A new resource aims to help educators learn how to use open educational resources (OERs) most effectively, as it dives into proper implementation, costs, and other important factors.

The “Guide on the Use of Open Educational Resources in K-12 and Postsecondary Education,” from the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), explains what OERs are and spells out various copyright and licensing considerations that are involved with using such resources.

A commonly-accepted definition of open educational resources, as provided by the Hewlett Foundation, is “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 and re-purposing by others.”

Those using OERs are able to abide by the “4Rs” when using the resources:

  • Revise: Adapt and improve open educational resources so they better meet your needs;
  • Reuse: Use the original or your new version of the OER in a wide range of contexts;
  • Remix: Combine or “mashup” the resource with other OERs to produce new materials; and
  • Redistribute: Make copies and share the original OER, or your new version, with others.

(Next page: What you should know when using OERs)