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Open Educational Resources: OER

Tools to help instructors navigate the process of using OERs, finding resources, adapting them for use, and building more effective pedagogy in their disciplines.

General Searching

Before searching begins, the obvious first step is to identify the learning goals of your course, and what types of resources you will need. Once that knowledge is in hand, several portals exist to help instructors and course designers find appropriate open educational resources. Some focus specifically on textbooks, while others are repositories of all sorts of open resources.

George Mason University has built a metasearch tool that searches more than twenty of the most popular sites for open resources. Initial search results can be narrowed by facets, including sub-disciplines, publication dates, and many more.

MOM iconMason OER Metafinder (MOM)
Advanced Search


The California State University System, in partnership with other educational institutions and professional societies, moderates a collection of OER resources called MERLOT II. In this community, members freely share OERs, as well as resources and tools to help with OER creation and sharing.

"OER Commons is a public digital library of open educational resources. Explore, create, and collaborate with educators around the world to improve curriculum."

The National Science Digital Library provides a collection of sharable undergraduate educational resources for science and mathematics. Called iLumina, it contains a variety of resources, from individual images and videos to complete courses.



Open Textbooks

These collections of complete textbooks include contributions by authors from many institutions, not just the host schools.


The Open Textbook Library is sponsored by the Center for Open Education at the University of Minnesota.


OpenStax is a textbook collection hosted at Rice University.


Saylor Academy offers a variety of free and open textbooks.



Other Open Resources

Countless free learning resources are available online, in almost every subject. Here are some sites that help with finding quality materials to supplement texts or use as building blocks to meet specific learning objectives.

  • The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) has many educational resources, including primary source subject sets designed for classroom use.
  • The Digital Commons Network uses a graphical search tool to provide access to millions of free (open access) scholarly articles from hundreds of colleges and universities worldwide.
  • The Library of Congress Eprints Guide lists over 20 archives of open access, scholarly research journals and sources in Science, Technology, and Medicine.
  • The Public Library of Science (PLOS) contains over 200,000 peer-reviewed articles, focusing on life sciences.
  • UNC Chapel Hill hosts a collection of free educational and documentary films called the Open Video Project.
  • Some commercial publishers publish open access scholarly books at the author's request. De Gruyter, for example, has over 2,000 open-access book titles.
  • Data Repositories is one of many useful lists in the Open Access Directory global resource hosted by Simmons College.
  • Open Culture collects thousands of links to "the best free cultural and educational media on the web".
  • The Smithsonian Institution makes many of their images and cultural resources available via open access.

 Many other collections and sites exist beyond these examples. Ask your friendly library staff for help locating more resources in your discipline.

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