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Open Educational Resources: What are OERs?

What are OERs?

A colorful OER logo that reads OER: Open Educational ResourcesOpen Educational Resources (OERs) are open, typically digital, materials that are created and shared for educational purposes. More specific definitions require that they be licensed in such a way that does not prevent remixing or any form of redistribution. 

Why are they important? 

OERs are often viewed as a way of making knowledge and education accessible and affordable. Not only can an open textbook help save UCCS students money, but it can serve as an important text for an independent learner or be used and modified by teachers around the world. OERs strive to adhere to the ideals of a knowledge democracy and the belief that freely creating and sharing knowledge creates a fairer and more equitable world. 

With the rising cost of education, OERs are immediately important because they can help students afford classes. When textbook costs are too high, students are often forced to go to class without, which impedes their ability to learn course material or complete assignments, or students have to choose between textbooks and other essentials. Additionally, OERs provide an opportunity to make educational materials more inclusive and to increase student engagement and learning. OERs can be used to give students greater agency in shaping their learning and sharing their knowledge with others. 

It's worth bearing in mind that Open has its limitations. These resources are typically shared and discovered online, and for many people, access to a computer or internet is not free or readily available. Additionally, it's important to consider how certain formats and designs can limit reuse and remixability as well as causing accessibility problems from some users. 

OER and Open Pedagogy Resources

Serving Access, Equity, and Innovation through Open Educational Practices

Keynote speech from the 2018 COLTT Conference. Rajiv Jhangiani gives his presentation "Serving Access, Equity, and Innovation through Open Educational Practices." Lasts approximately 30 min. 

State of Colorado and OER Initiative

The State of Colorado has created an OER Council that has been tasked with creating a report advocating for funding for and providing recommendations on expanding the adoption of OERs in public institutions of higher education. 

UCCS has received funding for a third year from the Colorado Department of Higher Education for a multi-campus proposal, "Open CU: Expanding a Successful and Sustainable OER Initiative", to continue promoting the awareness, review, evaluation, and adoption of OER, and further to promote the adaptation and creation of OER. You can learn more on the FRC's OER page.

Linked below are the reports produced by the OER Council: 

Open Education Week

logo for open ed week 2021

Check out resources and webinars from the state of Colorado's celebration of Open Education Week 2021!

  • OER in the WICHE Region; Liliana Diaz; Watch Here
  • Growing Open: Fostering a Faculty-Led OER Initiative; the OER Committee from Red Rocks Community College; Watch Here
  • Join Me in the Trenches: an interactive workshop to finding or creating an OER textbook; Dan Baker; Watch Here
  • Building and Sustaining Momentum through OpenCU: Reflecting on OER Outcomes across the University of Colorado System; the CU OER Committee; Watch Here
  • Open Pedagogy, Social Justice, and the Path to Commons Oriented Learning; Robin DeRosa & UNC OER Committee; Watch Here

undefinedCheck out resources and webinars from the state of Colorado's celebration of Open Education Week 2020!

  • Beyond Free: Supporting Social Justice through Open Educational Practices; Dr. Rajiv Jhangiani; Watch here.
  • Colorado’s Top 40: OER in Action; Brittany Dudek and Holly Stevens; Watch here.
  • Adventures in OER and Open Pedagogy; Dr. Emily Ragan and Professor Steve Krizman; Watch here. 
  • Two Faculty Journeys with Open Educational Resources; Dr. Emily Ragan and Dr. Jonathan Poritz; Watch here.

Finding Research on OERs

Recent OER Research on ERIC

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