The importance of OER online courses in the democratisation of education
“Open Educational Resources (OER) provide a strategic opportunity to improve the quality of education as well as facilitate policy dialogue, knowledge sharing and capacity building.” (UNESCO, )
Eliademy recently started crowdsourcing OER (Open Educational Resources) online courses to democratise education worldwide. OER are educational resources such as texts, images, videos, assignments, courses, etc. which are freely accessible to anyone and can be used to teach and learn. They can be part of the public domain or released under a license allowing free use, adaptation and distribution. According to the OER Research Hub, teachers notably share OER in the format of videos, images, lesson plans and quizzes . Online courses are also increasingly released as OER, even if they are still only a few. This trend represents a huge progress in the democratization of education for a number of reasons.
OER courses are accessible to all anywhere, anytime. To access OERs, one just needs an Internet connection and the will to teach or learn. As a result, OERs have a great potential in reducing the educational gap between different regions of the world or within countries.
OER courses make it easier for teachers to create their online course. Everywhere in the world, teachers can reuse others’ course material, adapt it to their own audience and mix different open resources. Indeed, “86.3% of educators adapt OER to suit their needs” [3, p13].
OER courses save money to both teachers and students. By using OERs, teachers and learners can save costs on the realisation of a full quality online course or on quality education (buying expensive text books, enrolling to expensive courses…). Thus, “88.4% of learners say that the opportunity to study at no cost influenced their decision to use OER”[3, p5].
OER courses are a great way to create outstanding courses collaboratively. By improving each other’s courses and sharing between them, teachers find ways to teach students online more effectively. It has been shown that teachers communicate more between them when they use OERs [3, p16, p21].
OER courses contribute to the spreading of ideas and inspiration all around the world. In a study, the OER Research Hub found out that 79.5% of the educators participating in their survey use OER to get new ideas and inspiration [3, p5].
OER courses help keep the course content up-to-date. Building on top of each other’s OER courses allows teachers to update the content while keeping the good basis of a course that has been thoroughly thought.
If you are looking for a platform to create OER online courses easily, try out Eliademy. After having created your course, you just need to choose to license it under Creative Commons licence BY-NC-SA to make an Open Educational Resource. Eliademy makes it really easy to reuse OER online courses as any teacher can copy a whole OER instantly within the same platform, allowing him to focus on modifying and adapting the content without having to put it all together.
We encourage all the teachers to use, create and share OER online courses in order to democratize education.
 UNESCO. Open Educational Resources. Available from: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/communication-and-information/access-to-knowledge/open-educational-resources/ [23/04/2015].
 OER Research Hub. Survey Results Open Educational Resources in schools. March 2015. Available from: https://oerresearchhub.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/oerschools_surveyresults.png [23/04/2015].
 OER Research Hub. OER Evidence Report 2013-2014, Building Understanding of Open Education. November 2014. Available from: https://oerresearchhub.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/oerrh-evidence-report-2014.pdf [23/04/2015].
OER Research Hub. Available from: http://oerresearchhub.org/ [23/04/2015].
Original article available on Eliademy Blog.