Open Education Resources are materials in the curriculum that reside among the public and have open copyright licenses, which means that they are free to access, redistribute, and adapt. Open Educational Resources comprise of educational materials ranging from comprehensive textbooks, partial or full courses, and instructional videos. In college education, the use of OER as the primary instructional materials is increasingly becoming more popular. Some surveys have shown that the use of OER has mixed but limited outcomes for students. However, the research is based on traditional materials, which have dramatically changed. With the improvement of materials, OER is set to show more impact that is positive. The following are some of the benefits they offer.
The first benefit is that this curriculum method saves costs for the students. Textbooks for a certain course tend to be expensive. On the other hand, OER is free or available at a low cost. With this, the cheaper option will be the best for the welfare of the student. The affordability of OER is a motivation for the students and brings equality because those who cannot afford the textbooks get a chance to benefit just like those who can.
The second benefit is that OER gives a student more access to different quality choices. There are many available online courses and instructional videos from which the students can select to benefit from. Most of these materials are from recognized universities and personnel. This means that even when a student is in a less popular college, they get materials from the best. Institutions such as John Hopkins University, Stanford University, MIT, Open Learning Initiative, and Harvard offer open courses accessible through the internet. When they draw a larger audience, these institutions bring more education to people who did not attend them, which is advantageous to the entire planet.
Third, OER has more clarity on the reuse of material. When using OER, one has peace of mind other than when using a material that is subjected to copyright restrictions. OER allows sharing of the information and therefore you do not need permission from the author to share. With this benefit, the instructor can use many OERs for education and hence giving the students a chance to view things from many perspectives. On the other hand, the normal textbooks are subjected to copyright restrictions, which means that you need to purchase them to enjoy the benefits and ask for the author’s permission when you want to share. You will hardly get this permission.
Lastly, OER is useful in the retention of knowledge even after the course is completed. When instructional material is shared with the public, it means that it is accessible to the students that took a particular course and prospective students at any time. Sometimes, the students may go through the material when in an advanced course and it will be easier for them to grasp the knowledge they already had. They are also useful when selecting a course because a student can easily go through the materials to find out whether the course is a good fit for them.