OERs: Benefiting Students Educationally and Financially
Higher levels of education are expensive. The books that are used are not cheap, either. However, open education resources (OERs) are starting to take hold. They are benefiting students, educationally and financially.
What Is an OER?
Open education resources are educational resources that are free from copyright and, therefore, free to retain, reuse, revise, remix, or redistribute. Educators can use these resources in their classrooms (or outside of them) to subsidize their curriculum.
OERs include free CC-licensed textbooks, courses, learning programs, and more!
How Is OER Used?
Educators use OER for a few different purposes. One is to educate their students outside of the classroom. Educators can assign these free courses to their students before classes begin so students can better prepare themselves for the semester.
Students can also subsidize their schooling with free online courses. Though these courses are not always transferrable as credit, they offer the student the ability to increase their knowledge in their desired niche.
Students can also take some entire programs for free, making education financially feasible for lower-class America. Students are typically awarded a certificate after graduating from these programs.
Some educators also use OER to replace expensive college textbooks. Many students cannot afford their books without using student loans to pay for them. Students who cannot get student loans may not be able to continue classes due to the inability to procure these textbooks. However, OER makes these college classes more financially feasible for many students.
Lectures and Slide Decks
Educators also use OER to make their job simpler. Other types of CC-licensed materials offered as OER are lecture materials and slide decks. These materials allow educators to benefit students without having to start fresh each time they prepare a lecture or slides as visuals.
Where Can OER Be Found?
There are several places to find OER online. One such spot is SoftChalk Create. This tool has thousands of open education resources available. Each resource was created by an educator, CC-licensed, and is free for you to use at your will and how you will.
How Do I Use SoftChalk Create’s Repository?
You can publish anything that you find in Softchalk Create to any Learning Management System (LMS) of your choice. This way, you can deliver the content of the OER through the LMS interface that your students are familiar with. They never have to leave the familiarity of their own interface to learn what the new OER has to offer.
How Can I Contribute?
SoftChalk Create is not only an OER repository. It is also a tool for creating eLearning content. Therefore, educators can create their own lessons to use in their classroom and add them to the repository!
Adding content to an OER repository gives an educator recognition in the open education world as an authority in their niche. The more an educator contributes, the better known they will become and the more respected they will be. Therefore, contributing to OER is not only a benefit to other students and other educators; it is also of service to the contributing educator!
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