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Open Educational Resources: Introduction

What are Open Educational Resources?

Open Educational Resources (OERs) are are learning and teaching materials that can be accessed openly online, and their focus is on reuse. They are published either in the public domain or under licenses that allows them to be shared and repurposed by others.

OERs come in a number of different forms:

  • Learning content - individual lectures, animations, simulations and assessments.
  • Primary sources - Images, textbooks, videos, sound recordings.

UNESCO coined the phrase "Open Educational Resources" at its 2002 Forum on Open Courseware. The Forum designated OERs as 

“teaching, learning and research materials in any medium, digital or otherwise, that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions. Open licensing is built within the existing framework of intellectual property rights as defined by relevant international conventions and respects the authorship of the work”. (UNESCO, 2002)

What are the benefits of using OERs?

OERs have benefits for everyone.

For educators, OERs can provide supplementary content to your existing curriculum resources.

For students, moving away from the use of expensive textbooks, can reduce their education expenses. They can expose students to a wider range of learning experiences through texts, images, courseware and self-assessment tools.  These can provide students with  

  • enhanced quality & flexibility of resources,
  • a global dimension to their experience by seeing and applying their knowledge in a wider context, 
  • an opportunity for learner centred, self-directed, peer-to-peer and social/informal learning approaches.

Open Education at CSU

Charles Sturt University is a member of OERu and Open Education Consortium. OERu is a global group of tertiary education organisations that work together to make tertiary content freely available. Charles Sturt University developed the Indigenous Australian OERu courses which can be completed by anyone anywhere in the world.

Charles Sturt University led the project that developed the National Roadmap for an Australian Open Education StrategyCharles Sturt University supports Open Pathway Tasters that provide sample experiences of study allowing you to "dip a toe in the water".

Open Education at Charles Sturt University provides more information and contacts.

Why OERs matter

Why Open Education Matters

The Strategic Positioning of Open Education in Universities