Open educational resources
Open educational resources (OER) is a special term used for learning materials which are open in a rather general and loosely defined sense. Open not only means that the resources are free-of-charge, but also that some (but not necessarily all) of a number of other freedoms apply, such as freedom to redistribute and freedom to modify. Open educational resources are most easily identified by their use of certain licence types, especially Creative Commons licence types.
A definition of OER from the The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation: "OER are teaching, learning and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use or re-purposing by others. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials or techniques used to support access to knowledge."  See also: NC-clause.
Qedoc's roles in OER
Qedoc's roles in OER, in order of priority, are the following:
- Provision of tools for creating OER.
- Repository of open educational resources.
- Creation of open educational resources.
- Advice about OER production and discussion opportunities among educators (available on this site).
As regards the third of these roles (actual creation of open educational resources), a large proportion of our open educational resources are created by ourselves using our own tools.
Qedoc's unique contributions to OER
Areas in which Qedoc has (possibly) struck out on a different path and distinguished itself from other OER initiatives, or attempted to show new paths for OER initiatives, are these:
- Use of rich-client desktop applications as a primary platform for OER creation, management and delivery.
- Putting concepts such as fun and interactivity at the centre of OER development. Primarily web-based initiatives are necessarily hindered by their choice of platform and lead, despite the best of efforts, to an inferior user-experience, especially when it comes to the demands and needs of younger children. It is important to Qedoc that OER audiences should be provided with first class educational experiences. In our development we started by taking what we considered to be the best learning software the world had to offer, and asking ourselves what made this software good. We have then combined these ideas with what are sometimes known as Web 2.0 concepts so that the typical OER community and sharing experience is included.
- The integration of third party media resources into OER using the Qedoc media bank is an area where Qedoc has set exemplary standards in media tagging for reusability and transparency of permissions. The model here has been Wikipedia's media resource management policies, and we have attempted to transfer these policies uncompromisingly into OER.
Areas in which Qedoc differs from the OER mainstream (but has things in common with some other OER protagonists):
- Using MediaWiki as a web-based platform for its OER repository.
- Emphasising all educational levels rather than just the tertiary (university) sector. Qedoc caters for all levels, but the nature of the Qedoc software applications and the majority of current learning modules place the emphasis on pre-tertiary and especially primary education.
Choice between OER and non-OER
Qedoc's share-or-pay approach puts the choice between OER and non-OER approaches into the hands of the creators of educational resources. Anyone who creates an educational resource with our tools can decide themselves whether to release the resources as OER (for everyone in the world to freely enjoy) or not. However cost-free use of our tools and software is only available to those who choose the OER path. Our software tools are constructed in such a way as to encourage the OER path, and to require free users to publish their materials in our repository.
Cooperation with other OER protagonists
Qedoc is in the process of setting up automated tagging and resource sharing processes so that other OER providers have access to our database of resources.
Qedoc staff also regularly participate in international discussions of OER.
To date, Qedoc has neither applied for grants nor received any grants in support of its OER efforts.
- Creative Commons
- List of all open educational resources (OER) available from this site (all authors)
- List of open educational resources created by Qedoc
- Appropriate content
- The Qedoc Story