"Open access is a broad international movement that seeks to grant free and open online access to academic information, such as publications and data. A publication is defined 'open access' when there are no financial, legal or technical barriers to accessing it - that is to say when anyone can read, download, copy, distribute, print, search for and search within the information, or use it in education or in any other way within the legal agreements" (OpenAccess.nl). Open Educational Resources (OER) represent a portion of Open Access (OA) content. "OER are always Open Access, but not all OA materials are considered OER" (River Campus Libraries).
According to OER Commons, "Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that you may freely use and reuse at no cost, and without needing to ask permission." Unlike copyrighted resources, OER have been authored or created by an individual or organization that chooses to retain few, if any, ownership rights. OER often have a Creative Commons license or other permission to let you know how the material may be used, reused, adapted, and shared. You can always check the parameters of the Creative Commons License by looking up the license type here.
OER is also a valid option when considering financial strain on students and how that financial strain can affect the success and retention of the student body. Consider the amount of students who perform poorly in classes because they did not have the funds to access the textbook for the class or perhaps a student who drops out altogether due to inaccessibility of funds for textbooks. This can easily be remedied by choosing a textbook that is an open educational resource and therefore free. Many sites, such as OpenStax, even offer the student the ability to print the book at a low cost if they are more tactile learners.
McKee Library provides faculty access to Faculty Select. Faculty Select is a customized site that leverages the technology of the EBSCO Discovery Service platform that enables faculty to find and access open educational resource (OER) content, as well as find and request unlimited user DRM-Free eBooks from their library.
*Note: Portions of this information was reused and adapted from the Tennessee Wesleyan Merner Pfeiffer Library.
A short, animated, infographic explanatory video was produced to illustrate what Open Educational Resources stands for: digital materials that can be re-used for teaching, learning, research and more, made available free through open licenses.
What is open access? Nick Shockey and Jonathan Eisen take us through the world of open access publishing and explain just what it's all about.