What are Open Educational Resources?
Open Education Resources (OERs) are online resources that are available for others to use to support learning. They are part of a worldwide movement to promote and support sustainable educational development – the use of the term ”OER” is attributed to a UNESCO workshop in 2002. The sharing of open educational materials is in line not only with University of Edinburgh’s mission but also with a global movement in which research-led institutions play a significant role.
The University of Edinburgh has an OER policy, which outlines the institutional position on OERs and provides guidelines for practice in learning and teaching. You can find the policy on the Academic Services, Policies page under Learning and Teaching, or link directly to the document here:
The University’s OER Vision
The OER vision for University of Edinburgh has three strands, each building on our history of the Edinburgh Settlement, excellent education, research collections, enlightenment and civic mission.
For the common good
- Teaching and learning materials exchange to enrich the University and the sector.
- To put in place the support frameworks to enable any member of University of Edinburgh to publish and share online as OER teaching and learning materials they have created as a routine part of their work at the University.
- To support members of University of Edinburgh to find and use high quality teaching materials developed within and without the University.
Edinburgh at its best
- Showcasing openly the highest quality learning and teaching.
- To identify collections of high quality learning materials within each school department and research institute to be published online for flexible use, to be made available to learners and teachers as open courseware (e.g. recorded high profile events, noteworthy lectures, MOOC and DEI course content).
- To enable the discovery of these materials in a way that ensures that our University’s reputation is enhanced.
- Making available online a significant collection of unique learning materials available openly to Scotland, the UK and the world, promoting health and economic and cultural well-being.
- To identify a number of major collections of interdisciplinary materials, archives, treasures, museum resources to be digitised, curated and shared for the greater good and significant contribution to public engagement with learning, study and research (e.g. archive collections drawn from across disciplines, e.g. History of Medicine/Edinburgh as the birthplace of medicine/Scottish history/social change).
- To put in place policy and infrastructure to ensure that these OER collections are sustainable and usable in the medium to longer term.
Why you, as an educator, should get involved with OER
Creation of OER has big benefits to individuals, educational institutions and society as a whole. If you are an educator it makes sense to create and use OER.
In Higher or Tertiary education, and for researchers, OER is not just about access to materials, but about making it possible (usually via open access models) to share materials more easily and creating platforms for more work to become visible (and therefore attract funding).
Why re-invent the wheel?
Teachers are responsible for creating great learning experiences, not (necessarily) for creating all the resources needed for this themselves. Reusing existing OER frees up time that can be spent on other aspects of the teaching and learning process. Their use can help you expand your range of teaching materials.
Raising your profile
Getting your materials out there as an educator can both help raise your profile and allow your resources to be improved by other users. You will improve your profile and impact, potentially collecting kudos/evidence towards promotion.
Take your resources with you
By making your teaching resources open you are also allowing yourself to take these materials with you when you move from one institution to another.
Improving your teaching
Creating OER will improve your practice by encouraging you to reflect. You will find people interested in and teaching/learning the same areas as you. Use and creation of OER facilitates looking outside your immediate environment and getting broader and different views on topic areas. You will learn new stuff which will reinvigorate your teaching.
Why you should get involved with (using) OER (as an educator)? was re-mixed from The Open Education Handbook licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (Unported) v3.0 (Attribution CC BY)
The information provided on this page is also available as a PDF: About Open.Ed and OERs (PDF 110kb)
To find out more on OERs visit the Open Education Resources Wiki.
To learn more about Scotland’s approach to OER read the Scottish Open Education Declaration