[This post was first published on MQ’s Open Access Week Blog on 7 July, 2017]

What does ‘Open Educational Resource’ mean to you?

OERs are free and accessible online teaching and learning resources. Whether you are teaching online or just starting to develop flipped and blended learning approaches…chances are you will be using or even creating OER, though you might not be using that label. While these resources may be free of cost, they also carry legal permission for open use.

‘Open’ permissions cover a set of practices around OERs that have become widely known simply as the 5Rs. These are:


Understanding Open Licenses can be challenging — some Open Licenses are more open than others. Because Australian Copyright law doesn’t currently have Fair Use provisions; questions about licensing, copyright and intellectual property will often come to the fore when you are considering using or creating OERs for your teaching.

To the rescue comes the Open Education Licensing toolkit!

The OEL Toolkit has been developed by Swinburne University of Technology and University of Tasmania for use in Higher Education institutions in Australia. The OEL Toolkit is an interactive decision-tree application designed to support the understanding of appropriate use, creation and modification of OERs. Based on research into practices at 39 Australian universities, it provides help and guidance with applying open licensing and sharing OER.

The toolkit is structured around the questions you may have about your development or use of an OER resource in online education. As you progress through the toolkit, it generates a selection of snippets of information about open licensing relevant to your specific needs, with links to authoritative external sources. There are a number of entry points:

  • Finding a resource
  • Using or modifying a resource
  • Making a resource
  • Sharing a resource
  • Reviewing a Resource

The Toolkit won one of the 2017 Awards for Open Education Excellence from the Open Education Consortium global network. It is a great tool for deciding on licencing options and links into Macquarie’s own IP Policy.

Try it out — and leave a comment here if you have any feedback on using it.

Further Reading

Check out the OA week post Intellectual Property: The Case For OA, a discussion with Nikos Koutras, PhD candidate and Macquarie Law School tutor, whose research centres on Intellectual Property Law.

Posted by Judith Clark

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