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Information for Faculty

What is OER and Open Access?

Open Access (OA) refers to scholarly research that can be:

  • Available on the public internet without finacial, legal, or technical barriers.

  • Read, downloaded, copied, distributed, or printed.

  • Linked to full text research articles.

  • Passed as data to software.

  • Crawled for indexing.

Often all that is required is to "give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited”

 (Budapest Open Access Initiative).

Open Educational Resources (OER) are “teaching, learning and research materials in any medium that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others.”

The 5 key attributes of OER are the 5-Rs:

Retain – permission to make, own, and control copies of the content

Reuse – permission to use the content in a wide range of ways

Revise – permission to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself

Remix – permission to combine the original or revised content with other material to create something new

Redistribute – permission to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others

(CCCEL 5.2 “Acquiring Essential Knowledge” para 3 and 6, respectively).

All OER is, by definition, open access.

That is, every OER resource may be freely accessed online and may be used by everyone with no financial, legal, or technical barriers, simply by providing attribution.

In contrast, not all OA meets every one of the 5-R standards of OER.

Benefits for Students

  • Access up-to-date research for cutting-edge scholarship relevant to papers, projects and assignments

  • Gain full-text, quality content with no pay-wall barriers (CCCEL 5.1 “Open Access” para 2 and “Personal Reflection” para 1)

Benefits for Faculty

  • Access the scholarship of others and share your work immediately, with no embargo period (CCCEL 5.1 “Open Access” para 2)

  • Widen the circle of scholars with whom you participate in the scholarly conversation.

    • At least one study found OA-published “papers produce a 50% higher research impact than strictly pay-walled papers” (Tennant et al.)

OER Benefits for Students

  • FREE learning resources are…free! No added cost. Ever.

  • Gain access to learning resources from the very first day of class: no need to wait for a reduced-price copy or for the availability of a course-reserve library copy.

  • Never have to struggle to match the course syllabus to an outdated edition of a textbook.

  • Never lose access to the learning material, even after the course ends. (CCCEL 5.2, “Acquiring Essential Knowledge” para 10 and 5.3, “Personal Reflection” para 2 bullets 2, 3).

OER Benefits for Faculty

  • Teach a cohort of learners in which every student can attend class prepared to learn, because every student can access the necessary learning resources.

  • Fix errors and update content as necessary.

  • Gain flexibility: jettison unnecessary content, reorganize chapters or modules, add and edit at will, tailoring to meet the needs of your instruction, the course learning objectives, and local context. (CCCEL 5.3 “Remixing and Adapting Resources” para 1 and “Personal reflection” para 2 bullet 3)