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Open Educational Resources (OER) are no cost materials that support teaching, learning, and research. These include textbooks, interactive learning materials, quizzes, images, media, software, lab manuals, games, online lectures, and more.
But OER is not just free stuff. The OER gold standard is material that’s free and openly licensed, giving users the freedom to do the "5 R’s" of Open: Retain, Reuse, Redistribute, Revise, and Remix. Openly licensed materials allow all you the maximum flexibility to match your teaching goals. See the Creative Commons tab for more information on open licensing.
See the Open Education Group publications page for research and writings on OER effectiveness and related issues.
One Search Options: OASIS, MOM, and ISBN
These one search options search multiple sites with open content that can be edited, shared, etc., as well as collections with free materials that cannot be adapted, but can be used as is. Though these searches may retrieve just what you need, these options have significant content and search limitations, including fewer deep filtering choices found on other sites. Not successful here? Try the repositories listed in the column to the right.
Enter the ISBN of a book below to find related FREE eTextbooks. You may need to try a few, such as ISBN's associated with paperback, hardback, etc.
Find OER on the Web: Strategies
In addition to the major open educational resource collections highlighted in the middle column, locate OER's by using a search engine like Google or Bing. Just note that pinpointing vetted resources is more random in this method.
Locating OER on the Web:
- Combine a word or phrase describing your subject with one of these terms (or others you find)
open textbooks | education resources | simulation | open resources | lessons or lesson plans | courseware | introduction[topic word] | creative commons | games
Example: engineering open textbooks
- Consider doing a search that will only retrieve educational or government sites by combining subject terms with site:.edu or site:.gov Example: biology education resources site.edu
- Do a Google Advanced Search and limit Usage Rights to locate open textbooks.
Limit the Rights to "free to use, share, or modify, even commercially"
- Look for options to limit Usage Rights on other websites, as well, such as YouTube
OER Starter Kit
OER Starter Kit
An instructor introduction to the use and creation of open educational resources (OER). The text is broken into five sections: Getting Started, Copyright, Finding OER, Teaching with OER, and Creating OER.
OER Support: Education, Activism, Community
Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources
A consortium of community and technical colleges committed to expanding access to education and increasing student success through adoption of open educational policy, practices, and resources.
Open Education Consortium
A non-profit, global, members-based network of open education institutions and organizations. OEC represents its members and provides advocacy and leadership around advancement of open education globally. OEC works with its members to build capacity to find, reuse, create and share Open Educational Resources (OER), develop open policy, create sustainable open education models, and enable international collaboration and innovation. OEC annually hosts the Open Education Global conference.
Open Education Network
The Open Education Network (formerly Open Textbook Network) helps higher education institutions and systems advance the use of open textbooks and practices on their campuses.
A global alliance dedicated to making Open the default for education and research.
Find OER in Repositories & Referatories
Large OER collections which contain or point to learning materials can be a great place to start your OER discovery. The first four below are the largest. The OER by Disciplines guide may reveal unique options.
A large OER and learning materials site linking to various types of materials including textbooks, simulations, assessment tools, tutorials, quizzes, and more. Use advanced search for more precise retrieval. After executing a search, the same search can be repeated in a search engine or in other collections. Users can create and contribute material.
Open Textbook Library
This site facilitates discovery of hundreds of fully vetted open textbooks from higher education partners in the Open Textbook Network (OTN). Though these titles can also be searched in larger referatories like the OER Commons, you may prefer starting with a quality textbook-only collection.
Authors with textbooks meeting the quality parameters dictated by OTN may have their book hosted by the Open Textbook Library.
OER by Discipline Guide
The BCcampus Open Education OER by Discipline Guide lists a wide range of open educational resources organized by discipline.
LibreTexts - Free the Textbook
This repository represents a multi-institutional collaborative effort to improve higher education learning through OER development. Cross search disciplines by doing a Web (Google or other) search using a topic word, format type, and the word Libretexts, such as "biology simulation libretexts."
The multi-disciplinary holdings in Libretexts include textbooks, simulations, visualizations, homework exercises, and more. Users can create and contribute materials.
Open Educational Resources (OER) Commons
A large OER repository with textbooks and multiple types of learning support materials. Try the advanced search option to refine a search using such options as limiting to resources with ratings or comments. Users can create and contribute material.
Gallileo: Open Learning Materials
This site shares open educational resources from the University System of Georgia, including open textbooks and ancillary materials. This group is known for its early and innovative OER work.
This site contains peer-reviewed textbooks in multiple subject areas available for adoption or adaption. Content is also indexed in OER Commons, but, as an early and continuing leader in OER, the BC Campus site has extras worth browsing.
This non-profit publishing operation from Rice University focuses on creating free, peer-reviewed textbooks for higher density attendance courses.
OpenStax is known for quality standards, creating books that meet scope and sequence requirements for most courses, and supplying low cost and free options for accessing supplementary materials.
These terrific books can be found in numerous repositories above.
National Science Digital Library
Offers open access materials supporting science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education.
SOL*R: Shareable Online Learning Resources
Choose Browse Open Sources in this open learning materials repository from BCcampus.
Cora: Community of Online Research Assignments
Find multiple, reliable and reproducible research assignments that can be enhanced by user feedback. This collaborative space can also be used to adapt and experiment with research assignments and share successes or lessons learned so that others may benefit.
A community for teaching or studying: Create, share, and explore high quality K-12 content.
- Free online books. This link leads to a related Auraria Library guide identifying web collections featuring free ebooks, such as Internet Archive and HathiBooks. Not all are appropriate as classroom learning support materials.
North Carolina Learning Object Repository
Documents, audio/video clips, simulations, learning modules, assessments, and more in virtually all subject areas.
An international co-learning and e-mentoring Community of Practice (CoP) devoted to improving the employability skills and work opportunities of participants and reducing the gap existing between the academic world and the labor market, by means of appropriately remixed and localized OER. All content is aimed at the improvement of employability. See the Library section for OER materials.
CORE: The Open Access Repository for the Humanities
A full-text, interdisciplinary, non-profit social repository designed to increase the impact of work in the Humanities. Part of the Humanities Commons.
Creator, publisher, distributor, and seller of open textbooks and ancillary materials to college-level students.
No-cost digital collection of workforce training materials.
Upload and share PowerPoint Presentations, Word documents, and Adobe PDF Portfolios.
A predominance of business content, but other subjects as well. Each book can include up to 15% advertising, to finance content.
Find a multitude of images. After running a search, use the search tools button (under the top search box), to limit Usage Rights to find images labeled for reuse.
A multitude of freely offered, no-strings-attached photos.
Creative Commons (CC) Search
Searches numerous collections including Flickr, Wikimedia Commons, and many others. After executing a search, filter by license type or supplier.
Photos that are 100% free to use and adapt.
Simulations and Experiments
Supplied to Auraria campus constituents by Auraria Library, JoVE supplies both a journal called Journal of Visualized Experiments and a collection of peer-reviewed, filmed experiments published in video format to make visible research techniques.
Educational resources for chemical engineering.
Value-Added Textbook Ancillaries
A major OER concern is the frequent lack of such supplementary materials as assessments, or support tools that assist with activities like grading. Options to address these concerns include:
Free add-ons. Many of the OER repositories listed on this page will note if supplementary support materials have been added, and may also include the option to create and add your own for use by all.
Stand-alone ancillaries may also match textbook content or achieve learning goals.
Fee-based add-ons. Some OER suppliers, such as OpenStax, have partnerships, prominently offered, with companies and publishers that supply support tools and resources at reasonable costs.
Open Access? Open Educational Resource?
What's the difference between Open Access (OA) and Open Educational Resources?
- Open Educational Resources refer most frequently to materials created to support teaching and learning with open licensing. (The phrase sometimes encompasses research materials.)
- Open Access refers to scholarly materials that are freely available to users and refers to specific OA scholarly publishing models that vary from the traditional journal/scholar model.
Wait. Sounds like there's cross-over in the two definitions.
- Yes. But knowing there is some difference should help alleviate confusion when reading about one or the other!
Below are some large OA repositories for journals and discipline-specific materials.
Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)
The DOAJ is an index to open access scientific and scholarly journals that use a quality control system to guarantee the content. All subject areas and languages are covered.