Open science and research

Open Education and Open Educational Resources

Open education refers to a movement aimed at expanding everyone's access and participation to learning. The roots of open education date back to the late 1990s, when several major universities started to open their course materials to everyone. This is how the concept of Open Educational Resources (OER) emerged.
Unesco_global open educational resources logo
Credit: By Jonathasmello - Own work, CC BY 3.0,


Open Education refers to expanding access and participation to learning to larger audiences and target groups by lowering barriers to learning, and increasing accessibility, available courses and learner-centeredness. This enables versatile teaching and learning, knowledge creation and sharing. Moreover, formal and informal learning pathways can be combined. Open education is not the same as digital learning or digitizing teaching or educational materials.

Open Educational Resources (OER) are educational materials or information in any format and medium (for example courses, exercises, videos, books, articles, presentations, or lecture recordings). Open educational resources can be:

  •  free of copyright (i.e. Public Domain), or
  • shared under an open license, which allows access, re-use, re-application, editing and redistribution of the material (CC BY license).

Open educational materials must form an entity that is pedagogically meaningful and usable in learning.

Open Educational Practices refer to practices that make learning and teaching transparent, sharable and refinable. These practices include:

  • peer learning and developing teaching in co-operation with students, researchers, teachers and society;
  • involving students in the planning of their learning paths, including the identification and recognition of skills acquired outside the institution;
  • opening course offerings to a wider audience (e.g. MOOC courses);
  • sharing and further utilization of materials related to the planning and organisation of teaching (e.g. curricula, assessment methods, guidelines, lessons learned on the implementation of teaching and learning);
  • usage, further development and co-development of open educational materials (e.g. videos, podcasts, written materials).

Why should you open educational resources?

  • Open educational resources serve as an advertisement of your expertise and they may lead to collaboration and contacts for joint and further development of courses.
  • The lecturer's work becomes easier when colleagues' materials can be utilized to design the course content – this is a big help especially for new lecturers.
  • Open educational resources are free of charge, so the cost of studying will decrease.
  • Open educational resources are accessible to students before and after the course.
  • Opening educational resources encourages others to open their materials.
  • The Finnish National Board on Research Integrity (TENK, Tutkimuseettinen neuvottelukunta) CV template recommends researchers include developing and opening educational resources as part of their merits. Researcher assessment is being reformed both internationally and nationally to better recognise other forms achievements than publications. (See Agreement on research assessment, Norwegian model, How to gain merit from open education and open educational resources) logo logo

How and where can you open educational resources? 

Library of Open Educational Resources,

  • In the Library of Open Educational Resources (, you can search for and share open educational resources (OER) from all levels of education. Uploading materials is done with Haka authentication. The service and its resources are available for everyone.
  • Open educational resources can also be found in The Library of Open Educational Resources ( is being developed by the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Finnish National Agency for Education, and CSC - IT Center for Science.
  • The Library of Open Educational Resources ( offers a permanent and visible platform for digital educational resources.
  • It is crucial to add your own affiliation as well as information about accessibility to Library of Open Educational Resources' ( metadata.
  • Frequently asked questions of the Library of Open Educational Resources (

Aalto University recommends storing open educational resources in the Library of Open Learning Materials ( If the material is already stored elsewhere, it is possible to store only metadata and a link to the original material in

Where can you find open educational resources? 

National sources

International sources

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