What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that you may freely use and reuse, without charge. That means they have been authored or created by an individual or organization that chooses to retain few, if any, ownership rights. For some of these resources, that means you can download the resource and share it with colleagues and students. For others, it may be that you can download a resource, edit it in some way, and then re-post it as a remixed work. OER often have a Creative Commons or GNU license that state specifically how the material may be used, reused, adapted, and shared.

Why use OER Commons?

The Internet is rich with open educational resources for teachers and learners. However, finding those resources is often time-consuming. OER Commons helps educators, students, and lifelong learners find Open Educational Resources through a single point of access from which they can search, browse, and evaluate resources in OER Common's growing collection of 50,000 high-quality OER.

Open educational resources (OER) are part of the Open Education movement, and teachers, students, and learning institutions are driving its development. Educational leaders around the world are tapping into OER as a cost saving source of curriculum, and also because of the opportunity it provides for supporting teaching practice and learning in a flexible, equitable, collaborative and participatory manner.

What are some examples of OER Materials?

  • Full university courses, complete with readings, videos of lectures, homework assignments, and lecture notes.
  • Interactive mini-lessons and simulations about a specific topic, such as math or physics.
  • Adaptations of existing open work.
  • Electronic textbooks that are peer-reviewed and frequently updated.
  • Elementary school and high school (K-12) lesson plans, worksheets, and activities that are aligned with state standards.

What is OER Commons?

A Brief Background

ISKME created OER Commons, publicly launched in February 2007, to support and build a knowledge base around the use and reuse of open educational resources (OER). As a network for teaching and learning materials, the site offers engagement with resources for curriculum alignment, quality evaluation, social bookmarking, tagging, rating, and reviewing.

OER Commons has forged alliances with over 500 major content partners in order to provide a single point of access to the highest quality content from around the world. Users can search across over 42,000 vetted and fully-indexed OER, ensuring a high level of resource relevancy and discovery. Since these resources are 'open,' they are available for educational use, and many hold Creative Commons licenses that allow them to be repurposed, modified and adapted for a diverse array of local contexts.

The worldwide OER movement is rooted in the idea that equitable access to high-quality education is a global imperative. Open Educational Resources (OER) offer opportunities for systemic change in teaching and learning through accessible content, and importantly, through embedding participatory processes and effective technologies for engaging with learning. By leveraging our technical infrastructure and developing teacher training models that facilitate participation with OER, the OER Commons project aims to grow a sustainable culture of sharing among educators at all levels.

Through our training and professional development initiatives, we work directly with curriculum specialists, educational agencies, professional organizations, teachers, and students to engage in new ways with learning resources. We develop, facilitate, and evaluate educational programs including professional development workshops, forums, international teacher resource exchanges, online knowledge-sharing collaboratives, and online course materials. (See our project wiki for more details.)

OER Commons Partners

OER Commons forges alliances between trusted content providers and creative users and re-users of Open Educational Resources (OER). In addition to content partnerships, OER Commons, and its creator, ISKME, builds strategic relationships in order to develop innovation and new research focused on OER, to advance the field of open education, and to build models for its sustainability.

Supported by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, ISKME, the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education created OER Commons as part of the Foundation’s worldwide OER initiative.

From content, to infrastructure, to policies, OER Commons would not be possible without the contributions of those individuals and organizations that have been working tirelessly to make open content for all a reality. We would like to extend our appreciation to these organizations for their vision, expertise, knowledge sharing, and advice.

Content Providers

OER Commons is based on alliances with providers of high-quality OER. Contact us to discuss your participation or for more information.

In addition to the growing number of individual authors of open materials, hundreds of institutions and organizations provide high-quality content and are helping to build the network: