Open Educational Resources in India

Open Educational Resources in India
Vector illustration – Open your mind

Before we look into the best open educational resources in India, we need to understand what it is. 

An OER or Open Educational Resources are freely accessible online learning materials in the form of texts, videos, and other digital format resources.

You can use these materials for general viewing, teaching, and research purposes, for free.

In this blog, we will learn more about OERs, their uses and benefits, and some popular OERs in India.

OER and E-learning

The Indian education system has been consistently evolving over a while. Online learning has added more benefits to the current education system. During the launch of the 2020-21 financial year budget, the government announced the new education policy, which showed the vital role played by online education. 

According to reports, the Indian e-learning market will grow by 15.64% and exceed $48 billion by the end of 2020; the main reason cited for this is the increased use of the internet for learning.

Online Educational Resources often have a close connection with e-learning. E-learning is not only a technology but also a collection of various pedagogies to learn and teach. It can also incorporate OER as a pedagogy that can facilitate quality learning. The main benefit of the OER is that it is freely accessible for both students and teachers. Apart from attending the classes online, students can use these OERs to gain more insights about a particular topic. 

With changing times and technology, distance education is gaining more popularity. The National Knowledge Commission has suggested an increase in the number of OERs to address this changing trend.

Sources for OER

Open educational resources are mainly stored in repositories available through websites. These repositories are responsible for storing and handling the contents. An OER source can be classified based on the type of resources and the type of repositories. Let us look at the types of resources. 

OCW Websites

OpenCourseware websites are generally a collection of free educational materials uploaded on the internet by an institution organized in the form of an online course. These usually contain course syllabi, study materials, lecture notes, tests, and assignments, all in a structured manner. MIT first conceptualized the idea of an OCW by lending all its course material on the internet. This growth accelerated when other institutions adopted the idea.

OER Websites

OER websites host content from various universities, educational institutions, and freelance tutors in the public domain. It is accessible to everyone. Moreover, the content on these websites is editable, and anyone can upload their content on the platform.

Type of Repositories

The search for OERs can also take place through its repositories. These repositories contain both resources and metadata handled through the websites. There are three major types of OER repositories –

  • Local repository
  • External repository
  • Hybrid repository

Some examples of OER repositories are –

  • OER Metafinder
  • Digital Public Library of America
  • MERLOT
  • OASIS
  • NROER; and so on.

Top Open Educational Resources in India

India adopted the OER movement in the year 2007 after gaining support from the government and other agencies. The Indian OER movement is an effort to digitize the current educational system and enrich students with quality learning procedures. Following are some of the open-access initiatives that have contributed significantly to the development of OERs in India.

Digital Library of India

This a collaborative project by 21 institutions in India and currently handled by IISc, Bangalore. It aims to provide access to a digitized collection of various rare non-copyrighted books by multiple authors collected from libraries across India.

National Digital Library

This is an IIT Kharagpur initiative to bring free access to content in English and other regional languages on a public network.

Shodhganga

This is a digital repository of theses and journals submitted by doctorates and research students.

NPTEL

This is a joint initiative by 7 IITs in India supported by the MHRD. It aims to improve the engineering sector in the country by conducting free courses and certified exams. The courses are in video formats taught by IIT professors in various fields of engineering and science. 

Project OSCAR

This is an enterprise of IIT-Bombay which contains a massive repository of animations and simulations based on science and technology. It aims to teach various science concepts to undergraduate and post-graduate students, thereby shaping their careers.

NCERT

This is an open resource available on the web, meant for school students and institutions. This is an attempt made by the CBSE body of India. Resources on this website come in three languages; Hindi, English, and Urdu.

NIOS

is an open university that started its own OER project to provide educational materials for the vocational streams. 

Agropedia

This is the much needed OER of recent times. It has all the knowledge resources about agriculture and its related topics. This OER is directly approved and run under the guidance of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research. It contains the materials in text, audio, and video formats for easy viewing.

Listed above are some of the Open Educational Resources in India sponsored by various institutes across the country. Students can search for more OERs on the internet to learn more and gain additional knowledge about a subject. 

Benefits of using an OER

As said already, OER is a freely accessible resource found on the Internet. The OER has changed the picture of teaching-learning practices and has numerous benefits. Some of the benefits of using an OER are – 

  • Students through OER can learn from anywhere in the world with just a smartphone and the Internet.
  • OER-based teaching has a wider reach compared to other modes of teaching.
  • Textbook-based learning eliminates the use of OERs. Textbooks sometimes provide less information than required. This redundancy barrier in information is overcome by the OER.
  • Teachers can minimize their time taken to prepare the course content. The most challenging part of creating an online course is to prepare the course content. Teachers can now directly refer to the OERs available and even prepare a separate course and sell them using an LMS platform.
  • Cost efficiency for the students and teachers is very high. They need not spend too much money on buying books for every subject.
  • You get access to updated information. Unlike textbooks, users can immediately update the information in OERs.
  • Students can get a broader perspective about a subject apart from their regular courses. 

How Learnyst helps

Learnyst is a next-gen platform for online teachers in India. It has several features to make your online teaching a fun-filled and productive experience. You can create online courses, sell them on the internet and social media platforms, conduct online tests and exams, and so on. Combine the information from OERs with a powerful LMS like KloudLearn to create an interactive and informative course.

Further Reading: What is LMS?

Sign up for a free 14-day trial with Learnyst today and experience the advantage of teaching with the information available on OER.

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