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Open Educational Resources (OER): Glossary

OER Glossary


usually means identifying who has originally created a published work - may be a requirement of a license if an item is repurposed or re-used

Business case

an articulation of the benefits of a particular approach or business model - often with reference to a specific context and usually focusing on costs and sustainability

Business model

a mechanism to illustrate various aspects of a service  - usually include aspects such as funding mechanisms, service approaches, management, accountability, sustainability, staffing, etc.


Centre for Educational Technology and Interoperability Standards


see Community of Practice

Community of Practice

a group with a common interest, craft or profession. Communities of Practice can evolve naturally or be created for a specific purpose.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Licenses are applied to published work online and offer simple and clear information about what other people can and can't do with that work. 


a form of 'intellectual property' that gives the owner (usually the author) of an original work exclusive rights relating to the copying, dissemination and adaption of the work. Less restrictive copyright licenses are available - see 'Creative Commons Licenses'.


to make resources available with the guarantee, or at least the expectation, that the beneficiary will reciprocate. 


the pedagogic scale of a resource - ranging from a single image to an entire online course.


Higher Education Funding Council for England


a range of 'self-help' material that promotes the effective strategic planning and management of information and learning technology within institutions.

Intellectual Property Rights

a generic term that relates to copyright, trademarks, patents and other claims for 'ownership' of a resource - whether registered or unregistered. 


see Intellectual Property rights


Joint Information Systems Committee. JISC is an organization that support learning, teaching, research and administration in UK Further Education (FE) and Higher Education (HE) institutions, being funded by all the UK FE and HE funding councils. 


Jorum is a national repository and provides access to free learning and teaching resources, created and contributed by teaching staff from UK Further and Higher Education Institutions.


The JorumOpen collection contains a wide variety of open educational resources, licensed under Creative Commons, that are freely available to all.

Learning resources

educational resources, digital or otherwise, used to support learning.


'data about data' - i.e. detailed characteristics about a data set, often gained by tagging resources.


Massachusetts Institute of Technology


OpenCourseWare is a particular model of Open Educational Resources popularized by MIT and the OpenCourseWare Consortium. Materials are presented as being organized around the model of a course offered to traditional students.


Open Database of Educational Projects and Organizations, hosted by Creative Commons.


Open Educational Resources are learning materials that are made freely available for use, remixing and redistribution. 

OER Foundation

"an independent, not-for-profit organization that provides leadership, networking and support for educators and educational institutions to achieve their objectives through Open Education"

Open Access 

a publishing model whereby authors make their content freely available with publishing costs met by authors or the institution to which they are affiliated.


the Open University's Open Educational Resources project, part of the OpenCourseWare Consortium.

Open Movement

a term used as a catch-all to refer to attempts to make information freely-available. This includes, amongst others, Open Source Software, Open Educational Resources and Open Access.

Open Source Software

software where the programmer(s) allow access to the 'source code', or programming language. Anyone is free to use and/or modify this code for their own purposes.  

Open Standards

public standards, usually divided into de jure (those created formally by a standardization body such as ISO or BSI), and de facto (those gain 'critical mass' through near-universal adoption). Some standards are administered by a user group or committee (e.g. W3C) rather than a legal body.


to make use of a resource as it is, for the original purpose intended. 


a place to put resources for safekeeping and dissemination. 


to make use of a resource either after modification or for a purpose other than that for which it was originally created.


Most commonly 'Really Simple Syndication' but also 'Rich Site Summary', RSS is a standard technology that standardises the publication of regularly updated websites. These can be re-used, embedded and 'mashed-up' easily for accessibility and to create added value.


to make resources available without expectation of a reciprocal act.


an individual or group with an interest in the success of an organization or project.


tag used for resources, OER and activities relating to the JISC/HE Academy OER Programme that ran from 2009 to 2012. The programme is often referred to as the UKOER Programme.


United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, an agency of the United Nations that promotes education, communication and the arts.

From JISC Open Educational Resources InfoKit