OER resources

Considering OER? Here’s what you need to know

As OER become more mainstream, here are some tips for integration.

The Software & Information Industry Association’s guide to OER can give educators background information to help them on their way to OER integration.

1. What’s the difference between resources?

  • OER textbooks are usually downloadable PDF-based digital books
  • Interactive digital textbooks use reading tools and additional media such as videos and animations, and they’re usually accessible online or downloaded onto a mobile device

2. Are all OER digital?

  • Not all are digital–many are PDF-based that are printable
  • Digital materials include traditional text- and graphic-based content but also can include embedded assessments and videos

3. Are OER free?

  • While there can be costs associated with distributing and maintaining content and repositories, “open” means they are free to use, change and share

4. Are they free for students?

  • Most are, but if the resources are integrated within a learning management system, or if they require supplemental materials, students might be charged to access those materials

5. Who creates OER and are creators paid?

  • Anyone can create OER, and educators are among the top producers. Creators are typically not paid, although some higher-ed institutions might reimburse faculty or staff with stipends or grants

6. Who funds the resources’ creation?

  • This can vary widely–funding models include a philanthropic model, public funds and venture funds

Laura Ascione

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