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CSCU OER: Glossary


Accessibility Accessibility can be viewed as the "ability to access" something. The concept of accessible design and practice of accessible development ensures both "direct access" (i.e. unassisted) and "indirect access" meaning compatibility with a person's assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). (Source:
Alt Text A word or phrase that can be inserted as an attribute in an HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) document to tell website visitors the nature or contents of an image. (Source:
Attribution The process by which a content user gives proper credit to the original creator of a work when a portion of that work is reused or adopted outside of its original context. Attribution typically includes a link to the original work and information about the author and license.
CONNPIRG CONNPIRG is a local Connecticut chapter of the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) that is a student-led advocacy group that has championed affordable course materials. (See US PIRG)
Copyright A set of intellectual property laws that give the rights holder of a work (usually the author) exclusive rights over the reproduction, reuse, remixing, display, performance, and redistribution of their work. Learn more from the CSCU Copyright Guide.
Copyright license A license permits users to certain rights over a copyrighted work. These can be exclusive (allowed for individual groups) or nonexclusive (allowed for all users). Licenses can be restricted by certain factors such as purpose, territory, duration, and media (Source:
Course Designators Course Designators are administrative attributes assigned at the course or section level to denote a particular characteristic of the course/section. The designator may be represented by text or an image within the Student Information System. NOLO is a course designator that denotes no-cost or low-cost course materials.
Creative Commons A set of open licenses that allow creators to clearly mark how others can reuse their work through a set of four badge-like components: Attribution, Share-Alike, Non-Commercial, and No Derivatives.
CSCU OER Advisory Council A CSCU-wide council focused on promoting and supporting affordable and openly licensed course materials consisting of faculty and staff representatives from all 17 institutions.
CSCU OER Mini-Grant Program A CSCU-sponsored affordable and OER materials grant program designed to promote and support OER adoption.
CSCU OER Summit A CSCU OER Advisory Council sponsored event designed to provide professional development opportunities for faculty and staff interested in OER and Open Practices.
CT OER Coordinating Council A legislatively created statewide council with public and private higher education representation focused on the promotion, adoption, and creation of OER materials.
CT OER Grant Program A legislatively funded statewide OER grant program focused on the implementation of OER in courses with high enrollment and high textbook costs. The program is facilitated by the CT OER Coordinating Council.
CT OER Summit An annual event sponsored by the statewide CT OER Coordinating Council designed to provide faculty with the opportunity to learn effective practices in OER implementation, collaboration, strategy, and research.
Derivative Works A work based on or derived from one or more already existing works. Common derivative works include translations, musical arrangements, art reproductions, and abridgments. (Source:
eduroam A service that allows CSCU students, faculty, or staff to use their institutional login credentials to connect via wifi to the Internet while on any CSCU campus as well as thousands of other campuses worldwide, including the University of Connecticut. Through eduroam, an individual may legally access the e-resource collections of the libraries of participating institutions.
Fair Use A legal doctrine that promotes freedom of expression by permitting the unlicensed use of copyright-protected works in certain circumstances. In Canada, this is known as Fair Dealing.
Free for Student Course materials that are free for students to access, but may have institutional costs and may not be openly licensed (for example, many Library e-resources).
Inclusive Access Inclusive Access is a volume pricing discount program offered by publishers and campus stores that provides students will access to digital titles that are pre-billed.
Inclusivity The practice or policy of including people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized. (Adapted from the Oxford Living Dictionary)
Learning Management System (LMS) A software platform that manages, analyses, and runs educational courses. Canvas and Blackboard are two popular examples.
Library E-Resource An e-book, article, video, report, etc. that is accessible anywhere through a library's website. Access may be limited to students, faculty, and staff who are affiliated with the library's parent institution as well as individuals on the parent institution's campus. In many instances, library e-resources may be adopted for use in courses. Instructors should contact their library to learn more about the adoption of library e-resources for courses, including information about linking and possible simultaneous user restrictions.
Library Reserves A library service through which students can check-out materials for short periods, often with the restriction that checked-out materials cannot leave the library building. Libraries sometimes include textbooks and other course-adopted materials in their reserves collections.
Licensing The process by which a rights holder (usually the creator of a work) dictates that others can reuse their work in specific ways.
NEBHE OER Committee The New England Board for Higher Education is a regional compact that serves all New England States and has formed a multi-state OER committee with representation from each participating state.
NOLO NOLO is a course designator that indicates course sections that utilize no-cost or low-cost required instructional materials which cost students a total of $40 or less per section. (See NOLO Guidelines)
Northeast OER Summit The Northeast OER Summit is an annual gathering of Open Educational Resources practitioners from the Northeast region of the United States.
OER-enabled pedagogy A set of teaching and learning practices that are only possible or practical in the context of the 5R permissions which are characteristic of OER, resulting in the creation of supplementary learning resources designed to facilitate the learning of other students.
Open access (OA) A model by which content creators make their scholarly outputs free to access without cost to users. This can be done either by publishing content with an Open Access (OA) publisher or by sharing the content on an open repository.
Open educational practices (OEP) Practices that encourage the development of openness, community engagement, transparency, responsibility, sharing, and accountability in education. (Source: Open Education Practices [Wikibooks])
Open educational resources (OER)

“Open Educational Resources” mean a teaching, learning, or research resource that is offered freely to users in at least one form and that either resides in the public domain or has been released under an open copyright license that allows for its free use, reuse, modification, and sharing with attribution.

Open license A copyright license framework that grants different levels of permissions for users to access, reuse, and/or redistribute a work with few or no restrictions.
Open pedagogy (see also OER-enabled Pedagogy) A set of pedagogical practices that include engaging students in openly licensed content creation and making learning accessible to all.
Open-source software Software with source code that anyone can inspect, modify, and enhance. (Source:
Open textbook An openly licensed and free to access textbook; an OER meant to be used as a textbook for a course.
Public Domain A work that is not covered under copyright law, whose copyright has expired, or which has been dedicated to the public domain by its rights holder is said to be in the public domain.
Textbook Heroes Faculty who have been spotlighted for their efforts to adopt, supplement, and/or create OER or affordable materials. Learn more about CSCU Textbook Heroes.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) A framework to improve and optimize teaching and learning for all people based on the concept that, by providing multiple ways of engaging with content, the diverse educational needs of learners can be met.
US PIRG US PIRG is a federation of independent, state-based, citizen-funded Public Interest Research Groups, and is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to social change. Textbook Affordability is a major campaign within the organization.


"The CSCU Affordable & Open Educational Resources Glossary" is an adaptation of "The OER Starter Kit" by Abby Elder and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License except where otherwise noted.