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OER Learning Materials

How to identifying OER learning materials

The way to determine if a learning material is OER is by looking for the intellectual property license. If you see it has a Creative Commons license that permits editing and remixing, then you can call it OER!

Explore OER materials from CUNY

  • OpenED CUNY Item opens in new tab/window. is a curated digital library of open educational resources (OER) and zero textbook cost (ZTC) materials. It’s an excellent resource to discover CUNY OER/ZTC by format/type, subject collections as well as creator/provider. Most of the OER/ZTC created by Brooklyn College faculty has been added to the repository.
  • OpenED CUNY Brooklyn College Item opens in new tab/window. is a curated digital library of Brooklyn College’s OER/ZTC.
  • Brooklyn College Created Open Education Resources Item opens in new tab/window. is a guide listing OER by fellow faculty.

Explore OER materials from beyond CUNY

There are many resources available to search for and browse OER. This collection listed here will be primarily useful to instructors engaged in introductory and deep searches for OER to support teaching and learning.

Here are some good places to begin searching for open educational resources:

  • Open Textbook Library (University of Minnesota) Item opens in new tab/window.
    “These books can be downloaded for no cost, or printed at low cost. All textbooks are either used at multiple higher education institutions; or affiliated with an institution, scholarly society, or professional organization.”
  • OASIS search tool by SUNY Geneseo Item opens in new tab/window.
    “Openly Available Sources Integrated Search (OASIS) is a search tool that aims to make the discovery of open content easier. OASIS currently searches open content from 61 different sources and contains 160,717 records. OASIS is being developed at SUNY Geneseo’s Milne Library in consultation with Alexis Clifton, SUNY O.E.R. Services Executive Director.”
  • OER Commons Item opens in new tab/window.
    OER Commons “offers a comprehensive infrastructure for curriculum experts and instructors at all levels to identify high-quality O.E.R. and collaborate around their adaptation, evaluation, and use to address the needs of teachers and learners.”
  • MERLOT Item opens in new tab/window.
    “Find peer reviewed online teaching and learning materials. Share advice and expertise about education with expert colleagues. Be recognized for your contributions to quality education.”

  • Search: Mason OER Metafinder Item opens in new tab/window.
    The Mason OER Metafinder searches: American Memory Project (Library of Congress), AMSER (Applied Math and Science Education Repository), BC Campus Textbooks, Digital Public Library of America, Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB), HathiTrust (Full View Available), MERLOT II, MIT OpenCourseware, OAOpen.org, O.E.R. Commons, O.E.R. at Internet Archive, Open Textbook Library, OpenStax CNX, Project Gutenberg, World Digital Library.
  • OASIS search tool by SUNY Geneseo Item opens in new tab/window.
    Openly Available Sources Integrated Search (OASIS) is a search tool that aims to make the discovery of open content easier. OASIS currently searches open content from 117 different sources and contains 388,707 records.
  • Creative Commons Search Tool Item opens in new tab/window.
    This tool is helpful when searching for a variety of media (music, video, images, etc.), but do make sure your results are openly licensed before using or remixing.

  • OER Commons Item opens in new tab/window.
    O.E.R. Commons “offers a comprehensive infrastructure for curriculum experts and instructors at all levels to identify high-quality O.E.R. and collaborate around their adaptation, evaluation, and use to address the needs of teachers and learners.”
  • MERLOT Item opens in new tab/window.
    “Find peer reviewed online teaching and learning materials. Share advice and expertise about education with expert colleagues. Be recognized for your contributions to quality education.”
  • Teaching Commons Item opens in new tab/window.
    “The Teaching Commons brings together high-quality open educational resources from leading colleges and universities. Curated by librarians and their institutions, the Teaching Commons includes open access textbooks, course materials, lesson plans, multimedia, and more.”
  • AMSER (Applied Math & Science Education Repository) Item opens in new tab/window.
    “AMSER is a portal of educational resources and services built specifically for use by those in Community and Technical Colleges but free for anyone to use.”
  • OpenStax CNX Library Item opens in new tab/window.
    “[A] place to view and share educational material made of small knowledge chunks called modules that can be organized as courses, books, reports, etc.”
  • Temoa Item opens in new tab/window.
    “With the intention to collaborate in the struggle to reduce global education gap and enrich the learning process, Temoa seeks to support the educational community to find those resources and materials that meet their needs for teaching and learning, through a collaborative system of specialized search and social tools.”
  • World Digital Library Item opens in new tab/window.
    “The WDL makes available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials” from countries and cultures from around the world.
  • CORE: Open Access for the Humanities Item opens in new tab/window.
    “A nonprofit, interdisciplinary, broad-ranging alternative to commercial networks” and hub of Humanities resources.

  • Open Textbook Library (University of Minnesota) Item opens in new tab/window.
    “These books can be downloaded for no cost, or printed at low cost. All textbooks are either used at multiple higher education institutions; or affiliated with an institution, scholarly society, or professional organization.”
  • BCcampus Open Textbooks Item opens in new tab/window.
    An initiative from BCcampus, which “is a publicly funded organization that uses information technology to connect the expertise, programs, and resources of all British Columbia post-secondary institutions.”
  • Open SUNY Textbooks Item opens in new tab/window.
    “[A]n 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.”
  • Affordable Learning Georgia Item opens in new tab/window.
    “Affordable Learning Georgia is funding and supporting efforts to replace commercial learning materials with no-cost-to-student alternatives, with a focus on the most-enrolled University of System Georgia undergraduate courses, especially those in the Core Curriculum.”
  • Bay College OER Item opens in new tab/window.
    A guide to OER textbooks and courses at Bay College, a community college in Michigan.
  • BookBoon Item opens in new tab/window.
    “Bookboon.com has published more than 1,000 free textbooks for students. These textbooks can be downloaded in PDF format without prior registration.”
  • College Open Textbooks Collaborative Item opens in new tab/window.
    “The College Open Textbooks Collaborative, a collection of twenty-nine educational non-profit and for-profit organizations, affiliated with more than 200 colleges, is focused on driving awareness and adoptions of open textbooks to more than 2000 community and other two-year colleges. This includes providing training for instructors adopting open resources, peer reviews of open textbooks, and mentoring online professional networks that support for authors opening their resources, and other services.”
  • Global Text Project (University of Georgia) Item opens in new tab/window.
    A University of Georgia initiative.
  • Open Access and Free Books on MUSE Item opens in new tab/window.
    “Project MUSE offers over 500 fully open access (OA) books from several distinguished university presses. The books are provided through the permission of their publishers and are freely available to libraries and users around the world.”
  • Open Textbooks from MIT Item opens in new tab/window.
    An index to the online textbooks in MIT OpenCourseWare.
  • The Orange Grove – Open Textbooks Item opens in new tab/window.
    Florida’s OER repository. “This collection offers open books and textbooks from many sources.”
  • Textbook Archive Item opens in new tab/window.
    This is the archive of a small project by Andy Schmitz to archive Creative Commons-licensed copies of all the books which were available online from a specific publisher at the end of 2012. (That publisher has asked to remain unnamed here. . . )”
  • DOAB: Directory of Open Access Books Item opens in new tab/window.
    Directory of over 10,000 open access books across disciplines and subjects, many of them highly technical. Ability to browse and search by title, subject, and publisher. Books available in many languages.
  • Zero-Cost Alternatives to Commercial Materials (Cal State University) Item opens in new tab/window.
    Input the ISBN of the commercial book you seek to replace with free online course materials.

  • Lumen Learning Item opens in new tab/window.
    “Lumen Learning publishes open courses to make it easier for faculty members to adopt and teach with open educational resources (O.E.R.). And to make education more affordable for thousands of students every year.”
  • MIT Open Courseware Item opens in new tab/window.
    “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.”
  • Open Course Library Item opens in new tab/window.
    “The Open Course Library (OCL) is a collection of shareable course materials, including syllabi, course activities, readings, and assessments designed by teams of college faculty, instructional designers, librarians, and other experts.” Managed by the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges.
  • Open Learning Initiative (OLI) – Carnegie Mellon University Item opens in new tab/window.
    “The Open Learning Initiative offers online courses to anyone who wants to learn or teach. Our aim is to combine open, high-quality courses, continuous feedback, and research to improve learning and transform higher education.”
  • Open Yale Courses Item opens in new tab/window.
    “Open Yale Courses provides free and open access to a selection of introductory courses taught by distinguished teachers and scholars at Yale University. The aim of the project is to expand access to educational materials for all who wish to learn.”
  • Saylor Academy Item opens in new tab/window.
    Collection of nearly 100 free and open online courses at college and professional levels.
  • Academic Earth Item opens in new tab/window.
    “Collection of free online courses from the world’s top universities” with videos.

Evaluating OER Materials

Instructors can find OER materials in a variety of different places. However with so many freely available resources online, choosing OER materials can be overwhelming. When evaluating OER materials for use in your courses, keep the following in mind:

Appropriateness

  • Content is accurate
  • Sources are identified and cited
  • Is the material culturally relevant and appropriate?
  • Is any type of bias present?
  • Does it address the topic at hand sufficiently to add value to the class?
  • Material is appropriate for the level of the course

Currency 

  • Is the resource up-to-date?
  • Is a creation or update date visible?

Quality

  • Peer Review available or used  
  • Reputation of author/ institution is transparent
  • Pedagogical methods are sound
  • There are no factual errors
  • There are no errors of omission
  • Allows for customization or refinement

Technical

  • High technical quality (clear visuals, high production value)
  • Allows for customization or refinement
  • Clear licensing declaration

Refer to the various OER Evaluation checklists to evaluate your OER

Attribution: [Abbey Elder] (2017, Dec. 28) How to Find and Evaluate OER [Video File]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/jGTUHdadqJU (CC-BY 4.0)

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