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Faculty of Humanities

University of the Free State

Humanities OER links

Invest in Open Infrastructure

Dear DOAJ Colleagues


AOSP (African Open Science Platform) and ASSAf (Academy of Science of South Africa) are proud to support the following global initiative, with Africa also being represented on the Steering Committee. Throughout the work done by AOSP, it has become clear that Africa (including libraries) heavily relies on available open infrastructure services to align with science and scholarly publishing globally. From the ICT Infrastructure Framework and Roadmap currently being developed for the future AOSP, it is further clear that open source will play a major role in building the required ICT Infrastructure. Please demonstrate support for this initiative on behalf of yourself or your organisation, through signing the statement:


Also please share this invitation with all your networks. Thanking you in advance.


The Importance of Open Education Resources

The Importance of Open Education Resources


Open Education Resources (OER) are important for many reasons. One reason, as the above chart illustrates, is the cost of textbooks, which is rising at a rate higher than most other consumer goods. Given the rising cost of tuition at many institutions, many students simply cannot afford to buy textbooks. OER is a way to make sure every student has access to course materials, with cost taken out of the equation. 

OER also allows faculty to create material that is customized for their classes. Where most textbooks will have their strengths and weaknesses, OER material allows a faculty member to pull only strong material into their class.

OER also represents an opportunity to have one's own materials enhanced. By allowing material to be modified by other faculty around the world, an OER creator has the chance to see material used in ways never imagined. New sections and chapters can be added and enhanced creating a work stronger than the original. That type of exposure and collaboration is simply not possible with material that lives on a local computer or only in print.

Finally, OER gives faculty a wide variety of material to draw upon for their own classes. Imagine being given a last-minute assignment for an unfamiliar class -- a textbook might help get you up to speed but what about the syllabus? The assignments? The exams? OER gives a wide variety of materials from which to build a class without having to start from scratch.

OER is important because it provides affordable material to students, allows faculty to enhance their own work, and provides faculty with content for classes.

There are a few things to consider when evaluating OERs:

  • Provenance
  • Licensing

Provenance is probably most intuitive: make sure OER material is coming from a reputable source. The reputation can be based upon the OER project or host, or the person who developed the materials. It can also be based upon the quality of the material themselves. Anyone interested in a more general overview of website evaluation can consult this guide. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Licensing can be a bit more challenging to consider. The license controls what can be done with the work, so the first consideration should be if the material is actually allowed to be used. For instance, most proprietary textbook content cannot be publicly shared, so, depending upon the license, a faculty member could not repost content, outside of what is permitted by Fair Use (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. A Creative Commons license is usually used to indicate that a work can be used and how it can be used. This page explains the various licenses in plain, non-legal language (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. This post explores the strengths and weaknesses of the various Creative Commons licenses in a more in-depth manner (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. This entire OER is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license, meaning the entire class could be modified and used as the basis for a new class, or could be used as-is for a class, with the only limitation being that the original work would need to be credited and any new works would share the same license.

With these evaluation tools in mind, there are a wide variety of OERs to explore for content. In the spirit of OER, this module will not attempt to catalog all of them. Instead, interested faculty might begin with a list curated by Open University's Support Centre for Open Resources in Education: (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. Faculty might also consult:

Google can also find Creative Commons materials. Simply do a Google search on your topic, go to advanced search, and narrow the results by usage rights. Free to share, use, or modify is probably the best place to start:




Creative Commons License

What are Open Educational Resources?

OER can be defined as teaching and learning resources in any medium, digital or otherwise, that permit no-cost access, use, reuse and repurposing by others with no or limited restrictions”.

Open Access Educational Resources

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