The Commons
Open educational resources, known as OER, are free, accessible and open license documents and media used for teaching, learning, assessing and researching. OER may include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and other tools, materials and procedures.

The term was first used at a UNESCO 2002 Forum on Open Courseware. So, it's hardly surprising that OER is part of a global open content movement that allows instructors to reuse, review, remix and redistribute those materials.

Why OER is important
Edutopia's Open Educational Resources Guide notes quality OER saves individual instructors from re-inventing the wheel. You reduce time and effort to resource development, plus might improve available material and best practices through collaboration.

Defining OER arrow View
Wikipedia has a good overview of OER including definitions, history, policy, international programs, references and external links.
OER Resources arrow View
An educator's guide to OER can be found on www.oercommons.org. It includes online repositories, curriculum-sharing website, lesson plan and activities sources and open textbooks.

Check eCampus Alberta's OER resources.

The Creative Commons isn't just about music and graphics, it also has links to OER resources. There's also an education license for accessing all of the resources on Creative Commons. Included are case studies, open courseware and links to OER organizations.

The Higher Education Academy, based in the UK, has a number of resources including OER.