November 12, 2018

Making Sense of Educational Resources: OERs, DERs, TLRs — An Interview with Pascale Blanc from la Vitrine technologie-éducation

This text was initially published by Profweb under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 International licence, before Eductive was launched.

TLR, OER, DER… These are acronyms that we are hearing more and more, without necessarily understanding what they mean. To learn more, I interviewed Pascale Blanc, the Coordinator of the VTÉ (Vitrine technologie-éducation).

Pascale Blanc, Coordinator of VTÉ

TLRs: Teaching and Learning Resources

Pascale explains to me that the definition itself of TLR (teaching and learning resource) may vary. A TLR, a priori, is a resource used by a teacher who shares it with their students within the context of a teaching or learning activity.

A TLR can take on different forms:

  • Written documents
  • Videos
  • Audio files
  • Illustrations, photos
  • Animations
  • etc.

A TLR can be:

  • Exercises
  • Quizzes
  • Presentations
  • etc.

TLRs are meant to be “small things.” However, some definitions of TLRs are much larger in scope. They can sometimes be software, or digital textbooks… and even MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) which are free courses available to anyone interested).

Where can I find TLRs?

VTÉ manages CERES, a catalog of TLRs assembled by different organizations. CERES provides access to close to 40,000 TLRs on all sorts of subjects.

Searching within the CERES catalogue

The TLR that CERES refers to you can come from various databases. For example, CERES crawls content (photos, illustrations and videos) from the World of Images directory developed by the CCDMD (Collegial Centre for Educational Material Development), or from Canal-U, the higher education digital film archive from France.

OERs: Open Educational Resources

According to UNESCO, Open Educational Resources (OERs) are teaching, learning and research material which exist in the public domain or which have been published with an open licence.

This open licence confers free permission in perpetuity to:

  • Access the resource
  • Use the resource
  • Adapt the resource
  • Redistribute the resource

Since OERs can be teaching and learning resources, they include TLRs. The OERs can be in a digital or other format.

The OERs are often identified as such using a Creative Commons (CC) licence. However, certain resources distributed under a CC licence are not entirely open: many can not be modified or used for commercial purposes.

According to Pascale Blanc, for a resource to be completely open (libre in french), it must include the permission to be modified and integrated into other resources. Pascale explained this to me, and had me reflect on the advantages and disadvantages for an author to opt for a commercial-use licence. This is the subject of another article: — Open Educational Resources (OERs) — An Interview with Pascale Blanc from La Vitrine technologie-éducation. A must-read if you are thinking about distributing your material with a CC licence!

DERs: Digital Educational Resources

Digital Educational Resources, for their part, can be:

  • TLRs
  • Documentary resources that support your teaching (pedagogical research report, research policies, etc)
  • Software
  • Textbooks
  • etc.

They can be open or not. Profweb publications are an example of DERs, as well as the 35 000 documentary resources produced by the Quebec college network that are referenced in the catalogue by the CDC (Centre de documentation collégiale).

Learn more about

Profweb has already presented 2 articles on

How to share the resources that were created?

Did you create a DER that you would like to share? How should you proceed?

  • If it is a documentary resource (thesis, dissertation, research report), you can submit it to
  • If it is an image or a royalty-free video (for non-commercial use), submit it to World of Images.
  • If it is a TLR in another format, contact the library at your college to see how you can have your resource catalogued by CERES or send a message to

The future of CERES and

In the spring of 2018, VTÉ and the CDC decided to combine their search interface in order to facilitate searching for users that want to search for TLR, documentary resources and learning scenarios using a unified, user-friendly and modern portal. Stay tuned!

At the moment, CERES is the place where you can find TLRs and is the place where you can find documentary resources on college teaching.

About Pascale Blanc

Pascale Blanc holds a doctoral degree in computer science and began her career in the suburban transport sector in France. It’s only once she moved to Quebec, where she has lived for the last 20 years, that she applied her expertise in informations systems in service of education technology.

Pascale was promoted to the role of Coordinator at l a Vitrine Technologie-Éducation (VTÉ) in April of 2018, where she had been working since 2016 as a Techno-pedagogical Counsellor. She became a member of the board of advisors at the ADTE in 2017. Pascale particularly enjoys tracking new technology, providing support, observing and sharing innovative techno-pedagogical practices as well as promoting education technology and open educational resources.

About the author

Catherine Rhéaume

Catherine Rhéaume is an editor and writer for Eductive (previously Profweb) since 2013. She also teaches physics at Cégep Limoilou. Her work for Eductive fosters her interest for technopedagogy and encourages her to try innovative teaching practices.

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