Open Educational Resources (OER)

J. Mello, used under a Creative Commons license CC-BY
OER global logo

Open Educational Resources are teaching, learning or research materials that are in the public domain or released with an intellectual property license that allows for free use, adaptation, and distribution.

UNESCO believes that universal access to high quality education is key to the building of peace, sustainable social and economic development, and intercultural dialogue. 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.

In 2001, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in an unprecedented move, announced the release of nearly all its courses on the internet for free access. As the number of institutions offering free or open courseware increased, UNESCO organized the 1st Global OER Forum in 2002 where the term Open Educational Resources (OER) was adopted. 

With the support of the Hewlett Foundation, UNESCO created a global OER Community wiki in 2005 to share information and work collaboratively on issues surrounding the production and use of Open Educational Resources.
UNESCO is developing a new, innovative OER Platform which will offer selected UNESCO publications as OERs and allow communities of practice including teachers, learners, and education professionals to freely copy, adapt, and share their resources. 

In partnership with key European institutions, UNESCO is a member of the Open Educational Quality (OPAL) Initiative to develop a Framework of OER Practices that improve quality and innovation in education.

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