How does OER work?

Hello, I just joined this group out an interest in learning how open educational resources work. I have created free websites for my ESL students and would like to know how to add my resources to an ongoing group.

Thanks, Paul Rogers


WHat do you already know?

I think this video is probably one of the best "starting explanations." 

I was one of the folks who participated in the OER-STEM pilot course here at LINCS  and ended up doing a "what is OER" session at a conference here...  


If you've made something yourself then it's pretty easy to add a license of the type you want to it.   The movie lists the different kinds and some of the complications.   From my reading and experience, while at first "CC-BY-SA"  seems best -- it means if somebody else uses it, they have to attribute it to me (and there are directions as to how that's done -- this is a legal thing, like copyright, not just a 'nice thing some people are doing" -- and they also have to make it as sharable as I did.   However, the most popular and easy to manage OER are the plain old CC-BY  (and if I use something of yours and modify it, I am to indicate where I modified - that way, if I take somethign of yours and do something that you might not like, at least I've said "I added this part" or "I took that part away.")   

     I have been sharing things at -- and I've started sharing things at canvascommons (  because I'm taking the Designers for Learnong MOOC there.   

    I was just at the "OER16" conference last week and I'm still percolating the million sessions (it's three days and most sessions are 25 minutes!  )   ... there is incredible potential for the adult ed folks to be a vital part of the community.   From my observations int he sessions, sometimes "open" is, well, open if you're already on the OER committee at an institution in some group -- but they do at least talk about how no, that's not really open. 

    The other side of "open" is the idea of "open pedagogy" -- and that's where the *students* can work with the materials and make changes and additions.   THese sessions were especially nifty because basically assignments were no longer "disposable" -- hand 'em in, get graded.   At one "open high school" in Utah, they are telling students "what you put here will be used by next year's students so make it make sense!"   and they're getting some good results, and that includes from high schoolers with documented disabilities who struggle with the language, etc.   

... and then there's the "Domain of One's Own"  --   and  

There were several sessions about adult ed -- mostly on the last day so there weren't *that* many people still hanging around (tho' the session about the MOOC was at the tail end and David Wiley himself chatted us up for about 15 minutes...)   

   Just some random thoughts between working with the students who had to do w/0 my tutoring last week.

Thank you for the response. I do not know anyhing so I will look at everything and do my homework!!!


I just started to review the information you sent and I will spend this week reviewing it. At this point I think I should describe what I do and what my 'dream' is.

I am the author of a free website called PUMAROSA.COM, which  is both bilingual and phonetic, and is  interactive, with voice. I do not own this website. I am also the creator and owner of another website on WIX,, which houses my texts, about 2000 pages, and my YouTube videos, also under ingles con profe pablo. At the same time I have created groups on Facebook that provide lessons, and have approximately 3000 followers. I also have "classes" on WhatsApp with students from Latin America and the US, and even from the Mid-East.

This year I intend to put my videos on public access tv in several communities in California.

I provide all this for free.

So - I guess I am already an activist for OER!!!! 

What I dream about is a free online course for speakers of three or four languages, to start, that would cover ESL instruction from Mother Goose to Shakespeare. Plus test prep. Etc. And lesson plans that teachers could use.

I would love to make some money at this, but I have decided to abandon that hope due to the complications that are involved.

Ideally I would like to work with a team that could become a non-profit.

So that is my story in a nutshell, I look forward to learning more and having discussions with you all.

Paul Rogers


I'm in a painfully similar position, tho' my resources are not as well developed.   I got myself a website in 1998 ... but in 2001 when I went back to 'real' work it sort of went into decline.   I need to bring it up to date with my assorted creations, which are mostly with math.   

The "CC-BY" license does *not* mean that you can't sell things.   It just means I'm less likely to purchase something because, erm, I could just copy it.   People do grab a chunk of somebody's OER and put it into material that they sell. The "CC-BY-NC" license would be what to choose if you don't want anybody to have permission to do that.   (I don't think it's been around enough for there to be a mess of court cases, but the licenses are the stuff of lawyers.) and canvascommons  are both good places to share resources.   In the "service learning MOOC" I'm in, I'm doing the "extra credit" and yes, trying to put together an online course.   There is a "Free for Teachers" option (and if you're in the MOOC then ... you get it regardless of being officially having a "teacher" job... but I think there are humans at the helm.)  ... so the tools are already out there.   The Canvas LMS is reasonably awesome tho' ... yes, there's a learning curve.   There's also a "community" for help, though like other communities like this.. it is hard to get traction in the learning.   The "onramp" is a tad steep if one's working on her own time.  The MOOC at least gives me deadlines and motivation (welp, as does the fact that a mess of jobs were cut last week here, and more to come...)  

Some of the business models have money happening when a course is designed from OER for a certain group.   I just went to the "OpenEd16" conference in Richmond, VA last week, and there was a session about business models but I missed it... tho' I might see if they post their slides online.  

Yes, I would love to be part of a team... and my background w/ students with disabilities might mean more options for grants.   Most of the OER folks don't even talk about how to get lessons out there that students with specific learning challenges would benefit from, and that's my big dream:   to design "cognitively accessible" multisensory multimedia. I occasionally toss an idea out to the folks at QIAT.ORG ("Quality Indicators for Assistive Technology")  but have yet to make the right kind of connection.  

S - Well just a quick note. I also use Wix forTeachers which is free. But yes, let's see if we can start a team. Then when we want to make some money we can sell Apps!!! Or T- Shirts. I don't care anymore!!!!!!!!!!

My current websites are PUMAROSA.COM which I do not own, so have no control, and WIX: which I do own, Wiki spaces for teachers which is found on the Wix, as is  my YouTube videos. I use WhatsApp a lot. I encourage students to form study circles, and to follow the Golden Rule: Each One, Teach One.

Now I am beginning to explore Apps. There are millions of 'em!!!

I believe a lot of simple How Tos are necessary because people like me have trouble learning these new fangled gadgets!!!!

At the same  time in other LINCS groups I am promoting that Adult Education groups and centers form networks or Alllances, like the Philadelphia Literacy Alliance. 

In  the meantime, join me on WhatsApp - 805-258-3310, Paul Rogers

 My current phone doesn't have enough space for WhatsApp :(   (I might dump some pics and videos and see if that helps)...   Wired says it's nicely encrypted (and I don't do internetty stuff on the phone -- it's too old for that to happen fast, too...)  

Canvas isn't just a website- it's a course platform.   People can do lessons, take quizzes, have discussions, watch movies... get badges and awards as they progress.   I think a lot of people would persist more with that kind of feedback (especially if there are humans doing real feedback).  

More in a bit... 

... I took *all* my pictures off the phone ... and it got further in the download process but still spat out the "not enough space" thing.   I'll give it a little more work next downtime... but WhatsApp might not be an option ... tho' I'm thinking that I might need a new gadget if I'm going to be job hunting...