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Why use Open Educational Resources?
OERs have been shown to increase student learning by providing relevant and interactive learning materials. An engaged student is more apt to learn and retain the material. Additionally, working in an interactive open education environment prepares students for today’s collaborative workplaces.
OERs can break down barriers of affordability and accessibility. The high cost of textbooks can cause students to register for fewer or different classes each semester. Better accessibility to affordable textbooks can bolster student success and retention.
OERs allow for customization of course materials. OERs are flexible and adaptable which enable faculty to create and supplement with custom course materials instead of being bound by traditional textbooks. Ease of update means that material may be constantly kept current with no need to rely on outdated textbooks.
OERs provide immediate and lasting access of learning resources. Students are able to access the materials upon class registration. Additionally, students may return to the materials long after class has ended. By making course materials available before and after a class, students can prepare ahead, and reinforce what they have already learned.
What does Open mean?
Open is so much more than free. Free resources are an important part of Open Educational Resources and enable students greater access to learning. In this environment, open means that instructors and students have permission to freely download, edit, share, and keep the educational resources that they have revised. These permissions to reuse, revise, remix, redistribute and retain educational resources are commonly known as the 5Rs of Open Education.
These 5R rights and sharing privileges are made possible by the Creative Commons Licenses. These CC licenses are attribution tools that allow free distribution of an otherwise copy written work.