Let’s celebrate Open Access Week by considering the use of Open Educational Resources.

This year’s Open Access Week theme, ‘Designing Equitable Foundations for Open Knowledge‘, was chosen to reflect the evolving scholarly communications ecosystem. Governments and funding bodies are moving to adopt open policies, but there is uncertainty around how these will be implemented. There is a growing consensus that the system for producing and distributing knowledge needs to become more inclusive.

Many tools and resources for education lack inclusivity as they are reliant on publishing models that often restrict the wide dissemination of material, placing a burden of expense on students and fostering inequitable access to information.

Open resources, such as Open Education Resources (OER), enable the sharing of resources freely using open licensing. This culture of sharing further opens up opportunities for participation and co-creation.

OERs include material from textbooks to exams to software to other forms of media – anything that can support learning and teaching.  Depending on the particular license, owners provide permissions for individuals and institutions to re-use, adapt or modify the materials for their own use. This differentiates OERs from free instructional materials.

The Library’s OER Guide provides samples of subject based open-licensed materials that can be used, shared and repurposed for teaching.  It also provides links to tools for making and reusing OERs.

Do you use OERs in your teaching practice? Feel free to share any repositories or websites you have found useful in the comments.

Check out the Open Access Resources in the Library Guides, and you can follow the program for this year’s Open Access Week on Twitter using the hashtag #OAWeek18.

Image Credit: Una puerta abierta (An open door).  Photo by William Murphy; licensed via Creative Commons.

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Posted by Abigail Baker

Abigail is a Research Librarian for the Faculty of Science and Engineering.

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