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  • Digital teaching

    Open Educational Resources (OER)

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Open Educational Resources (OER)

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The state portal is intended to provide information and services on the subject of e-learning in NRW as well as teaching and learning material for teaching staff and students. Overall, its offerings are intended to help teaching at the participating universities make greater use of the didactic possibilities of a digitally influenced world and to help students better achieve the learning objectives of their degree programmes.
About the state portal ORCA.NRW


Photo by Frank Homp

If you have any questions, please contact:

Frank Homp

Phone: 49 521 106-86755

Building X E1-233


Photo by Dr. Fabian Schumacher

If you have any questions, please contact:

Dr. Fabian Schumacher

Phone: +49 521 106-3366  
Building X E1-234

Open Educational Resources (OER) are open educational materials published under an open license. Free access and free redistribution, editing and reuse of the materials is enabled by a specific OER license. In this context, the Creative Commons licenses have become established, which allow completely free use or use with minor restrictions.

OER are not only PDF documents, but can also be entire learning units, in addition to videos, images or music. Published under a free license, they are considered OER. (Source: UNESCO definition
)Teaching and learning materials are thus made usable for many
teaching staff and learning worldwide [Centre for teaching and learning].

The state portal was published in summer 2021 in NRW as a platform for the exchange of such materials.

Advantages of OER

  • The use of OER enables you to plan your teaching efficiently. Many teaching materials already exist as OER. You can use them completely or in parts in your courses.
  • By definition and license text, you can use OER in a legally secure way and usually do not have to observe any specific copyright regulations.
  • OER offer a broad visibility of their own created materials through the worldwide networking of users.
  • OER enable an open learning culture and new forms of collaboration.
  • Repositories such as allow you to find a broad mass of quality-checked materials at a glance.

When dealing with Open Educational Resources (OER), not only didactic but also legal aspects have to be considered. The unique selling point of OER is the open licensing of educational materials. This enables the authors to use the materials more openly. Normally, copyright law protects authors by granting them exclusive rights of use from the moment the materials are created. Regulations through the pre-formulated Creative Commons (CC) licenses have greatly simplified the handling of granting usage rights to material that is usually protected by copyright. Nevertheless, legal questions regarding the individual scope of licensing arise again and again, in the context of which an individual consideration of the facts/individual case is often required in order to be able to make adequate legal recommendations for action. For these questions David Barber (legal counsel) is the right contact.

Learn more about OER (in german)

FAQ about OER

What is there to consider in terms of copyright?

OER content is under a specified license(Creative Commons). The terms of use of the Creative Commons are applied here.

If you have any questions about the use of OER or the publication of your own materials, please do not hesitate to contact us.

We have compiled information on the use of OER on this page.

The Legal Information Office (RiDHnrw) from the Institute for Information, Telecommunications and Media Law at the Westphalian Wilhelms University of Münster acts as a contact for all teaching staff and students at DH.NRW universities.

As part of the portal, the legal information office provides information on topics such as:

  • Copyright law (e.g. cc licenses, plagiarism software)
  • Data protection law (e.g. in connection with evaluations, LMS, CMS)
  • Personality and trademark lawInternet
  • and media law
  • Examination law (esp. with regard to e-examinations).
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