OER Resources

Open Educational Resources

So, what exactly are OERs? There are many types of OER’s, such as course textbooks, online lecture material such as Powerpoints, Quizzes, and even course Syllabi are OER’s, if they are open to be used, reused, remixed, updated, etc., by others. They are typically offered to students at no cost but there are some instances where students have to pay for access (such as language or mathematics software).

Open textbooks, specifically, are typically authored by faculty and published on the web with the support of their universities, the university press supporting their home institution, or commercial companies. This new business model enables free online access to textbooks. The authoring and hosting of these resources is usually supported by grants from educational foundations.

OER’s tend to be released under a specific type of license that allows content to be used in various ways without obtaining expressed written consent from the author(s). This varies from the traditional model that most people are used to encountering, which is copyrighting.

Whenever something is created, the creator automatically reserves all rights to the work. You will see marks like these next to works where the right shave been reserved, branded, or where the author reserves copyrighting:

©    ®    ™

© (c in a circle) means artistic items such as written materials, videos, movies, audio, photos, etc., are protected by copyright law. The author or creator reserves the rights to the items, and the rights to reproduce/distribute these items belong solely to the author. Copyrighting protects multiple types of intellectual property. Most of the time, this symbol appears with items that have been registered in the United States with the United States Copyright Office (Truex, 2015). It is not required that intellectual property be registered with USCO to be protected by copyright law; authors and creators can protect their work with this symbol, whether the works is registered or not.

You may also see ® --which means an item has been patented and trademarked, and the trademark has been registered in the United States with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (Donahue, 2011). This symbol can only be used when the trademark has been officially registered, under penalty of fines from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (Donahue, 2011). An example might be an eCore branded item.

(in superscript) means that the name of an item or the branded is trademarked, but the trademark is not officially registered with U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (Donahue, 2011). This symbol puts potential infringers on notice that the logo, name of an item, name of a brand, etc., are considered intellectual property by the creators/owners, and that legal action will be taken against infringement.

Creative Commons Logo

OER’s however are much different that standard copyrighted materials that are typically used in classrooms and educational settings. For starters, they are openly licensed, which permits their free use and re-purposing by others. These resources reside in the public domain, which makes them easily found, and means they are usable by anyone.

A Creative Commons (CC) licenseis one of several public licenses that enable the free distribution of what would otherwise be copyrighted work. In fact, Creative Commons is the most widely used license for OER’s.

Creative Commons is notated by a logo with two C’s inside a circle, called, “CC”.

A CC license is used when an author wants to give people the right to share, use, and/or build upon a work that they have created. Anyone who builds upon the license is asked to share it back to the learning community. Nothing with a CC license can be later copyrighted; it must remain open and in the public domain.

How one finds and uses OER is different by the type of resources. Most of them are available somewhere on the internet, and therefore are accessed as a web link. The most common way that students access them at eCampus is through a PDF page within course. Students and faculty alike may find these linked by chapter within their courses, and this is what we practice at eCore with eCampus.

Many publishers of OER textbook also offer a Print for purchase option, but these are not free; however, these publishers print the textbooks at cost for students, so instead of paying hundreds of dollars for a new printed textbook, a student may pay $30-$60.

When you adopt an OER with a CC license, you may see symbols in the license that tell you what you can do with them.

BY is the attribution, meaning, the author must be credited. Occasionally, there will be CC works that do not show authoring, so they may not have this licensing requirement.

NC means that the work is only available for Non-Commercial use; so it can be used, in an educational setting, but it cannot be used in any for-profit marketing.

SA is the "Share Alike" elements, which means anyone you share it with, can also share it with the same terms as you are displaying. If a publication has an SA feature without a ND element, then you are free to modify and remix it, but are also obligated to share back your work to the academic community.

ND means that this particular cannot be modified or “remixed” as we call it. So if the work you are using has this logo, do not change it when you distribute it to your students. It is the most restrictive CC license that exists, so it acts like a normal copyright would. If the license does not have the ND, you are free to modify and remix the material, then share it back.

Icons License Guidelines
CC-BY logo BY Attribution: You let others can copy, distribute, perform and remix your work if they credit your name as specified by you.
CC BY-ND logo ND No Derivatives: You let others copy, distribute, display and perform only original copies of your work. If they want to modify your work, they must get your permission first.
CC BY-SA logo SA Share Alike: You let others copy, distribute, display, perform, and modify your work, as long as they distribute any modified work on the same terms. If they want to distribute modified works under other terms, they must get your permission first.
CC BY-NC logo NC Non-commercial: You let others copy, distribute, display, perform, and (unless you have chosen NoDerivatives) modify and use your work for any purpose other than commercially unless they get your permission first.

Source: “About the Licenses” by Creative Commons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

License icon Attribution License Elements
CC-BY logo Attribution (CC BY) This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered. Recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials.
CC BY-ND logo Attribution-NoDerivs
This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to you.
CC BY-NC-SA Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.
CC BY-SA logo Attribution-ShareAlike
This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. This license is often compared to “copyleft” free and open source software licenses. All new works based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use. This is the license used by Wikipedia, and is recommended for materials that would benefit from incorporating content from Wikipedia and similarly licensed projects.
CC BY-NC logo Attribution-NonCommercial
This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.
CC BY-NC-ND logo Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs
This license is the most restrictive of the six main licenses, only allowing others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.

General OER Resources

The following websites are excellent resources for faculty looking for Open Educational Resources (OER) to add to their courses. Most of the sites listed are repositories and search engines to help locate OER. A few other sites listed are excellent sources of information on various topics, such as authoring OER, and understanding the importance of OER in education today. There are also a handful of sites that have full, ready to adopt courses (known as Open Coursewear).

Remember, you can mix and match OER from different sources to establish the curriculum you desire. This is the beauty of OER!

OER Reference Articles

Allen, N. (2010). A Cover to Cover Solution: How Open Textbooks Are The Path To Textbook Affordability. The Student PIRGs. Available from https://studentpirgs.org/campaigns/sp/make-textbooks-affordable.

Baraniuk, R. G., & Burrus, C. S. (2008). Global Warming Toward Open Educational Resources. Communications of the ACM, 51(9), 30–32. Retrieved from http://proxygsu-ecor.galileo.usg.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bth&AN=34141223&site=eds-live&scope=site

Butcher, N. (2015). A Basic Guide to Open Educational Resources. Vancouver: Commonwealth of Learning. Retrieved from http://oasis.col.org/handle/11599/36.

Creative Commons (2016). Creative Commons: Remix. Available from https://vimeo.com/151666798. Last accessed September 26, 2018.

Hilton, J. (2016). Open educational resources and college textbook choices: a review of research on efficacy and perceptions. Educational Technology Research & Development, 64(4), 573–590.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-016-9434-9

Green, C., Illowsky, B., Wiley, D., Ernest, D., Young, L., and Coolidge, A. (2018). 7 Things You Should Know About Open Education: Content. Educause Learning Initiative. Retrieved From https://library.educause.edu/resources/2018/6/7-things-you-should-know-about-open-education-content.