.  Consequently, when using OER, as opposed to traditionally copyrighted resources, students  are  free  to engage  in  a  broader  range  of  activities and,  therefore, to  learn  in  a  broader  range  of ways. (135)

Wiley & Hilton, Defining OER-Enabled Pedagogy (2018)

Readings on open pedagogy

Help planning your course with OER

Renewable Assignments

The use of OER in teaching has led to the development of new kinds of assignments, as well as the reassessment of traditional ones. Some proponents of of OER-enabled pedagogy have argued against the standard assignment in which a paper is written for the professor alone and solely for the context of the course. Since most such assignments end up filed away or simply discarded after the grade is received, David Wiley termed them "disposable assignments" in 2013. He contrasts them with "renewable assignments," which have life beyond the classroom by being shared and openly licensed for reuse.

OER-enabled assignments in which students create and contribute to the knowledge commons align with the principles of High Impact Practices, specifically the engagement with the broader community and connecting course work with the world beyond the classroom.

The following chart from 2018 explains the characteristics that differentiate: