Open Educational Resources
What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?
As the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation explains, OER are “teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and repurposing by others. OER include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge.”
Why Use OER?
OER are about more than free or low cost textbooks and course materials (though that is a nothing to sneeze at). OER give faculty access to free, customizable learning materials, tools for better student engagement, and opportunities to learn and share with a far-reaching community of educators. For students, in addition to the potential cost savings, OER provide supplementary resources to enhance the educational experience and extend learning beyond the classroom.
- Directory of Open Access Journals
- Public Library of Science (PLOS) – science and medicine
- PubMed Central – biomedical and life sciences
- ArXiv – Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Quantitative Biology, Quantitative Finance and Statistics
- ScienceDirect Open Access – life sciences
- Oxford Open – various
- Springer Open – various
- Taylor and Francis / Routledge Open – various
- Carnegie Mellon University
- MIT Open Courseware
- National Repository of Online Courses
- Open Courseware Library
- Open Yale Courses
- Saylor.org Academy
- Tufts OpenCourseWare
- Utah State OpenCourseWare
- University of Cambridge – Language Centre
- University of Massachusetts, Boston
- University of Michigan
- Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
- TED talks (Ted Talks Usage Policy and CC license)
- TED ed
- YouTube –type in your search term and select filter/creativecommons. Also, see this interesting blog post on embedding youtube videos on your website.
- Vimeo.com – type in your search term and select Filters/More/License
- The Khan Academy (Khan Academy CC license)
- STEM Concept Videos (MIT)
- Internet Archive – not all materials are CC licensed, make sure to check the license for your specific search.
Images & Illustrations (mostly)
- Visual Hunt
- The Creative Commons Search
- Wikimedia Commons –
- Fotor.com –
- Freepik –
- Google Advanced Image Search (Scroll all the way down to the bottom to “Usage Rights”) “Free to use, share or modify, even commercially” is the best option for OER.
- The Noun Project
- Various public domain image websites (Terms: public domain, but read the fine print)
The following sites aren’t technically “open” but have some cool free and low cost resources—so worth a look.
MIT Open Courseware
The Khan Academy
The 5 Rs of Open Content
7 Things You Should Know About
Open Education Resources
The Cost and Quality of Open