The Power of Open Educational Resources: January 2022 Bulletin

Resources to Enhance Teaching and Learning at Clark University

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research materials- digital or otherwise- that are freely accessible in the public domain and are published under open licenses such as the Creative Commons license (Lumen Learning, 2016). Resources in the OER can be used, improved, and re-shared by any user. David Wiley, founder of the Open Education Conference, states that materials in the OER are licensed in a manner that permits users to engage in the following 5R activities:

  1. Retain: Make, own, and control copies of the content (e.g., download, duplicate, store, and manage)

  2. Reuse: Use the content in a wide range of ways (e.g., in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video)

  3. Revise: Adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language)

  4. Remix: Combine the original or revised content with other material to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)

  5. Redistribute: Share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend)

(Retrieved from:

The OER movement was introduced with a focus on broadening access to information through the use of free, open content. As Bliss and Smith mention in their breakdown of the history of open education, “much of our attention focused on OER’s usefulness at providing knowledge in its original form to those who otherwise might not have access. The implicit goal was to equalize access to disadvantaged and advantaged peoples of the world – in MIT’s language, to create ‘a shared intellectual Common.” (The Philosophy and Practices that are Revolutionizing Education and Science, 2017).

Furthermore, the growth and promotion of OER is often motivated by a desire to provide an alternate or enhanced educational paradigm. Not only does OER help teachers by supplementing and adding value to existing curriculum resources, but it also helps students by reducing the cost of education. OERs help students get exposure to a wider range of learning opportunities in different shape and form. According to JISC, learning can benefit from:

  • Enhanced quality and flexibility of resources
  • Seeing/applying knowledge in a wider context than their course may otherwise allow
  • Support for learner-centered, self-directed, peer-to-peer and social/informal learning approaches.

(Retrieved from: JISC)

According to the US Department of Labor, college textbook prices rose 1,041% from 1977 to 2015, over three times the price of inflation. This results in students viewing textbook costs as one of their biggest financial stressors. While OERs helps to ease such financial burden, it is not just about the money. With OER, educators not only increase students’ access to materials by removing cost barriers. They become active participants in a new pedagogical movement.

Find and/or Contribute to OERs:

Real-time federated search for OER content.

Openly Available Sources Integrated Search (OASIS) is a search tool that aims to make the discovery of open content easier.

OER Commons offers a comprehensive infrastructure for curriculum experts and instructors at all levels to identify high-quality OER and collaborate around their adaptation, evaluation, and use to address the needs of teachers and learners.

Luminos is the Open Access (OA) publishing program for the University of California Press. It makes digital editions of scholarly books available free of charge to anyone around the world.

AMSER is a portal of educational resources and services built specifically for use by those in Community and Technical Colleges but free for anyone to use.

The Digital Public Library of America empowers people to learn, grow, and contribute to a diverse and better-functioning society. We do this by maximizing public access to our shared history, culture, and knowledge.

(List retrieved from: Clarku.libguides)

Click here to explore Clark University’s Digital Commons and browse through the Clark syllabi and OER collections.


Learn more about OER from Clark’s Library: What they are, how they can be of benefit, and how to find them.


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