Open Educational Resources (OER) – What’s out there?

An Introduction to OER and Directory of Major OER Repositories

From information famine to information overload

Over the past decade or two the Internet has transformed our access to knowledge. From being locked in the pages of physical books or the brains of leading experts most of us can access the humongous ocean of information from the comfort of our armchair or anywhere else we please on the latest mobile device.

New content is being created and added far faster than anyone could keep up with. Eg on YouTube alone 100 hours of video are uploaded every minute! [http://www.youtube.com/yt/press/statistics.html]

Despite the ever-increasing usefulness of search tools such as Google the problem of the sheer unstructured volume of what’s there is exacerbated by the issue of reliability. Great as the openness of the Web is for freedom of expression, it also makes it very difficult to assess the quality of any piece of content.

Open Educational Resources – Free Learning

For both self-directed learner and value-adding educator Open Educational Resources (OER) provide a valuable (and structured) starting point in creating meaningful learning experiences.

Numerous educators and educational institutions have seized the potential of the Web to make available a vast and growing collection of learning materials known as open educational resources (OER). Building from the earlier concept of reusable learning objects OER are pieces of content that educators have chosen to share with the world. Not only may OER be viewed by anyone, but in many cases are openly licensed (eg Creative Commons) to allow re-use, eg as part of new lessons thus avoiding the need for future educators to “re-invent wheels”.

However, the vast number of OER and OER publishers has created a microcosm of the wider Internet’s information overload problem. To address this a growing number of OER repositories have been developed to make it easier for would-be learning facilitators to discover quality, relevant resources.

Major repositories of OER and other free educational resources

ARIADNE finder search learning resources from the GLOBE (Global Learning Objects Brokering Exchange) network.

Connexions a place to view and share educational material made of small knowledge chunks called modules that can be organized as courses, books, reports, etc.

Curriki an open community of educators, parents, and students who share Open Educational Resources. Curriki has been curating best in class learning materials since 2006.

Internet Archive a non-profit digital library offering free universal access to books, movies & music, as well as 350 billion archived web pages.

Khan Academy a library of over 3,000 videos covering everything from arithmetic to physics, finance, and history and hundreds of skills to practice. Most content is is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License, see https://www.khanacademy.org/about/tos

LabSpace provides access to experimental educational tools for learners and educators, research into open educational resources field and ability to download, remix and upload OER materials and is part of the free Open University OpenLearn initiative. Members can access video conferencing, knowledge map, messaging tools and collaborate with other users.

MERLOT a free and open online community of resources designed primarily for faculty, staff and students of higher education from around the world to share their learning materials and pedagogy. MERLOT is a leading edge, user-centered, collection of peer reviewed higher education, online learning materials, catalogued by registered members and a set of faculty development support services.

OER Commons a network that brings together over 46,000 OER, tools for sharing curriculum with the world, and news and training on the brave new world of open education. Unless otherwise noted, content created on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License.

Not exclusively educational, but offering a vast collection re-usable educationally valuable resources:

Wikipedia articles and media on the peer authored and edited encylopedia are generally available for sharing and reuse under free and open licenses, see http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Terms_of_Use.

YouTube In addition to dancing dogs the leading video sharing site houses a vast collection of quality educational content. Youtube content is generally available for re-use, subject to the Terms of Service outlined at https://developers.google.com/youtube/terms.

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