Open education is the critical link between teaching, learning, and the collaborative culture of the Internet. A key part of open education includes the creation and use of open educational resources (OERs) — academic materials that everyone can use, adapt, and share freely.
Open educational resources (OERs) are teaching, learning, and research resources released under an open license that permits their free use and repurposing by others. OERs can be textbooks, full courses, lesson plans, videos, tests, software, or any other tool, material, or technique that supports access to knowledge.
Technology creates an unprecedented opportunity to expand access to knowledge. Yet, our systems for communicating knowledge still have many of the same cost barriers and use limitations present in the pre-Internet, print-based world. This is especially true for educational resources. The cost of college textbooks has risen rapidly, forcing many students to forgo required materials due to the expense. Digital alternatives have offered little financial relief and are typically sold on a subscription basis with heavy restrictions on access. Moreover, traditional publishing systems too often discourage, rather than enable, the adaptation or improvement of content for the classroom.
Educational materials are both an important output of the scholarly research process and, in turn, an essential part of educating tomorrow’s scholars.