Open Educational Resources are defined as “technology-enabled, open provision of educational resources for consultation, use and adaptation by a community of users for non-commercial purposes”. They are typically made freely available over the Web or the Internet. Their principal use is by teachers and educational institutions support course development, but they can also be used directly by students. Open Educational Resources include learning objects such as lecture material, references and readings, simulations, experiments and demonstrations, as well as syllabus, curricula and teachers’ guides (UNESCO, 2002).
Open Educational Resources are resources that are made available online for use or reuse. Institutions have a wide range of educational resources at their disposal and these are often made available to an internal group of students within a closed learning environment. In order for the materials to be shared with the rest of the world, they need to be made openly available under an open licence, for example Creative Commons. A licence of this kind makes the reuse, revising, remixing and redistributing of materials possible.
There are no restrictions on the type of educational resources concerned. They can be presentations, videos of lectures, e books, or complete open courses. A distinction can be made, however, between the individual learning objects and the resources that are assembled using them.
OERs are learning materials that can be accessed, used, and transformed by anyone, anywhere. There are two main advantages: First, OERs can lower education costs substantially. Second, OERs can also help universities reduce their marketing costs. Open resources have been a boon for recruitment.