OER Commons

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High-quality OER, tools, and training to navigate the brave new world of Open Ed. Welcome to the education renaissance.WHAT ARE OPEN EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES (OER)?

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that you may freely use and reuse, without charge. Open Educational Resources are different from other resources a teacher may use in that OER have been given limited or unrestricted licensing rights. That means they have been authored or created by an individual or organization that chooses to retain few, if any, ownership rights. For some of these resources, that means you can download the resource and share it with colleagues and students. For others, it may be that you can download a resource, edit it in some way, and then re-post it as a remixed work. OER often have a Creative Commons or GNU license that state specifically how the material may be used, reused, adapted, and shared.

The OER Commons Initiative: A Brief Background

ISKME created OER Commons, publicly launched in February 2007, to provide support for and build a knowledge base around the use and reuse of open educational resources (OER). As a network for teaching and learning materials, the web site offers engagement with resources in the form of social bookmarking, tagging, rating, and reviewing. OER Commons has forged alliances with over 120 major content partners to provide a single point of access through which educators and learners can search across collections to access over 30,000 items, find and provide descriptive information about each resource, and retrieve the ones they need. By being "open," these resources are publicly available for all to use, and principally through Creative Commons licensing, many thousands are legally available for repurposing, modifying and improving.

The worldwide OER movement is rooted in the idea that equitable access to high-quality education is a global imperative. Open Educational Resources, or OER, offer opportunities for systemic change in teaching and learning through accessible content, and importantly, through embedding participatory processes and effective technologies for engaging with learning. By leveraging our technical infrastructure and developing teacher training models that facilitate participation with OER, the OER Commons project aims to grow a sustainable culture of sharing among educators at all levels.

Continuing its efforts to support the dynamic discovery and dissemination of teaching and learning content through the OER Commons platform, ISKME is developing training and professional development models to support teachers and schools in effective uses of online content and to meet the demands of 21st century learning. As a key part of the OER Commons initiative, we work directly with teachers and students to engage with learning resources through processes that involve continuous improvement, that require collaboration and social learning, and build expertise from within and from the bottom-up. We develop, facilitate, and evaluate educational programs including professional development workshops, forums, international teacher resource exchanges, online knowledge-sharing collaboratives, and online course materials.

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