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According to the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation:
“Open Educational Resources are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and repurposing by others. OER include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge.”
Why Choose OER?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, textbook costs have risen 88% from 2006-2016, while prices for other consumer goods have only grown by 21%. This massive hike in textbook prices has created problems for middle and lower class students, who have been unable to buy textbooks for their courses, causing some students to drop fields of study altogether.
The Open Education movement is built around the 5 R's of open content:
Retain: The right to make, own, and control copies of the content.
Reuse: The right to use the content in a wide range of ways (e.g., in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video)
Revise: The right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language)
Remix: The right to combine the original or revised content with other open content to create something new.
Redistribute: The right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others.
CC Licenses and Rights
To ensure that users are able to remix and reuse OER, Creative Commons licenses are often used to communicate the rights which creators would like to retain. Creative Commons licenses give others a variety of permissions upfront, making a faster and more transparent process. Adding CC licenses to your work can help ensure that your work is shared or reused as you see fit. For example, some creators may wish to share their work, but not to allow users to "Remix," or alter them.