What are they? They are part of the whole ‘open’ movement. So far I have mentioned open source, where a program developer or writer allows the source code (the blueprint, let’s say) of their program to be freely available for anyone to use or modify. Well, open educational resources (OER) adhere to the same ideals, they are resources for education – everything from whole courses to lesson plans, to handouts and more – that are made freely available by their creators or developers. All in all, very cool for educators!

If you want a snazzier definition, here is one from the OER Commons, found via Doug Belshaw and the OER infoKit:

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that are freely available online for everyone to use, whether you are an instructor, student or self-learner. Examples of OER include: full courses, course modules, syllabi, lectures, homework assignments, quizzes, lab and classroom activities, pedagogical materials, games, simulations, and many more resources contained in digital media collections from around the world.

The aim of the infoKit seems to be as a guide for people who want to be or who are involved in using OER. My personal favourite page is this one – the guide to finding OERs 🙂

The OER infoKit is aimed at sites of higher education. There are OER for us in lower educational contexts 😉 A future post will collect some information and links about those.