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Open Educational Resources: Hei Tīmata | Getting Started

A guide to finding, using and creating open educational resources.

Open Educational Resources (OERs) are teaching, learning, and research materials that are freely available for use (remixed and adopted), adaptation, and sharing. They can include textbooks, lesson plans, quizzes, videos, and more.

Benefits of OERs

OERs have many benefits, including:

  • Increase student learning by providing no-cost teaching and learning resources
  • Breaks down affordability barriers by reducing student costs ($38 million in estimated costs for British Columbia alone)
  • Immediate and continual access to materials
  • Provides an opportunity to continually improve resources
  • Can easily be augmented with class materials
  • Enhancement of regular course content by allowing multiple formats to be used

For more information about OERs, please visit the Creative Commons Open Education website

Getting Started

Here is a step-by-step guide to get started with OERs:

  • Understanding OER: Familiarise yourself with OERs and their benefits.
  • Explore OER repositories: OER repositories are platforms and digital repositories that host educational materials that are openly licensed and freely available for use, reuse, modification, and sharing. You’ll find a curated list of OER repositories in the Where to find OERs page
  • Search for Resources: Use the search feature of these repositories to find resources that match your needs. You can search by subject, grade level, resource type, and more.
  • Evaluate Resources: After finding resources, take some time to evaluate them. Consider factors such as accuracy, currency, relevance to your curriculum and whether they meet the needs of your teaching and learning. More information on evaluating resources can be found in the Using OER page [add hyperlink]
  • Adapt: OERs are usually licensed in a way that permits adaptation. If you have found a resource that meets your requirements but needs some adjustments to suit your context and the needs of your students, you are free to modify it.
  • Incorporate OERs into your teaching: Once you have found OERs relevant to your course objectives and student learning outcomes, you can integrate them into your teaching. This could involve using OERs as supplementary material, replacing traditional textbooks with OERs textbooks, or even building entire courses around OERs.
  • Share Your Experience: As you start using OERs, consider sharing your experiences with colleagues or online communities. This can help others who are also interested in using OERs get started.
  • Stay Updated: OERs repositories are constantly being updated with new resources, so make it a habit to periodically check for new materials that might be relevant to your teaching and learning goals.
  • Give Credit: When you use OERs created by others, give proper attribution as per the licensing terms. This typically involves citing the author or creator of the resource and providing information about the license under which it is distributed.
  • Contribute: If you create your own educational resources, consider licensing them as OERs and contributing them to the community. This helps expand the pool of available resources for everyone to use.

CAUL OER Collective offers a comprehensive guide to understanding OER and other key concepts. Please see CAUL OER Collective for more information.