Open Educational Resources

The Open Educational Resources Initiative is a long-term strategy to help reduce, over time, the costs students face for a post-secondary education. By reviewing and recommending how to integrate open educational resources at post-secondary institutions, this initiative will encourage flexibility and access for all Alberta learners.

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What are open educational resources?

Open educational resources include open-source materials such as teaching materials like electronic textbooks, lesson plans, and multi-media resources including videos or interactive online resources. These materials are offered freely and openly without an accompanying need to pay copyright realities or licence fees. 

What does this mean for students?
Finding ways to integrate these resources into post-secondary classrooms means students will have access to more current material at potentially lower costs. Students will enjoy the flexibility provided by open educational resources as they can often be accessed at any time, on any device.  Some open resources will allow students or faculty to remix the content, creating or contributing to a new resource.
When will these resources be available to students?
A Steering Committee will be appointed and post-secondary institutions will be asked to submit proposals.  Approved projects could commence as early as the next school year. Completion dates will be dependent on the approved proposals.  Updated information will be available on this website in the future.
Who is on this Steering Committee?
The Steering Committee will be co-chaired by Dr. Jason Dewling, Vice-President Academic and Research at Olds College and Dr. Rory McGreal, Professor at Athabasca University and the current UNESCO and Commonwealth of Learning chair on open educational resources. The remaining members of the committee will be appointed by Innovation and Advanced Education soon.  The additional members will include representatives from across Campus Alberta and include faculty, instructional designers, librarians, students, and senior administrators.
Who will make the final decisions?
The Steering Committee will be responsible for reviewing and evaluating submissions to the program and making recommendations to Innovation and Advanced Education for approved projects.
How can interested parties submit an idea to the committee?
Details on the program will be available soon and will include the submission process, timelines and the approval process.  Contact information for further information on the program will be included in the submission package. 
Will this result in a loss of academic freedom, will professors be mandated to use certain material?
Open Educational Resources provide faculty with additional tools to add to their teaching toolkit.  The OER community has grown rapidly over the last decade, with the quality of the resources improving consistently.  Faculty currently have the ability to use or adopt any Open Educational Resources.  The program will support faculty who are interested in assessing, developing and using open educational resources.  The adoption of resources in any post-secondary environment is up to the academic governing bodies within each institution.
Will this impact student loans?
No. Because the adoption of open educational resources will vary by institutions, programs and classes there is no intent to reduce student loans.