OER are learning resources that have been released under an open license permitting their free use/modification. OER render this knowledge accessible to all. Digital locks and restrictive licences seriously hinder the use of commercial content. The free sharing of OER is an essential element in any self-directed learning environment. The free sharing of open educational resources (OER) can be seen as essential for promoting the creation of content usable online. OER can be effective in reducing the knowledge divide that separates and partitions societies. Educators worldwide continue to face significant challenges related to providing increased access to high quality learning, while containing or reducing costs. New developments in information technology, especially with tablets, phablets, mobile phones and different gaming devices, highlight the shortcomings and challenges for the traditional education community, as well as those of more flexible providers, such as open universities. Such developments have the potential to increase access and flexibility in education by rendering it ubiquitous. Basic education for all continues to be a goal that challenges – and will continue to challenge – many countries. OER can be used to overcome many of the obstacles faced by both learners and educators.
Professor Rory McGreal is s the UNESCO/Commonwealth of Learning Chairholder in Open Educational Resources. He is a professor in the Centre for Distance Education at Athabasca University– Canada’s Open University based in Alberta, Canada. He is also the director of the Technology Enhanced Knowledge Research Institute (TEKRI). And, he is a co-Editor of the International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning (IRRODL), and founder of the OER Knowledge Cloud. Formerly, he served as the Associate Vice President Research.
For further information, please contact Tony Tin, Director of Library and Information Services, Renison Universtiy College or Lauren Byl, Copyright and Licensing Librarian, University of Waterloo Library.
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