Teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use or repurposing by others
Open Educational Resources, or OER, are digital text, multimedia, and other resources—like textbooks, workbooks, and tutorials—that are designed to be free of cost, have minimal barriers to access, and licensed to be readily reused and remixed.
OER are a critical frontier in expanding the accessibility of high-quality education, lowering the sometimes prohibitive cost of educational materials, and encouraging active participation in creation and collaboration between and among instructors, students, and educational institutions.
Educational institutions and organizations, including some of the world's most prestigious universities and colleges, are working to create and disseminate OER to support scholars and students. Watch the video below to understand more about why OER are so critical to the future of education.
Ensuring equality and availability of education is a foundational value of the open education movement, and as we move into the future, addressing those issues becomes ever more crucial. Open education takes aim at many issues that complicate education.
Traditional educational materials, like textbooks, can only be as current as their publication date. Unfortunately, the latest knowledge—especially in scientific and technical fields—rapidly becomes outdated and obsolete. Students and teachers working with outdated material are at a great disadvantage in the modern world. Open Educational Resources, on the other hand, can be updated, adapted, and improved continually, so they are never out of date.
Teaching and learning materials often carry a high price tag, which poses a painful question to many students: go without the materials, or go into substantial debt to get them. From social media movements like #textbookbroke to the crisis of student loan debt, the cost of education is a major social issue. Open education's goal of making high-quality, freely available online materials is a direct answer to the problem of costs.
Cost, geography, and structural inequalities in society often combine to lead toward problems of access and equity in education. With open education, the high-quality materials are available at minimal (or no) cost, and with minimal barriers to access, leveling the playing field for students as they prepare for their lives ahead.