OER and the Five R’s

We’ve noted before how Open Educational Resources (OER) represent a “galaxy of opportunity,” as reflected in the current library display. Let’s take a closer look at what makes them an exciting educational trend.

Photo by opensource.com CC By-SA 2.0

OER and the Five R’s

When people talk about OER, they frequently refer to the “five R’s.”

  1. Retain – the right to make, own, and control copies of the content (e.g., download, duplicate, store, and manage)
  2. Reuse – the right to use the content in a wide range of ways (e.g., in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video)
  3. Revise – the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language)
  4. Remix – the right to combine the original or revised content with other material to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)
  5. Redistribute – the right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend)”                                                                                                                                         – David Wiley, (http://opencontent.org/definition/)

These categories help to explain the purpose of using an open license for your work. Creative Commons licenses open up these possibilities, and therefore a “galaxy” of options for users – they can choose whether to use the material as is, redistribute it to students for free, translate it into another language, etc.

Remix – The most exciting R 

It’s the fifth “R” – remix – that represents the full potential of OER. “Remix” indicates that a future user can actually modify the content – as long as they give credit to the original creator.

If you’re wondering whether an item is available to “remix,” just look to the license!
CC BY is the most open Creative Commons license, because it places no limits on future use. When you see this license, it means that you, the user, can “remix” the content to your heart’s content – edit the text, add pictures, and use a portion or the whole. The only rule is that you indicate who its original creator was, by adding an attribution (we’ll look at that topic in an upcoming blog post).

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