One of the benefits of OER is that you can modify and remix existing OER to meet your and your learners’ or students’ needs. Not all OER are as adaptable as others, though; if you are creating new OER, you will need to make sure your resources are as adaptable as possible.
If you are looking to adapt an existing OER or create a new one, keep these features in mind:
Open License Allowing Remixing
Creative Commons (CC) licenses are the most common open licenses applied to educational resources. There are six (6) types of CC licenses, but the ND (No Derivatives) restriction should be avoided if you intend to create OER. An ND restriction stops users from being able to remix or modify your work. If a work has an ND restriction, users do not have permission to change anything within the resource. Video: reating OER and Combining Licenses.
An Adaptable File Format
To make a document easily modifiable, an author can provide a copy in a word processor format, such as .docx and .rtf, making the document editable straight from the file itself.
Many educators release their materials as PDFs, since they are usable on nearly every desktop and mobile device; however, this format is not editable. If you create or find a PDF made from scanned images, make sure that the text has been scanned by optical character recognition (OCR). OCR enables you to select and copy/paste text, which allows for much easier adaptability than transcribing entire passages with no copy/paste ability.
A Modular Format
It is far easier to modify an OER that has been broken up into modules (sections) than it is to modify one gigantic OER. Generally, the more modular your content is, the easier it is to adapt. For example, OpenStax College textbooks in Web View are separated not only by chapter, but also by subchapter, making it easy to mix and match sections for an adaptation.
In order to create an easily shareable open resource, you need it to be easily accessible to everyone. Here are some useful tips for creating OER offline and online:
Creating OER offline and uploading it
If you create OER on your own computer through platforms like word processors (Word, LibreOffice), presentation software (Keynote, PowerPoint), or art and layout platforms (InDesign, Illustrator, Blender, GIMP), these platforms do not make it possible to immediately share these files on a permanently-hosted and sustainable place easily. You will need an alternative option for hosting. Hosting services for files created offline include:
- Institutional Repositories (e.g. Georgia Knowledge Repository).
- MERLOT Content Builder
- OER Commons OpenAuthor
- Google Drive
Creating & Hosting OER using an Online platform
Free OER Platforms:
Commercial (Paid) Platforms:
Before you create a new OER, or even a new edition of an existing OER, plan also on addressing the accessibility of your material to students with different kinds of disabilities during the creation process. It is much more work to make a non-accessible OER accessible than it is to just create an accessible OER at the start. Keep these factors in mind:
- Will the software used to view the OER disable the accessibility features of the computer’s operating system (Windows, Mac OSX, Linux)?
- Is there text identification of non-text elements?
- Is all text in the OER recognizable to a computer as text?
- Is the OER accessible by the colorblind?
- Is the OER available in accessibility-focused formats?
Click Here to learn more about how to make OER more accessible for the disabled.
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