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Open Educational Resources (OER): OER for Faculty

This guide will provide resources to free and open education resources

OER for Faculty


The Open Professionals Education Network has an excellent guide to finding OER on their website.

Many faculty members mentioned difficulty in finding Open Educational Resources according to a recent Babson Survey.  This has prevented them from implementing them in their courses, along with the time required to do so. There are many different types of OER, from single images that are licensed for re-use to full courses with accompanying textbooks, multimedia, and assignments. Each involves a different level of commitment, from creating your own resource from scratch, to combining existing resources in a way that meets your needs, to simply adopting an open textbook as is.


Creating Your Own OER

The idea of combining many different types of freely available materials into a single course-specific "textbook" is rather daunting. These products and services facilitate that process to make it more manageable.

  • OER Commons Open Author
    Open Author lets you combine text, pictures, sound, files and video. Saved as openly licensed educational resources, you can share them with friends, colleagues and educators from around the world. You can also print and download your resource as a PDF, as well as download all included media.
  • OpenStax CNX
    Connexions contains educational materials for everyone - from children to college students to professionals - organized in small modules that are easily connected into larger collections or courses
    All content is free to use and reuse under the Creative Commons attribution license
  • AcademicPub
    AcademicPub is a build-your-own-textbook service that allows instructors to create a customized textbook with book chapters, case studies and journal articles.
    AcademicPub provides services to track how much royalties will cost for each custom textbook.
  • The Global Text Project
    A free library of thousands of texts for students in a range of topics covered in a university undergraduate program
    Join venture between the Terry College of Business of the University of Georgia and the Daniels College of Business of the University of Denver.
    Individual book chapters can be opened and modified to fit your own needs.
  • Blended Learning Toolkit
    A free repository of information, tools, resources, models, examples, and research related to blended learning. Download one of its sample courses and use the set of web templates as a basis for an online course.
    Prepared by the University of Central Florida (UCF) and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) with funding from the Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC).

Multi-Disciplinary Collections of OER

These searchable collections allow educators to find a variety of materials in different disciplines. Most offer advanced searching options that allow you to narrow what can sometimes be an overwhelming number of results into a manageable list of quality resources. OER Commons and MERLOT are the largest repositories with broadest coverage; the others are more targeted.

  • OER Commons
    OER Commons is a dynamic digital content hub. This includes full courses, modules, syllabi, lectures, homework assignments, quizzes, lab activities, pedagogical materials, games, simulations, and many more resources contained in digital media collections from around the world.
  • OER Africa --An innovative initiative established by the South African Institute for Distance Education (Saide) to play a leading role in driving the development and use of Open Educational Resources (OER) across all education sectors on the African continent.
    A curated collection of free and open online teaching, learning, and faculty development services contributed and used by an international education community. The MERLOT collection consists of tens of thousands of discipline-specific learning materials, learning exercises, and Content Builder web pages, together with associated comments, and personal collections, all intended to enhance the teaching experience of using a learning material.
  • OpenStax College
    Free open-source peer-reviewed textbooks for college courses; primarily in physics, sociology and biology.
    OpenStax College is an initiative of Rice University and is made possible through the generous support of several philanthropic foundations, such as The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation & Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
  • Open Textbook Library
    A library of open access textbooks that is a tool to help instructors find affordable, quality textbook solutions. All textbooks in this library are complete and openly licensed, and the system allows for peer review.
  • InTech
    A multidisciplinary Open Access publisher of books and journals covering the fields of Science, Technology and Medicine.
    InTech has published more than 850 Open Access books, and provides support services for faculty who wish to publish a book or journal and make it available via Open Access.
  • MIT OpenCourseWare
    MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) is a web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content. OCW is open and available to the world and is a permanent MIT activity. Subject coverage spans the humanities, social sciences, and sciences.
  • SUNY Open Textbooks
    An open access textbook publishing initiative established by State University of New York libraries and supported by SUNY Innovative Instruction Technology Grants. This pilot initiative publishes high-quality, cost-effective course resources by engaging faculty as authors and peer-reviewers, and libraries as publishing service and infrastructure.

Afforable Textbook Alternatives

While free and open source learning materials are the end goal of most OER initiatives, lower cost textbooks with several different access options can also help to alleviate financial pressures on students.

Flat World Knowledge

College-level textbooks in a variety of subjects that can be modified and offered to students in different formats at reasonable prices.

Textbook Media Press

Introductory textbooks in a variety of subjects that can be purchased by students in different formats at reasonable prices.

Subject Specific OER Collections

These collections are focused on one discipline, but still provide a wider variety of content than an open textbook on a single topic.

  • Center for Open Educational Resources and Language Learning
    The Center for Open Educational Resources and Language Learning (COERLL) at the University of Texas at Austin focuses on foreign language learning, and provides materials for the study of Chinese, Arabic, Portuguese and Hindi, as well as videos for the study of Spanish and bilingual Spanish-English conversations.
    MedEdPORTAL promotes educational scholarship and collaboration by facilitating the open exchange of peer-reviewed health education teaching and assessment resources.
  • NanoHUB is the premier place for computational nanotechnology research, education, and collaboration. The site hosts a rapidly growing collection of Simulation Programs for nanoscale phenomena that run in the cloud and are accessible through a web browser. In addition to simulation devices, nanoHUB provides Online Presentations, Courses, Learning Modules, Podcasts, Animations, Teaching Materials, and more.