OER and Copyright Law

Information for Educators

Open Educational Resources (OER)

What is it?

Open educational resources (OER) are any resources available usually for free that can be used for teaching, learning, or research. Although OER can include games, learning apps, reading materials or text books, OER usually refers to digital or electronic resources in multimedia formats released under Creative Commons. OER can be used in many learning environments, such as online, blended and face to face environments. All resources will provide a license that explicitly states how they can be used-in original form, with modifications, or redistribution.

Why is it important?

Educational resources can represent a plethora of materials that the educational community deems as most valuable while ensuring that the resources available in the open environment are vetted by a very broad community of educators. With exposure and access to new and invigorating material, these resources can spur pedagogical innovation in teaching, learning, and professional development. The use and modification of resources promote collaboration and participation of an expanding network whose boundaries never end. Continued infusion of OER into education has the potential to have far-reaching effects on changing the face and character of teaching and learning.
Creative Commons licences explained
TEDxNYED - David Wiley - 03/06/10

Copyright and Fair Use

What is it?

Copyright is legal protection for original works, including, but not limited to, poetry, movies, video games, videos, plays, paintings, photographs, sheet music, recorded music performances, novels, software code, sculptures, photographs, choreography and architectural design. Fair Use allows copyrighted material to be used under certain guidelines, without the copyright holder’s permission, for purposes such as news reporting, teaching, research, criticism, and parody.