Open Education Resources

Content for learning has long been confined to libraries, or resource collections owned by schools or individual teachers. More recently we’ve accepted that content for learning can come in a variety of media, including audio and video materials – including online.

Examples and links

The common characteristic of this content is that is has been created by content experts, passing through a formal publication process, and protected by traditional terms of use and copyright.

This paradigm is now being truly challenged. There is increasing interest at both organsiation and system level to create and share resources for learning using the creative commons licensing system. The creative commons provides a series of levels under which content can be licensed, determining the extent to which is can be freely distributed and/or altered or repurposed.

Digital technologies are creating increasing opportunity for learners to become content creators instead of simply content consumers. Ease of development of content in rich, multimedia forms as well as traditional print can now be achieved with desktop applications and uploaded with ease to sites for sharing.

Open education resources address several issues that exist for educators:

  • they eliminate the barrier of cost in terms of text books and other resources, including the fact that often you have to purchase an entire resource when it is only one chapter or one section that you require.
  • if everyone contributes just a few resources to the pool, the result is a very large pool from which to draw – with a much larger variety of resoruces, and resources that are current and tailored to specific needs.
  • Resources can be altered, repurposed and combined with others to make them suitable for particular contexts and particular needs – and returned to the pool for sharing with others.

And the biggie..

  • The realisation that the educative value isn't in the resource itself, but in the careful and deliberate, planned context into which the resource is introduced and used, and the quality of the discourse that is generated by and around its use.


  • What use do your and your staff currently make of open education resources
  • Do you have policies and practices in place regarding the use of resources obtained online?
  • Do you have policies and practice in place regarding the development and sharing of student and teacher created resources?