What are OERs?
Lead3.0 Academy has one main pillar when it comes to the learning strategy adopted: the use of OERs (Open educational resources) for training e-leaders in those skills needed by the labour market today. But what do we mean exactly with OERs?
OERs are classified as freely accessible, openly licensed documents and media that are useful for teaching, learning, and assessing, as well as for research purposes.
The terms “Open content" and "Open Educational Resources" describe all the media (traditionally excluding software, which is described by other terms like "open source") which licences allow users to do some peculiar actions on them, the so-called 5R:
- Retain - the right to make, own, and control copies of the content (e.g., download, duplicate, store, and manage)
- Reuse - the right to use the content in a wide range of ways (e.g., in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video)
- Revise - the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language)
- Remix - the right to combine the original or revised content with other material to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)
- Redistribute - the right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend)
(5R definition comes from www.opencontent.org)
Another widely spread definition of OERs is the the one given by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, defining OERs as: "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. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge".
Given the diversity of users, creators and sponsors, it is not surprising to find a variety of use cases, descriptions and requirements when it comes to OERs.This leads also to some controversy on the nature of OERs, as for example:
- Nature of the resource: several definitions limit the definition of OER to digital resources, while others consider that any educational resource has to be included
- Source of the resource: some definitions state that an OER has to be produced for educational purposes, while others broaden this definition to include any resource which may potentially be used for learning
- Level of openness: usually, OERs definitions require for them to be placed in the public domain. Others require for use to be granted merely for educational purposes, or exclude commercial uses
At the same time, all OERs definition share some common points, saying that OERs must:
- be usable and reusable, allowing the repurposing and modification of the original resources
- free to use for educational purposes by teachers and learners
- encompass all types of digital media
So, in the end: what are OERs for Lead3.0? We decided that we needed to intend OERs as extensively as possible, in order to grant freedom and a bigger choice to our facilitators while building their courses. Given this point of view, every digital resource that can be freely used as a teaching material is to be considered an OER on the Academy.