Getting Started with OER


  •  provide an overview of OER Commons
  • create an account at OER Commons
  • experience searching for OER Commons
  • organize materials found within OER Commons


What is OER

“OER is an openly licensed educational resources can increase equity by providing all students, regardless of zip code, access to high-quality learning materials that have the most up-to-date and relevant content.”
- John King, Former U.S. Secretary of Education

OER provides educators with openly available learning materials.  The managing organization that provides access to OER Commons is ISKME


“Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education ( ISKME) an independent, education nonprofit whose mission is to improve the practice of continuous learning, collaboration, and change in the education sector.” (Welcome | Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education, n.d.).

~ Task 1


Getting Started

3 Main Actions

  • Author (Builder)
    •  Resource
    • Lesson  (K-12) or Module (Higher Ed)
  • Search
  • Curate

OER Elements
oer-main-elements.pngOER Elements

OER Elements:: Search, Curate, Build

Follow the 5 Rs

  • Retain - make and own a copy
  • Reuse  - use in a wide range of ways
  • Revise - adapt, modify, and improve
  • Remix - combine two or more
  • Redistribute - share with others

5 R's for OER
oer-main-elements-5Rs.png5 R's for OER

Retain, Reuse, Revise, Remix, and Redistribute

~ Task 2

 OER requires a site login:   Create an OER Commons login


All items are indexed based on:

  • Subject
  • Education Level
  • Aligned to Standards
  • Educational Use
  • Educational Levels
  • Grades
  • Language
  • Material Type
  • Learning Goals
  • Keywords

~ Task 3

Search OER Commons for several items related to your content field or interests

Information Structure

General OER Commons

Basic hierarchical structure for elements within OER Commons.

OER Hierarchy
Hierarchy.pngOER Hierarchy

OER Hierarchy showing relationship between Content, Groups, Hubs, and OER Commons

Pennsylvania LEA's

Basic hierarchical structure for elements within the context of Pennsylvania LEA's.

Basic elements applied to Pennsylvania
Hierarchy_PA.pngBasic elements applied to Pennsylvania

Basic elements grouped in the context as they will appear to Pennsylvania Local Educational Agencies.

~ Task 4

Explore the Groups and Hubs associated with your account

Focus on Content

Content can be shared laterally between Groups. Content can also be shared to a hub with the top level OER Commons.   When a District Group is associated with an Intermediate Unit Group, Pennsylvania specific content is made available based upon that "connection."   The connection is currently a manual process. 

Content in-depth

Content which can be create in OER Commons is available in two broad categories:   (1) "Resources" and (2) "Lessons"or "Modules."  Resources can be thought of as digital guides or books.   

Resources may be exported from OER Commons in a variety of formats making them very versatile for delivering sequence content to mobile devices.  

Lessons or Modules (depending on learner level) serve as a collections of "Resources."  Lessons facilitate the creation of a scope and sequence of Resources.

Create OER Content
create-oer.pngCreate OER Content

Drop down menu for creating OER Content


One of the more difficult concepts in creating OER Commons is the notion of tagging.  The OER Commons Systems allows you to create "folders" which allow 3 levels (i.e.   Main Folder, Sub-Folder(1), Sub-Folder(2).   In order to categorize information, tagging is implemented.  Tagging allows content creators the ability of associating a resource or lesson via a series of words.   An example of tags  for a Resource focused on red apples might be: Red, Delicious, Mcintosh, Fuji, Gala, Empire, Cortland.   The material could then be searched based on any of the comma separate works (i.e. searching for Cortland would return Red). 

~ Task 5

Create a Resource


Finally, why is OER significant?   

OER resources are not affiliated with a particular Learning Management System.  Connection to the resources can be via direct URL or via Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) modules.  LTI is available within the Blackboard, Instructure Canvas, Moodle, Sakai, . 

Where to go from here

Explore the various aspects of OER Commons and start curating.

More in-depth workshops will be offered to help educators better leverage the OER Commons materials and fine tune the creation of OER content. 

Other considerations

* Resources can be linked from OER Commons to LMS systems via LTI connections 

   * additional access to LMS system may be required

* OER Commons can also import Google Docs

   * Google Apps for Education login required

* OER Commons export information to Google Classroom

   * Google Apps for Education login required


Welcome | Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education.  (n.d.).  Retrieved on October 8, 2017  from the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education Website:

Check In

We are currently piloting two e-Learning Technologies, xAPI and Learning Record Store (LRS).  As part of this research, we ask that you "check-in" by clicking the button image below 

If you are participating in Tom McClain's research project, we ask that you use your "code name" vs. your email when completing the "check-in."

As a thank you, we will issue a link to a digital badge after "checking in."

Check In!

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