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Open Educational Resources

Open Educational Resources are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or released under an intellectual property license permitting free use and re-purposing by others. These include; full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge.

 Where to find open textbooks

Open textbooks to some extent solve the problem of rising textbook costs. Free, or lower cost, textbooks can make a significant difference in students’ ability to afford, and therefore finish, a college education. Open textbooks also offer opportunities for collaborative and interactive resources that have the potential of being more effective than traditional textbooks.

  • Bookboon.com: Download free eBooks and textbooks
  • Open Textbook Library: Hosted by the University of Minnesota, this site is a catalog of 150 open textbooks covering Business, Accounting, IT, Economics, Math, Humanities, Law, Math & Statistics, Natural, Physical and Social Sciences.
  • College Open Textbooks: Lists open textbooks by subject, many of which have been peer reviewed.
  • Textbook Revolution: A student-run site dedicated to increasing the use of free educational materials by teachers and professors. Some of the books are PDF files, e-books, or simply web sites containing course or multimedia content.
  • Connexions: Content Commons of free, open-licensed educational materials in fields such as music, electrical engineering and psychology.
  • Global Text Project: The Global Text Project is a joint project of the Terry College of Business of the University of Georgia and The Daniels College of Business of the University of Denver. A collection of open textbooks in the areas of Business, Computing, Education, Health, Science and Social Science.
  • Open Educational Resource OER Commons: Digital library and network.
  • Flat World: Provides opportunities for life-long learning. Instructors can create the perfect book for their course using an online editor. Add, delete and rearrange content to match your syllabus and improve student success.
  • Project Gutenberg: Offers over 53,000 free ebooks: choose among free epub books, free kindle books, download them or read them online. Have high quality ebooks previously published by bona fide publishers. These are digitized and proofread with the help of thousands of volunteers.
  • Community College Consortium of Open Educational Resources: Most of the textbooks have Creative Commons (CC) open licenses or GNU-Free Document License. Others are U.S. government documents in the public domain (PD). Many other textbooks are free to view online but are NOT OPEN for reuse and customization. See Copyrighted Digital Textbooks for a list of learning content without open licenses.
  • Orange Grove Text: Florida’s operational repository project of open source educational materials.
  • CCCOER: Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources.

where to find videos

  • MIT Video: The MIT Video website aggregates and curates video produced by the Institute's offices, laboratories, centers and administration. This includes feature and editorial videos, event recordings, academic content and more. 
  • TED: Devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). Covers almost all topics, from science to business to global issues and in more than 100 languages.
  • Bozemanscience: Bozemanscience has hundreds of science videos essentially for AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Environmental Science, and AP Physics 1&2 all aligned to the AP curriculum. 
  • CrashCourse: Tons of video courses in one YouTube channel. Covers Anatomy & Physiology, Astronomy, U.S. Government and Politics, Economics, World History, Biology, Literature, Ecology, Chemistry, Psychology, and US History.
  • Academic Earth: Academic Earth was launched on the premise that everyone deserves access to a world-class education. A collection of free online college courses from the world’s top universities.
  • FORA.tv: Web's largest collection of conference and event videos.
  • YouTube: A free video sharing website that makes it easy to watch online videos. Anyone can create and upload videos to share with others. Now one of the most popular sites on the Web, with visitors watching around 6 billion hours of video every month.

Other sources for Open Educational Resources

The various archives for open educational resources are typically open for anyone to upload content. Consequently, there are a lot of resources out there. Some are really good; some well and others not so much. The hard part with OER is the search for good resources.

  • National Science Digital Library: The National Science Digital Library provides high quality online educational resources for teaching and learning, with current emphasis on the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) discipline.
  • MERLOT: The oldest OER collection on the web with objects designed primarily for higher education.
  • Open Culture: Over 1200 free online courses from the world’s leading universities —  Stanford, Yale, MIT, Harvard, Berkeley, Oxford and more. You can download these audio & video courses (often from iTunes, YouTube, or university web sites) straight to your computer or mp3 player.
  • The World Digital Library: Collection of digital content from around the world including photos and films.
  • MIT OpenCourseWare: Publication of course materials used in the teaching of MIT's subjects available on the web to everyone.
  • Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative: Collection of online courses to anyone who wants to learn or teach.
  • The Library of Congress: The nation's oldest federal cultural institution, and it serves as the research arm of Congress. It is also the largest library in the world, with more than 120 million items. The collections include books, sound recordings, motion pictures, photographs, maps, and manuscripts.
  • Open Learn: Free learning resources from Open University
  • OER Commons: Worldwide learning network of shared teaching and learning materials.
  • SOL*R URL: Repository of learning objects created by British Columbia higher education faculty. Many projects that were funded through the OPDF (Online Program Development Fund) and were created by C2T2 reside in this repository.
  • The Saylor Foundation: A free and open collection of college-level courses.

Creating Coursepacks

Instructors can create own their own collection of readings for students instead of a textbook. Referred to as "Coursepacks", this process entails obtaining copyright clearance and ensuring that copyright holders are paid royalities when necessary. The following companies can assist you to curate and manage rights for a coursepack.

  • ProQuest SIPX: Provide course materials solution in higher education.
  • XanEdu: Provides custom content, technology and services for leaders in business and education
  • AcademicPub: Creates custom course packs.

Where to Find Open Access Journals

Open Access Journals are free and availably on the public internet, permitting users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited.

  • Open Access Journals:  The site provides sources to Open Access Journals and resources for evaluation of these journals in terms of quality.