UTS Library

Open Educational Resources (OERs)

What are OERs?

Open educational resources (OERs) are free, openly licensed online teaching and learning materials. These can take a wide variety of forms including text, photographic and video material, audio, software, quizzes, or even whole course lessons (called OpenCourseware). These materials are either in the public domain or have been offered under Creative Commons licenses that allow for their wider use. It is important to check whether the content is offered under a CC license or whether it has terms and conditions. (OERs are not to be confused with MOOCs, which are not offered under open licenses.)

Swinburne University and the University of Tasmania have created a useful Open Education Licensing Toolkit that gives guidance about finding and using OERs.

How can I use OERs?

OERs are built around five principles: Retain (you may control copies of the OER even if the original is removed); reuse & revise (freedom to use the OER unaltered, or to adapt it to your needs); remix (combine the OER with external material to create something new) and redistribute (share copies of your original content and adaptations with others).

How can I find OERs?

Some popular online platforms allow for searching creative commons material (For example, Google, YouTube, Wikimedia) and there are specific sites designed to help you find CC material and OERs such as the Creative Commons Website, Open Professionals Education Network, OER Commons, OER Repositories World Map, and Jorum. There is also the Open Education Resource Repository (OERR) rubric, designed to provide a process of evaluating OER repositories. The Library can help with a learning.futures consultation, and in addition, we’ve created our own lists of popular resources by faculty.

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

MIT OpenCourseWare: MIT OpenCourseWare makes the materials used in the teaching of almost all of MIT's subjects available on the Web. With more than 2,200 courses available, it should offer something for every flavour of international study.

Open Stax – CNX: Useful in education and communication, this portal provides learning objects packaged into open textbook shaped resources, that sometimes contain section quizzes, animations and interactive exercises.

MERLOT Teacher Education Portal: MERLOT is a leading edge, user-centered, collection of peer reviewed higher education, online learning materials, catalogued by registered members and a set of faculty development support services.

Open TextBook Library: A directory and collection of Creative Commons licensed textbooks, with useful material in both communications and education.

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UTS Business School

MIT OpenCourseWare: MIT OpenCourseWare makes the materials used in the teaching of almost all of MIT's subjects available on the Web. With more than 2,200 courses available, offers courses in economics, management and political science.

Open Course Library: A series of online courses on a wide variety of subjects, available under a Creative Commons Attribution license. Very adaptable. Noteworthy business courses in accounting, business law and economics.

Utah State OpenCourseWare; Economics: Education material used on-campus through Utah State University, provided online under a CC license. The economics landing page includes all their current economics subjects.

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Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building

MIT OpenCourseWare: MIT OpenCourseWare makes the materials used in the teaching of almost all of MIT's subjects available on the Web, free of charge. With more than 2,200 courses available, including Introduction to Design Computing and Geometric Disciplines & Architecture Skills.

Zandra Rhodes Digital Study Collection: Explore the drawings, learn about the inspiration behind her most famous pieces, and see the design and production techniques that are used to make the handcrafted couture in the Rhodes fashion studio in London.

OER Commons - Architecture and Design: A lot of open access courseware available, as well as some lecture content.

The Sustainable Built Environment National Research Centre (SBEnrc): The vision for the SBEnrc is to be an enduring world-class research and knowledge broker in sustainable infrastructure and building design, construction and management to enhance the performance of Australia's built environment industry.

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Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology

MIT OpenCourseware: Particularly useful to engineering,  an extensive collection of course content from MIT's School of Engineering including syllabi, reading lists, lecture notes (ie slides), exams and assignments.

Delft OpenCourseware: An extensive collection of course content from Delft's undergraduate and postgraduate level programs including lectures (ie video recordings), readings, activities and exams.

Open Textbook Library: Computer Science & Information Systems: A directory of open textbooks, including textbooks on algorithms, digital circuits and computation.

The National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL): NPTEL, funded by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, has developed curriculum based course contents for more than 240 engineering courses in five disciplines at the undergraduate level, including Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Biotechnology and basic courses for semester 1 & 2 students.

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Faculty of Health

John Hopkins School of Public Health: Open public health courses and materials from John Hopkins School of Public Health.

Noba: Open Course Ware specifically focusing on Psychology. Instructor resources include ready-made textbooks, quizzes, PowerPoint presentations, and instructor manuals.

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Faculty of Law

Australian National University (ANU) Law: Playlist of 23 Law Videos from The Australian National University.

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Faculty of Science

MIT OpenCourseWare: MIT's School of Science offers undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral training programs through this OpenCourseWare including an extensive collection of course content: syllabus, reading lists, lecture notes, videos, exams and assignments.

British Columbia Open Campus Textbooks: This collection includes textbooks written specifically for the BC OpenTextbook initiative as well as books from other sources. BCcampus.ca open textbooks are openly licensed using a Creative Commons license, and are offered in various e-book formats free of charge.

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Graduate School of Health

Pharmaceuticals Management for Underserved PopulationsA multidisciplinary course to provide students with an operational understanding of factors influencing access to and use of pharmaceuticals and other health commodities.

Pharm 476 - Principles of Research and Problem Solving: Open course aimed at showing students how to engage with research methods and proposal writing within a health context. Despite the name, the course is relevant beyond its pharmacy origins and is useful across the field of health research.

NobaOpen access textbooks for psychology.

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Further Reading

Open Educational Resources (OER) and Copyright: Prezi presentation by Janet Chelliah (Scholarly Information Manager) and Matthew Noble (UTS Copyright Officer) - first presented at Learning 2014 Series session 3.

Educause2010, 7 Things You Should Know About Open Educational Resources [PDF]

European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Prospective Technological Studies, Information Society Unit: Open Educational Resources And Practices In Europe (OEREU) includes Open Education 2030 Contribution to the JRC-IPTS Call for Vision Papers Part III: Higher Education  [PDF, 197 pages].

Bossu, C., Brown, M. & Bull, D. 2014, Adoption, use and management of open educational resources to enhance teaching and learning in AustraliaOLT project, Lead Institution: University of New England 

Centre for Educational Research and Innovation 2007, Giving Knowledge for Free: the Emergence of Open Educational Resources: OECD, Paris

SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) 2013Open Educational Resources

White, D. and Manton, M. 2011, Open Educational Resources: The Value of Reuse in Higher Education: JISC, Oxford