One of the more valuable trends within online education is the development of Open Educational Resources (OER). These resources are often described as “digitised materials offered freely and openly for educators, students and self-learners to use and reuse for teaching, learning and research.”
One of the core features of open educational resources is that they are non-exclusive, non-rival goods. What does that mean? Think back to the days when you were in school and the teacher identified a book that would be very helpful for the research paper that you were writing (along with every other student in the class). As soon as the class was over, you had to race to the library to be the first person to sign out the book, as there was only one copy! That is an exclusive, rival good; only one person at a time could use it.
Not so with OER. Because of the digital nature and open access of OER, every student can have a copy of their own textbook to read and study, according to their own schedule, location, etc. No more fighting over one copy.
So … where do we find these resources? Here are a few sites to start with:
- OER Commons
- National Digital Science Library
- College Open Textbooks