Understanding the Power of Open Educational Resources (OER)


Understanding the Power of Open Educational Resources (OER)

Did you know that there are free educational resources of high quality available for you to take advantage of? Millions of pounds have been invested worldwide into the development of OER. And as a result there are a lot of shared teaching and learning materials made freely available online.

Open educational resources (OER) are materials used to support education that may be freely accessed, reused, modified and shared. Open educational resources (OER) might include items such as e-books, courses, lesson plans, curriculum content, streaming videos of classroom lectures, images, rubrics, assessments, software, and any other tools, or techniques used to transmit knowledge that have an impact on teaching and learning that are openly licensed for sharing and free use.

These free resources for teachers available over the web have helped in great ways. Faculty and students have started to discover the benefits of finding, using, and creating openly- licensed materials to supplement their teaching and learning. Any teacher from any part of the world can access the resource of other teacher teaching the similar community, same subject or similar kids. This ease of access has only been possible with the advent of technology and development of various tools.

Information access has become dynamic due to which today’s textbooks have become obsolete and the acquisition process has been found broken. The use of OER allows delivery of customized content to students in a faster and cost effective way than what the current system allows. Now the main effort required at teachers’ end is finding the right teaching resource but once you know the right places to search for, and this is not a big task.

There are a lot of ways teachers, professors and educational institutions are benefiting from open education resources:

How Educators Can Benefits from OER?

Faculties or teachers need not start from scratch every time they need to create a lecture. By using OER, faculty can supplement their lectures and teaching materials with open content that is already available for open sharing. Also by sharing their own work as OER, faculty can maximize the impact and visibility of their scholarly work across the global learning community.

Educators can use openly licensed materials to build their own resources, share and license their work/content as OER so others with its need can use it and promote their work to a global audience and get recognized globally.

How Students Can Benefits from OER?

The ease of search and access of openly-licensed learning materials, self-learning and  flexible learning opportunities have increased. OER content allow students to explore materials making them better prepared before they arrive in the classroom. The benefits of OER for students include access to supplemental learning materials courses and improved preparedness for classes.

How can Educational Institutions benefit from OER?

  • Improve Recognition and Reputation
  • Increased availability of their Academic Content
  • Increased capacity to support remote students
  • Involvement in content production
  • Partnerships with other institutions and organizations including those outside the education sector
  • New relationships with students as they become collaborators in OER production, release and use

For those who still have not figured out or experienced the benefits of and possibilities with free teaching resources and strategies for open education, open access, open sharing of educational resources for teachers, we would recommend you must start today.

Moving away from “re-creating the wheel”

Reinventing the wheel is not a clever option today; we need to learn to make the best of what is available to us. Open educational resources can be a solution to many areas of work that institutions are engaged in today. Some of these areas include preparing students for college and careers, developing the required skillsets for the 21st century.

Teachers and professors can easily guide and support student learning using these open educational resources effectively. Almost all academic as well as employment topics are available and accessible. What is stopping us is the lack of knowledge about the existing resources that can be put to use and integrated easily with what you are doing and the way you are teaching today.

Open education resources enable knowledge sharing for the benefit of all students and educators by widening access to high-quality resources. There is an opportunity to cut down content development costs allowing for better use of available resources.

Using OER in Teaching

Teachers and educators who have experienced the advantages of using free resources in order to customize and personalize content and instruction have got used to using open educational resources (OER) i.e. learning materials licensed in a way as to freely permit educators to share, access, and collaborate.

With the easy access to some of the world’s best content, the classroom does not need to be boring anymore. We all realize that content delivery eats up most of the time of a classroom, and in majority of the cases content delivered is not worth. Why can’t teachers and professors use the best existing open educational resources (OER) over the web and supplement their teaching in the classroom. Why can’t they keep the classroom time for doubt clearing sessions when they do not have the pressure to deliver the content themselves? Existing teacher resources have increased the adoption of practices like flipped learning and have made classrooms more collaborative and teachers more of a facilitator instead of a only being a mean of content dissemination.

If educators (teachers and professors) can understand the power of Open Educational Resources (OER) and learn the ways to integrate it in their lessons, classrooms will never be the same for the students. The customization and personalization can engage them easily.

Are you willing to join the OER movement? Do you wish to learn more about OER Integration in your current workflow? Drop a mail to us, or Schedule a webinar/workshop at your institution. Let us together make OER Adoption easier.

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About the Author
Author: Utkarsh LokeshWebsite: https://twitter.com/utkarshlokesh
Passionate about community building and lifelong learning. Working to improve education by advocating 21st Century Learning and the effective use of Technology.
21st Century Education Advocate, EdTech Enthusiast, Co-Founder and CEO, EdTechReview

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