Open Educational Resources (OER) provide a strategic opportunity to improve the quality of education as well as facilitate policy dialogue, knowledge sharing and capacity building. Open Educational Resources are teaching, learning or research materials that are in the public domain or released with an intellectual property license that allows for free use, adaptation, and distribution.
In 2001, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in an unprecedented move, announced the release of nearly all its courses on the internet for free access. As the number of institutions offering free or open courseware increased, UNESCO organized the 1st Global OER Forum in 2002 where the term Open Educational Resources (OER) was adopted. With the support of the Hewlett Foundation, UNESCO created a global OER Community wiki in 2005 to share information and work collaboratively on issues surrounding the production and use of Open Educational Resources. This WSIS OER Commuity is the new UNESCO-supported Community encouraging practitioners, researchers, decision- and policy-makers, teachers, and learners to contribute their knowledge on OER.