There’s been a rumbling around the university for the past couple of years, but more so in recent months, about Open Educational Resources (OERs) and the place they may or may not have in our course offerings. With all of the buzz, it seemed like a good time to chat a bit about what OERs are.
OERs are not a new concept; in fact, UNESCO founded the term way back in 2002. However, they do seem to be more prominent in modern digital learning. The concept behind OERs is to have educational resources in the public domain, accessible to all, and OERs would remove limitations (typically in place via copyright) when it comes to use and redistribution of materials.
The main benefits of OERs are: increased access and free, the latter of which is incredibly beneficial when it comes to required texts used in post-secondary education, which traditionally have been quite costly. Considering the financial obligations the students of the world are already taking on in order to receive high-quality educations, textbook costs are one element that OERs may provide financial relief.