FACT SHEET: Uses of Open Educational Resources

FACT SHEET: Uses of Open Educational Resources

For the student, be they working towards a career in the trades, preparing for college, or just being a life-long learner, finding quality and accessible educationally appropriate resources is of the utmost importance.

There is a lot of information on the internet, some of which is of great quality, and worth having, while some is of questionable value. How to find and use resources, much less incorporate and reuse them in the creation of educationally appropriate products, is the goal of OER. Within a repository of original, revised, and updated resources lies a wealth of information that is reliable for use by any and all students.

OER Benefits

Not all material is suitable for all students, and not all authors of educational material present in a manner that is comprehendible across student levels. A vital part of OER are the 5 R’s of permission: Retain, Reuse, Revise, Remix, and Redistribute. For a teacher / instructor desiring to, without concern for copyright infringement, modify, add to, remix, and redistribute resources suitable to the student profile of the current class, OER offers a way to custom tailor classroom materials to the needs of the student. As an example, in the southern United States, the incident of Spanish-speaking people is very high. Typically their English-speaking skills are not as well developed, such that the teacher needs to tailor the language level and content of educational resources to better fit an individualized education plan for that particular student profile. OER allows for that, again without concern for copyright issues.

OER Formats

OER resources can be created in many formats, including but not limited to activities, lesson plans, and eBooks. The semi-technically capable teacher can also derive content from one format and present it in another that is more readily understood by students. That resulting product can then be added to the OER repository for open use by other teachers and students, who may recreate the material in yet another, newer or more comprehendible format.


Resource material printed on paper is still a major part of the educational process. But technology, in particular the internet, has opened a whole new means of getting educational resources into the hands of teachers and students. By allowing for modification of the original and downstream derivatives, OER can continue to grow and be refined, at the same time being freely available to teachers and students wherever they may geographically be located.

Download: Uses of OER_2.doc

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