Open Educational Resources (OERs)

Open Educational Resources

Open Educational Resources (OERs), a term coined in a UNESCO workshop in 2002, are part of a worldwide movement to promote and support sustainable educational development. Even if you haven’t come across the term before, the chance that you will have used OERs in teaching materials, presentations, slides, and even your personal life on a regular basis is quite high.

What are OERs?

OERs are any digital resources (videos, images, course materials, etc.) that can be used in learning and teaching which are shared under a Creative Commons licence.

A licence is a way of explicitly stating in what way you are allowing others to use your resource. Adding a licence to a resource is simple to do and re-affirms you as the author of the resource.

Why use OERs?

  • Teachers create great learning experiences but don’t need to create all the resources. Reusing existing OERs frees up time that can be spent on other aspects of the teaching and learning process.
  • Raise your profile by allowing your resources to be improved by other users and attributed back to you.
  • Take the resource with you: OERs are free to re-use if you move to another institution over the course of your career.
  • Many students are positive about the use of OER and some consider the quality and availability of OER materials when selecting an institution to attend.
  • Several funding bodies, such as the Wellcome Trust, are making OERs a stipulation for future grants and how OER engagement can coincide with academic impact initiatives.

How we can help!

The University of Edinburgh has an OER service to specifically promote and encourage a culture and practice of creating and sharing. Information on the service and a wealth of OER guidance can be found on the recently launched Open.Ed website.

The website showcases OERs University staff and students are creating and sharing with the world.

Such as Prof. Clive Greated’s fantastic series of 32 Fluid Mechanics videos he made available on YouTube and these OER board games created by students during Innovative Learning Week 2016.

Open.Ed focuses on everyday teaching and learning materials as well as the bigger initiatives and library collections. It also provides:

  • Details and access to the OER service supporting staff and students in using OERs.
  • Useful ‘how to’ guides and guidance on best practice.
  • Calendar of OER workshops and events across campus.
  • Up-to-date news and information; highlights best practice and OER exemplars.
  • Up-to-date blog posts from our most prominent open practitioners.

This site, along with the new OER policy recently approved by Learning and Teaching Committee, places The University of Edinburgh at the forefront of Open Education in Scotland – a great place to be when we’re hosting the OER16 conference on the 19th and 20th of April 2016.

Charlie Farley

Stephanie (Charlie) Farley is the Open Educational Resources Advisor with Information Services, Learning Teaching and Web Services Division. She also works as the Social Media Officer at EDINA. Her background is in academic libraries with interests in open education, open access, copyright, and digital literacy.

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