The William and Flora Hewitt Foundation defines Open Education as the teaching model encompassing the "myriad of learning resources, teaching practices and education policies that use the flexibility of OER to provide learners with high-quality educational experiences."
UNESCO and the Creative Commons both define Open Educational Resources (OER) as "teaching, learning, and research materials that are either (a) in the public domain or (b) licensed in a manner that provides everyone with free and perpetual permission to engage in the 5R activities– retaining, remixing, revising, reusing and redistributing the resources."
Open Education and OERs are both intended to improve worldwide education opportunities by facilitating access to high-quality information resources and learning tools to all students regardless of their personal economic circumstances.
Benefits to Students
Benefits to Faculty
Benefits to Institution
OERs enhance teaching and learning experiences by their inherent characteristics commonly referred to collectively as the 5 Rs of OER.
Most OERs have a Creative Commons license on them. Creative Commons (CC) licenses allow the creator of a work to change the copyright from "all rights reserved" to "some rights reserved". There are a variety of CC licenses authors can choose from and they can be mixed and matched as needed. Many of the licenses allow users to edit the materials and customize them for a different use. Most of the licenses require users to provide credit to the original creator. Some licenses specify that you can remix and reuse, but not for commercial purposes. And there is also an option for limiting the creation of derivative works (although that wouldn't be considered OER anymore). The main CC licenses are listed below, but the Creative Commons website has more useful information about license specifics.
All images courtesy of Creative Commons.
This section reused from the University of Texas Libraries under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic License.
Though OER has been around for a while, there are still a number of challenges out there obstructing its development and implementation across academia. Notable of these are: