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Open Educational Resources

These are educational materials that meet the principle of universal access, with no fees for using and making them available for further use on the basis of an open license. They are part of Open Education.

The most common definition of OER is the one from the UNESCO Paris Declaration of 2012, according to which open educational resources are:

"materials for teaching, learning and research, in any medium, whether digital or otherwise, in the public domain, or materials made available under an open license, allowing free access, use, adaptation and redistribution of the material without any restrictions. Free licenses are based on an existing definition of intellectual property as defined by relevant international conventions; they recognize the author of the resource."

Open Educational Resources can take the form of written and spoken texts, photos, recordings, radio and television broadcasts, animations and other videos, quiz tests or games or source codes. They are usually found in electronic form, although it is not a necessary condition.

The concept of Open Educational Resources was developed by David Wiley, who stated that Open Educational Resources must comply with the 5R principle:

  1. Reuse - reuse of the resource in any way,
  2. Revise - adaptation and modification, e.g. translating a resource
  3. Remix - combining original content or modifying it with other OER in order to create a new quality (e.g. mashup)
  4. Redistribute - disseminating and sharing copies of the original or modified, remixed content (e.g. posting a copy of the asset on the web for free download by others)
  5. Retain - creating your own resources and ensuring their presence on the web

More information on how the idea of Open Educational Resources is developing now can be found in the latest publication of Rebus Community, a global community working for the development of OER around the world.

Open Educational Resources can be downloaded from dedicated repositories or websites. All links offer resources for free, but some options may be available for a fee. They can be divided into categories:

  • Pexels - the world's first inclusive free stock photo and video library
  • Pickup Image - the world's largest photo site complete with free photo editor
  • Pixnio - free images for everyone for any use
  • Pixabay - over 2.1 million photos and videos shared by the community around the world
  • Pixlr X - photo editor and design tools
  • Morguefile - site with free photos founded in 1996
  • Public Domain Pictures - site with photos on a Public Domain basis
  • Flickr - a free tool for acquiring and storing photos and preparing presentations
  • Unsplash - photo source for any use, e.g. for websites
  • Can we image - image search engine from Wikimedia Commons
  • Open textbooks of AGH University of Science and Technology - open, free academic e-textbooks. For everyone!
  • OpenStax textbooks - world-famous academic textbooks created by the best authors in the world
  • Intech textbooks - a leading publisher of textbooks entirely in the Open Access model
  • Books in the Open Access model - the world's largest open access e-book search engine
  • Free Reading - free Polish school books for every parent to download
  • OpenEdition - French platform that provides books and scientific journals published in different languages
  • Open Textbook Library - free academic books and textbooks for students and not only them
  • Open Book Collective - UK-based non-profit organisation of publishers, libraries, researchers and service providers. It allows users to search for books published in free access and then go to the website of a particular publisher, while libraries can select specific collections that will be available for free to their readers after paying for a subscription
  • TU Delft Open Library - library of open textbooks of the University of Technology in Delft. It gives the possibility to publish your own book in the Open Access model
  • Toronto Metropolitan University Pressbooks - information on textbooks of exact, natural and social sciences available under CC licenses
  • Rebus Community Press - a platform that gives access to books and textbooks mainly in the field of humanities and economics, available under the CC BY 4.0 license. The platform also allows you to publish your own book in the Open Access model
  • Vimeo - creating and publishing high-quality videos
  • Musopen - recordings, musical scores and other texts relating to music for any processing
  • CC Mixter - free sounds and music with a mixing tool
  • Librivox - site where you can listen to audiobooks in many languages or record your own one
  • Open Music Archive - archive of music recordings from the beginning of the 19th century to the present day
  • Free music archive - free songs and sounds for any use
  • Jamendo Music - copyright-free music for commercial use
  • Open Resources - portal where you can find open resources and tools to create them from all over the world and from all fields
  • Open Culture - a platform where you can find the latest and most interesting educational materials
  • Humaaans - human illustration tool for any use - by Pablo Stanley
  • Avataaars - avatar maker tool for use on message boards or social media - by Pablo Stanley
  • Easelly - software for creating infographics
  • Canva - software for creating infographics
  • Icograms - creating three-dimensional iconography
  • Thingiverse - 3D models available for 3D printing
  • Phet Colorado - interactive educational simulations in the Java environment
  • Open Street Map - freely available maps for accessible use
  • Ted Talks - open lectures on new ideas
  • OER World Map - world map with information about OER around the world
  • Wikipedia - the largest freely available encyclopedia in the world created by volunteers all over the world