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Hidden Treasure: Uncovering the Potential of Open Educational Resources (OERs)

 

Have you ever found yourself struggling to create teaching materials or worried about copyright infringement when browsing online resources? As an academician, you are constantly searching for new resources to enhance your teaching, research, and manuscript preparation. However, have you ever considered using Open Educational Resources (OER)?

OERs are educational materials that are openly licensed and freely available to anyone. They can be used, shared, and modified by educators, students, and researchers alike. You may have already used OERs without realizing it, such as diagrams, infographics, or figures to supplement your teaching materials, or sourcing images from Wikimedia Commons in your research.

Popular OER platforms include Wikimedia Commons, Khan Academy, and OpenStax. The 5R of OERs - reuse, revise, remix, redistribute, and retain - allows for the dissemination of knowledge and the creation of innovations and knowledge. This means that you can customize OERs to fit your needs, and even contribute back to the OER community by creating and sharing your resources. By embracing the power of OER, we can access a wealth of resources and contribute to the growth of our subject fields. Just like how netizens recreate new content from a viral trend on social media and make the trend viable and vibrant, we can leverage OERs to create engaging, interactive, and effective teaching materials and research projects.

 

 
 
Figure 1: Figure Creation through OER and Proper Attribution: Enabling the 5Rs and Derivative Works. The figure on the left is a derivative of the OER originally created by BruceBlaus, and has been included in the author's publication with appropriate attribution. The image on the right demonstrates proper attribution by the authors after using the OER. Creating a new figure for our textbook has been made possible through the use of open educational resources (OER) that are openly licensed under Creative Commons (CC) licenses. By properly attributing the OER used in our creation, we are able to contribute to the growth of the OER community while enhancing our own educational materials. (“Figure Creation through OER and Proper Attribution: Enabling the 5Rs and Derivative Works” is a derivative of Body Physics 2.0 by Lawrence Davis [CC BY-NC-SA 4.0, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, via Open Oregon Educational Resources]).
 
 

Creating and contributing to OERs may seem daunting to some academicians, but it does not have to be. One common misconception is that creating an OER requires developing materials for an entire course or subject, but this is not the case. In fact, a single diagram, infographic, or video can be an OER if it is openly licenced and shared in the spirit of the 5Rs and Creative Commons. This means that even small and simple resources can make a valuable contribution to the OER community.

Getting started with OER is also easy. There are many OER platforms available online, such as OpenStax (https://openstax.org/) and Open Education Global, that offer a variety of openly licenced materials that can be used, shared, and modified. By taking advantage of these resources, you can not only enhance your teaching and research but also contribute to the growth of OERs within your institution.

It is important to properly attribute any materials you use in your work, giving credit to the original creators and contributing to the growth of the OER community. This not only benefits the community but also enhances your work by giving it greater credibility and exposure.

 
 

 
 
Figure 2: Sharing Self-Created Educational Materials as OERs in the Spirit of the 5Rs. Sharing self-created educational materials as OERs not only fosters innovation, but also builds a positive reputation for educators in their field. The left image displays examples of interesting self-created figures that can potentially be shared as OERs. The right image highlights that turning them into OERs allows for further sharing and derivative works in the field. These figures have been transformed into educational figures and published as OERs via an open-access platform. (The right image used in “Sharing Self-Created Educational Materials as OER in the Spirit of the 5Rs” is a derivative of Gut-associated lymphoid tissues (GALT) of finfish by Lee et al. [CC BY 4.0, Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, via Frontiers in Immunology]).
 
 

As academicians, we all have valuable self-created educational materials that we would like to share and disseminate. However, concerns about yet we may worry about no or improper attribution and improper use by others can be a barrier to sharing our wor.. This is where the culture of OERs can help address these issues.

In Malaysia, the  adoption of OERs is still in its infancy, but the importance of OERs has been recognised through the launch of the National Policy of Inclusive Open Educational Resources in 2022 after two years of development. Malaysia is ambitious to take it one step further by making OERs inclusive, and this has led to the concept of "inclusive OER" being coined to promote the use and creation of OERs in an inclusive format. This concept has later been recognised and highlighted by UNESCO.

In UPM, we have established OER task forces and begun to promote the creation and use of OERs through a series of workshops. These workshops cover various topics such as how to create OER, attribute them properly, choose appropriate licenses and make them inclusive. Thanks to our efforts in promoting the use and creation of OERs, our university now has its own OER platform. This platform offers a diverse range of openly licensed materials that can be easily accessed and utilized by the academic community, further supporting our commitment to the growth of knowledge and education through the culture of OERs.

In the fast-paced world of education today, OERs have emerged as a valuable tool for both educators and learners. The 5Rs of OERs, allow for the customization and personalization of educational materials, making them adaptable to the diverse learning needs of students. s academicians, we can contribute to this movement by creating, sharing, and modifying openly licenced resources. The National Policy of Inclusive Open Educational Resources is a significant step towards making education more accessible and equitable. By embracing OERs, we can foster innovation, collaboration, and ultimately enhance the quality of education. Join the growing OER community and discover the boundless potential of OERs for yourself.

 
For more information on UPM’s OER, please visit this website:

https://cadelead.upm.edu.my/e_pembelajaran_upm/putraoer-14398

 
 

 
Prepared by:
     
 

Dr. Chong Chou Min teaches fish immunology to aquaculture students at Universiti Putra Malaysia. He has learned to diversify his teaching methods to better meet the needs of students who prefer practical-oriented subjects. He is an advocate of ESD (Education for Sustainable Development), UDL (Universal Design for Learning), and Co-Design in his teaching approach.

Dr. Chong Chou Min was appointed as the head facilitator of inclusive Open Educational Resources (iOER) by the Ministry of Education Malaysia and UNESCO in 2022. He has been involved in drafting the iOER national policy since 2019, which was officially launched by the Ministry of Education Malaysia in 2022. In 2023, he is participating in an ESD and Co-Design program organized by UNESCO.

Email: choumin@upm.edu.my

 

Tarikh Input: 09/05/2023 | Kemaskini: 15/05/2023 | azryadeny

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