What do I need to know before using this handbook?

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Welcome to the world of Open Educational Resources (OER). This mini-handbook is designed to help educators find, use, develop and share OER to enhance their effectiveness on-line and in the classroom.

Although no prior knowledge of OER[1] is required, some experience of using a computer and browsing the Internet will be useful. For example, it is preferable that you have experience using a word processor (e.g. Open Office[2] or Microsoft Word) and basic media production software, such as an image editor (e.g. Gimp[3], Inkscape[4] or Photoshop).

The mini-handbook works best when there is some sort of OER you would like to create or make available to others, with a specific objective in mind, but it is also useful for the curious reader.

There are two ways to use this handbook:

  • Cover-to-cover which is intended for new comers who want to engage in the exciting world of OER and want to find, develop and share OERs from start to finish in the real word;
  • Individual sections for educators who want to focus on a particular aspect of the OER life cyle and get a few pointers on their particular area of interest;

You are not expected to be an instructional designer or media production expert. If you encounter a term with which you are unfamiliar, check the glossary at the end of the handbook to see if there is a definition listed.

If you are education technology staff at an institution, the institution mini-handbook may be more appropriate for you. There is also a mini-handbook available for policy-makers such as superintendents and higher education staff. See the "Introduction to Other Handbooks" for more information.


  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_educational_resources
  2. http://www.openoffice.org/
  3. http://www.gimp.org/
  4. http://www.inkscape.org