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Open Education Resources (OER)

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Open educational resources (OER) are educational materials that are either licensed under an open copyright license, usually Creative Commons, or are in the public domain, such as Project Gutenberg.

Under both types you have free access and permission to:

  • revise: to better meet your needs
  • reuse: either the original or your revised version
  • remix: combine it with other materials
  • redistribute: make copies and share your new version with others.

OER can include textbooks, videos, simulations, assessments, lecture notes and even full courses!

You may not find one OER that perfectly fits your needs and you'll need to do some digging, but we think you'll be pleasantly surprised by the breadth, variety and quality of materials available.   We love OER! Locating free resources can feel a bit overwhelming at first with so many options and places to look.  Once you're ready to start searching, save time by focusing first on identifying library or OER textbooks, then supplement with other free materials/media and library articles to fill in any gaps.

BC campus has created a checklist to help faculty find the best OER for their needs.


Getting Started

STEP 1: Use the  discipline-specific curated lists of Kellogg library and Open Education Resources.  Find your discipline using the top menu and check the link to the  library ebooks search results for the of library's OER page

STEP 2:  Check the site.  In the Course Showcase tab, you'll find reviews of the open etexts aligned with each of the 52 courses that share a common ID number among the California higher education systems.  You'll also want to take a look at the Faculty Showcase and this list  of highly rated open textbooks from the California Open Education Resources Council.

STEP 3: Find free open education resources that have been identified as covering topics from your textbook by entering the ISBN # in the search below. Results are displayed in MERLOT II. MERLOT is a curated collection of free and open online teaching, learning, and faculty development services run by the CSU.

CSU Affordable Learning Solutions

STEP 4: Use one or two of the search engines on the OER Resources page.  Both the Mason OER Metafinder and MERLOT II  will perform a meta-search of multiple OER sites, so they are a good place to start.  If you're new to OER, watch this video introduction to MERLOT II,  OER Commons and other ways to locate OER.  Most sites, including MERLOT and OER Commons allow you to create an account and save your search results. 

View this quick introduction to searching MERLOT and OER Commons.

STEP 5: Find public domain and U.S. Government texts, images and multimedia from libraries, archives, museums and federal agencies.

STEP 6: Browse the media resources below for materials specific in your discipline.

STEP 7:  Use Google's Advanced Search.  Set the Usage Rights to "Free to use or share"  or "Free to use, share, or modify".

 Use the links below to go directly to a section of the OER Resources page or access it from the navigation on the left.

OER Search Engines & Aggregators

Open Education Books

Public Domain and Government Materials

Images, Music, and Videos

Simulations, Models and Case Studies