Open educational resources

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Open Educational Resources

You have heard of the National Curriculum Framework 2005, which speaks of contextual, inclusive and meaningful education. In your units on education, you have also read about constructivist learning models. For these ideas to come true, relevant learning resources must be available for the students (teachers) and teachers (teacher-educator). These resources must be contextual, easily available, allow for learners to modify and adapt for their requirements.

Right now, in many cases, the textbook tends to be the most important resource for teachers, if not the only resource. This resource is limited, made once in a year and represent on set of thoughts. These resources are largely text based, have very audio visual resources and may not address multiple learning needs. External resources, though available, are also largely non-digital, expensive and cannot easily be adapted for local needs and contexts. For critical and diverse perspectives to develop, multiple resources must be available and it must be possible for knowledge to be constructed and shared from multiple contexts. Otherwise, it is possible that only some forms of knowledge will remain important and other will die out. For knowledge sharing to freely happen, educational resources must become freely available, freely shareable and freely changeable to adapt to local contexts and needs. You have also read about the role of ICTs in the creation, sharing and distribution of knowledge in section on ICTs and Society. Open Educational Resources (OERs), as they are called are such learning resources. Open Educational Resources are digital resources that are available freely, in multiple formats – text, audio, video – to allow for multiple learner needs.

This is a global phenomenon and began in 2001 with the launch of wikipedia (, where knowledge is created and shared by many many people and not restricted to one person. Following this, Massachussetts Institute of Technology, a leading university in the United States of America, released many of its course materials for free called Open Courseware (2001). In teacher education also, educational resources were developed collaboratively by a programme for Teacher Education in Sub Saharan Africa and published on These are some of the early initiatives in OERs; now many more OERs are available across the world teaching and learning. In India, National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL) ( and IGNOU have offered many of the courses as Open Educational Resources.

Kinds of OERs

There are different kinds of OERs: - Sharing already created academic content for free; - - Structuring free course materials and courses – like; ;; ; - Collaborate and creating materials - The Karnataka Open Educational Resources (KOER) project is a project of DSERT Karnataka to enable and support teachers to collaborate and create educational resources and share with all.

Principles of OERs

Open Educational Resources are those resources that allow the following four kinds of freedoms to learners/ users. These “Freedoms” are as follows:

  1. Resources can be accessed for free, used and 're-used'
  2. Resources can be revised/ adapted to make it relevant
  3. Resources can be re-mixed / combined to make a new resource
  4. Resources can be redistributed - the revised/ remixed resource can be shared back.

These are called the 4 Rs (re-use, re-vise, re-mix and re-distribute) Licensing and copyright

These resources are shared under copyright which are less restrictive than the usual 'all rights reserved' and allow for some or all of the four R's. One popular copyright used for such resources is the “Creative Commons”. Creative Commons is a type of copy right (sometimes called Copy Left) that will allow you to use the resources, modify them, combine them and also redistribute. When you are accessing/ sharing something as OERs, you can share it under Creative Commons License, by explicitly mentioning that 'Copyright – Creative Commons' in your text. If nothing is mentioned, the default copyright is 'all rights reserved', which will mean others cannot modify or share your resources.

OERs – A national priority

At the national level, the NCERT is maintaining a National Repository of Open Educational Resources. For more information on NROER, click


Karnataka Open Educational Resources, is a resource repository collaboratively created by the teachers of Karnataka. It is organized on the same principles of OERs and is built on a wiki platform like wikipedia. Teachers and teacher-educators play a key role in creating locally relevant, meaningful and dynamic resources.

The objectives of KOER are 1. To develop a process of learning, sharing and creating by building collaborative peer networks 2. To provide for continuous learning through the process of resource creation 3. Provide a sustainable model of creating and sharing educational resources that can enhance the educational outcomes 4. To build a repository of teaching resources – for teachers, teacher educators and as a resource base for teacher education For information on KOER, visit