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Open Educational Resources: Examples of OERs

What are Open Educational Resources (OERs), and why do they matter? This LibGuide will answer these questions, describe Creative Commons licensing, direct users to OERs, discuss best practices for developing OERs, and show Indiana University of PA faculty

1. Open Courseware

"OpenCourseWare (OCW) is a free and open digital publication of high quality college and university‚Äźlevel educational materials.  These materials are organized as courses, and often include course planning materials and evaluation tools as well as thematic content" (Open Education Consortium, 2017, para. 1).

2. Learning Modules

A learning module is "a tool that provides course materials in a logical, sequential, order, guiding students through the content and assessments in the order specified by the instructor. Instructors can insert formatted text, files, web links, discussion topics, assignments, tests and quizzes, and soon, assessments. Content can be structured in such a way as to require students to complete content before they are allowed to proceed to the next content. It is also possible for instructors to set up a place for students to add content to the learning module" (University of Florida e-Learning, 2013, para. 1).

3. Open Textbooks

"Open textbooks are typically authored by faculty and published on the web with the support of universities or new commercial companies. This new business model enables free online access to textbooks" (California State University, 2012, para. 1).

4. Streaming Videos

"Streaming video is content sent in compressed form over the Internet and displayed by the viewer in real time. With streaming video or streaming media, a Web user does not have to wait to download a file to play it. Instead, the media is sent in a continuous stream of data and is played as it arrives. The user needs a player, which is a special program that uncompresses and sends video data to the display and audio data to speakers. A player can be either an integral part of a browser or downloaded from the software maker's Web site" (TechTarget, 2017, para. 1).

5. Open Access Journals

Open access journals provide "free, immediate, online availability of research articles combined with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment. Open access is the needed modern update for the communication of research that fully utilizes the Internet for what it was originally built to do—accelerate research" (SPARC, 2017, para. 5).

6. Online Tutorials

An online tutorial is a self study activity designed to teach a specific learning outcome. They are usually delivered via a course management system but can also be made available via the Internet or on a DVD. There are two main types of online tutorials:

  • Recorded tutorials are video or screencast recordings, typically of a subject expert presenting information and ideas or giving a demonstration.
  • Interactive tutorials are a structured collection of navigable web pages. Individual pages can contain any combination of text, images, audio, video, self test questions and other interactive activities. Interactive tutorials can also contain screencasts.

Both types of online tutorials can be provided as supplementary learning materials or as an integral part of a core activity. Because of the benefits they offer, online tutorials are becoming commonplace within both programs of learning and on a number of support service web sites (University of Bristol Educational Support Unit, 2017, para. 1-4).

7. Digital Learning Objects

"Digital learning objects are small, modular, discrete units of learning designed for electronic delivery and use. To facilitate reuse with a minimum of effort, a learning object is "packaged" to include a lesson, an activity, and an assessment. The most reusable learning objects will have a learning outcome that is concrete and fundamental to a broad range of courses" (CSU Northridge Oviatt Library, 2017, p. 1) .