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OER - Open Educational Resources

Research, explore, and learn how to use OER materials for instruction and learning.

How to Find OER

hand holding magnifying glass reaching out of laptop

After reviewing how to prepare to use OER, you're now ready to search for high quality instructional and learning materials for your course. There are several options for how to find OER:

  • Use a search engine like Google, DuckDuckGo or Bing and select the advanced search options to filter by usage rights
  • Use an OER search engine (e.g. OASIS)
  • Use an OER repository (e.g. MERLOT)

​You may also search by specific OER type, e.g. courses and related materials, textbooks, journals, images, or multimedia. To help you with your search, a compilation of OER for higher education across multiple disciplines, organized by type, is listed in this guide below.

IMPORTANT: All collections listed here offer access to their content for free. However, usage rights vary and may require individual assessment to identify parameters for use. Materials may be open access, use different types of Creative Commons licenses, or be in the public domain.

Where to Find OER

OER repositories contain a variety of materials that can extend beyond textbooks to include lectures, videos, activities, and other types of content. These repositories act as a one-stop source of general educational content offered for free.

Recommended

These repositories are suggested as a starting point for researching OER, and include the most rigorously reviewed materials.

  • Academic Senate for California Community Colleges - Open Educational Resources Initiative (ASCCC-OERI)
    Contains open source resources for several disciplines, approved and funded by the ASCCC. 
  • California Open Online Library for Education (Cool4Ed)
    Contains open source textbooks and other materials from the State of California Higher Education system.
  • MERLOT
    One of the largest OER repositories; offers a peer-reviewed collection of open online teaching and learning materials, as well as faculty development services. Maintained by the California State University system.
  • CSU - OERN Portal
    Online library of OER for nursing via MERLOT, compiled by California State University.
  • Openly Available Sources Integrated Search (OASIS)
    Acts as both an OER repository and search engine. Searches open content from 73 different sources including textbooks, coursers, interactive exercises, books, and more. Contains more than 170,000+ records. 
  • OER Commons
    Contains over 50,000+ high-quality OER from multiple disciplines and formats authored by faculty in higher education, as well as instructional designers, librarians, and other experts. Resources include textbooks, syllabi, assignments, activities, lesson plans, images, and multimedia. 
  • Open Course Library
    Smaller collection sponsored by the Washington State Board of Education, with materials tested for accessibility and assessed for quality. Contains a range of course materials including syllabi, activities, readings and assignments created by faculty, instructional designers, librarians, and other experts. 
  • OpenStax
    Contains textbooks, articles, supplemental materials, and other resources. Offers print-on-demand services for students who wish to have print copies.

A-Z List

  • Applied Math and Science Education Repository (AMSER)
    Portal of educational resources and services specifically for use in community and technical colleges.
  • MIT OpenCourseWare
    Contains published materials from thousands of ​MIT courses. Includes lectures, textbooks, courses, and supplemental resources. 
  • NanoHUB
    Contains over 1600+ teaching and learning resources that include presentations, learning modules, podcasts, apps, simulations, and other course materials.
  • Open Courseware Consortium
    Collection of high-quality learning materials, including webinars and courses.
  • Open Michigan
    Collection of OER from the University of Michigan. Includes course materials, videos and lectures.  
  • The Orange Grove
    Florida's higher education OER repository, including materials tagged as appropriate for higher education, community college, vocational education, or continuing education.
  • Skills Commons
    Collection of workforce-related OER created by over 700+ community colleges, focusing on learning and program support materials for job-driven workforce development. Browse by material type, discipline, credential type, and more. Designed and managed by the California State University and its MERLOT program for the U.S. Department of Labor's Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training program (TAACCCT).
  • Teaching Commons
    "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."
  • teachOER
    Guide to searching OER developed by faculty, for faculty. Includes searchable collection of OER repositories and resources searchable by material type, such as textbooks, books, lesson plans, videos, and syllabi.
  • WikiEducator
    Searchable wiki devoted to planning educational projects related to development of open learning content. 

OER search engines serve as tools to help discovery of relevant, high quality open resources. Suggested search engines follow:

A-Z List

Browse or search the collections below for OER focusing on complete courses. They may also include lectures, readings, and other course materials.

A-Z List

  • Academic Earth
    Curated collection of free online courses from top universities around the world, including MIT, Princeton, Cornell, Stanford, Yale, and Columbia.
  • Coursera
    Extensive library of MOOCs with contributions from leading universities and companies (e.g. Stanford, UPenn, Google, and IBM). Some materials are freely licensed for reuse.
  • EdX
    Immense library of free online courses across numerous subjects. Courses provided by numerous leading universities, including Harvard, UC Berkley, MIT, and more. Some materials are freely licensed for reuse.
  • Miríadax
    Ibero-American MOOC platform with complete courses in Spanish covering various subjects.
  • Noba
    Free teaching and learning modules for psychology, ranging from introductory to advanced courses. 
  • OERu
    Free and complete open educational courses from partner universities worldwide. Disciplines covered include business, economics, digital literacy, and history.
  • Open Course Library
    "Collection of shareable course materials, including syllabi, course activities, readings, and assessments designed by teams of college faculty, instructional designers, librarians, and other experts." Materials have undergone accessibility testing and are under Creative Commons licensing unless otherwise noted.
  • OpenLearn
    Collection of free online courses, interactive activities, videos and more provided under Creative Commons licensing.
  • Open Learning Initiative
    Dozens of free complete online courses and materials provided by Carnegie Mellon University.
  • Saylor Academy
    Free college courses and textbooks, comprised of mostly open course content that may be reused and remixed. 

Open textbooks are free educational materials made available through Creative Commons licensing. Collections below may host some of the same books, but focus on different fields or disciplines. 

Recommended

With abundant textbook options to choose from, try beginning your search with the suggested resources below; these consist of the most commonly used collections for OER.

  • BC Campus: OpenEd
    "The B.C. Open Textbook Collection is home to a growing selection of open textbooks for a variety of subjects and specialties." Offered textbooks have been reviewed by British Columbia faculty, meet accessibility requirements, and may include additional instructional materials such as slides, quizzes, videos, and more.
  • California Open Online Library for Education (Cool4Ed)
    Contains open source textbooks and other materials from the State of California Higher Education system.
  • Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) - Ebooks
    Curated collection provided by DPLA in an effort to expand discovery and access of free eBooks. 
  • Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB)
    Collection of open access, academic, peer-reviewed books and chapters. 
  • Lyryx - Open Textbooks
    Collection of high-quality open textbooks primarily in the fields of accounting, mathematics, and economics, made available through Creative Commons licensing.
  • MERLOT 
    Offers a peer-reviewed collection of open textbooks and other online teaching and learning materials, as well as faculty development services. Search function allows entry of ISBN number of existing textbook to find a comparable, open textbook. Maintained by the California State University system.
  • OER Commons
    Contains over 50,000+ high-quality OER from multiple disciplines and formats authored by faculty in higher education, as well as instructional designers, librarians, and other experts. Resources include textbooks, syllabi, assignments, activities, lesson plans, images, and multimedia. 
  • OpenStax
    Contains peer-reviewed open textbooks, articles, supplemental materials, and other resources. Offers print-on-demand services for students who wish to have print copies.
  • Open Textbook Library
    Collection of more than 700 open textbooks. "These books have been reviewed by faculty from a variety of colleges and universities to assess their quality. All textbooks are either used at multiple higher education institutions; or affiliated with an institution, scholarly society, or professional organization."
  • OpenTextBookStore
    Faculty-curated collection of open textbooks ready for use in a college classroom, focusing on math.
  • Saylor Academy Open Textbooks
    Collection of open textbooks. Works are used by Saylor Academy to build their open online college courses,
  • Open SUNY Textbooks
    "Open SUNY Textbooks is an open textbook publishing initiative established by State University of New York libraries." Collection consists of high-quality, peer-reviewed textbooks for use in higher education instruction and learning.

A-Z List

  • American Institute of Mathematics (AIM) - Approved Textbooks
    List of open textbooks in various subdisciplines of math, approved by the AIM editorial board.
  • Bookboon
    Collection of more than 1000+ textbooks written by university professors. Works are primarily focused on fields of engineering, economics, finance, and IT. 
  • FreeBooks4Doctors
    Collection of hundreds of free medical textbooks in full-text.
  • GALILEO Open Learning Materials: Open Textbooks
    "GALILEO Open Learning Materials brings together open educational resources throughout the University System of Georgia, including open textbooks and ancillary materials." Most works hosted here use a Creative Commons license.
  • It's More Than A Textbook
    An online platform that helps college professors develop interactive, low cost online textbooks ($15 per student) with integrated assessment system. Includes automated accessibility checker and offers integration with LMS like Canvas.
  • InTechOpen 
    Publisher of multidisciplinary open access books and journals covering science, technology and medicine. 
  • JSTOR - Open Access Books
    Collection of over 6,000 open access eBooks from 75+ publishers, including over 600 out-of-print books. Multiple disciplines covered, including business, anthropology, education, environmental science, health sciences, and more. 
  • LibreTexts
    LibreText is an online textbook platform containing hundreds of free textbooks and other course materials, including interactive visual design elements. Built as a collaborative effort between "students, faculty and scholars to provide an easy-to-use platform for construction, customization and dissemination of open educational resources."
  • Project MUSE - Open Access
    "Project MUSE offers open access (OA) books and journals from several distinguished university presses and scholarly societies." Materials focus on humanities and social science content.
  • Project Gutenberg
    Library of over 60,000 free eBooks in full-text, including classic literature from around the world. Collection focuses on older works with expired copyright. 
  • Teaching Commons
    "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."
  • Textbook Equity
    Free college-level textbooks available under Creative Commons licensing. Most have been academically reviewed and tested in classrooms, and contain exercises, discussion problems, and other supplementary learning materials.
  • Wikibooks
    A Wikimedia project for collaboratively written open access textbooks. Follows rules similar to Wikipedia.

Open journals and databases are less numerous than other types of OER, but can still be found. These can supplement research of periodicals found in the Compton College Library databases.

A-Z List

  • Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)
    Comprehensive online directory of high quality, open access scientific and scholarly peer-reviewed journals. 
  • Elsevier Open Access Journals
    Peer-reviewed articles from open access journals published by Elsevier
  • OMICS Group International
    Hosts over 700+ journals open access journals across multiple scientific disciplines, operated by 50,000+ editorial board members and reviews from 1000+ scientific associations in medical, clinical, pharmaceutical, engineering, technology and management fields.
  • Oxford Open Journals
    Hybrid open access and fully open access journals published by Oxford University Press.
  • Public Library of Science (PLOS)
    Peer-reviewed, open access journals across all areas of science and medicine.
  • ScienceDirect
    Full-text scientific database offering over 4,000+ journal articles and 30,000 book chapters.
  • SpringerOpen
    Peer-reviewed, fully open access journals from all areas of science, technology, medicine, the humanities, and social sciences.

The collections of OER images listed here may include stock and community contributed photos, graphics, illustrations, art, and works from museums and U.S. government agencies.

Recommended

These collections are suggested as a starting point for image research due to their overall diversity, breadth and quality of content. 

  • Creative Commons Search (CC Search)
    Searches among 19 collections for open content available in the public domain and under Creative Commons licenses. Includes works from datasets and cultural works from museums (e.g. Metropolitan Museum of Art), graphic designs, artwork, and photos from Flickr.
  • Digital Public Library of America (DPLA)
    Library of more than 37 million digitized images, texts, videos and sounds from libraries, archives and museums from around the U.S. Includes primary sources and features online exhibitions. Usage rights vary, though many are in public domain. 
  • Flickr: Creative Commons
    Collection of images shared on Flickr using a Creative Commons license. Search or browse by specific type of CC license.
  • Pexels
    Free stock photos and videos licensed under Creative Commons. 
  • Pixabay
    Royalty free high quality stock photos, illustrations, graphics, and short videos.
  • U.S. Government - Images
    Collection of photos and images from the U.S. Government, with many in the public domain.

A-Z List

  • Artstor
    "The Artstor Digital Library provides straightforward access to curated images from reliable sources that have been rights-cleared for use in education and research." This collection contains over 2.5 million free images containing metadata from the collection catalogers, curators, institutions, and artists. 
  • Art Images for College Teaching
    Collection of art images provided by the University of Michigan Library for educational and research purposes. All works have had copyright dedicated to the public domain.
  • Artstor: Art and Multimedia
    Open access art and multimedia works available through Artstor's Public Collections.
  • Burst
    Collection of free high-resolution stock photos geared towards website and commercial use.
  • FancyCrave
    Collection of free travel photos. Browser curated photos sets or single photos.
  • Free Images
    Collection of over 300,000 free stock photos available for commercial or noncommercial use.
  • The Gender Spectrum Collection
    "The Gender Spectrum Collection is a stock photo library featuring images of trans and non-binary models that go beyond the cliches. This collection aims to help media better represent members of these communities as people not necessarily defined by their gender identities."
  • Getty Search Gateway
    "The Getty Search Gateway allows users to search across several of the Getty repositories, including collections databases, library catalogs, collection inventories, and archival finding aids."
  • Google Advanced Image Search
    Allows limitation of image search on Google by usage rights.
  • Gratisography
    Collection of free high resolution pictures, focusing on quirky and creative images.
  • JSTOR Open Community Collections
    Open access images, postcards, archaeological materials, and documents from several archival collections hosted by JSTOR.
  • Kaboompics
    Collection of free professional stock photos and color palettes. 
  • Life of Pix
    Free high-resolution photos. Browse works by gallery collections or photographer.
  • The MET Open Access Artworks
    Collection of more than 375,000 high resolution images of public domain artwork from the The Met Collection.
  • National Gallery of Art - NGA Images
    Collection of digitized images of works within the public domain presented by the National Gallery of Art. Works may be used for commercial or noncommercial purposes.
  • Negative Space
    Free high resolution stock photos without any restrictions. All images use CC0 licensing. 
  • New York Public Library - Digital Collections
    Open access to over 700,000 digital images from the NYPL, including a specific collection dedicated to only public domain works.
  • Openclipart
    Over 100,000 copyright free clip art images, made available through public domain.
  • Picjumbo
    Free stock photos, backgrounds, and high-resolution images for commercial or noncommercial use.
  • Pixnio
    Free images available under public domain for commercial or noncommercial use.
  • Public Domain Project
    Contains thousands of audio, image, and video files in the public domain. Made available by Pond5 stock footage company.
  • pxhere
    Free images available under public domain for commercial or noncommercial use.
  • Scatter Jar
    "Scatter Jar is a free resource celebrating the joy and beauty of food photography. It's a place for creatives to download unlimited free food photos, in high resolution, for both personal and commercial use."
  • Smithsonian Open Access
    Open access collection of more than 3 million 2D and 3D images from the Smithsonian's 19 museums, nine research centers, libraries, archives, and the National Zoo.
  • SplitShire
    More than 1,000+ free stock photos available for commercial or noncommercial use. Also includes smaller collection of free videos.
  • StockSnap
    Hundreds of free high resolution images, with new works added weekly. Made available under Creative Commons licensing and completely free of copyright restrictions.
  • Stockvault
    Collection of free stock photos, textures and illustrations.. Hundreds of new works added weekly. Submissions made from artists and photographers worldwide.
  • Unsplash
    Community-sourced collection of free high-resolution photos, wallpapers, and backgrounds submitted by photographers. Works can be used for commercial or noncommercial purposes.
  • Visual Hunt
    Searches for "the best free images from many online sources and pull them all together in one spot." Most works are licensed under Creative Commons or released under public domain.
  • WOCinTech
    Collection of free stock photos featuring women of color in technology. Works are available under Creative Commons licensing.

The OER audio collections listed here contain a variety of complete audio files and clips that cover songs, sound effects, remixed works, beats and instrumentals. 

A-Z List

  • Bandcamp
    Contains music uploaded to Bandcamp with a Creative Commons license.
  • CCmixter
    Community site hosting over 38,000+ remixes and samples of music licensed under Creative Commons. 
  • The Free Music Archive
    Collection of curated, high-quality, legal audio material licensed under Creative Commons. Works selected by New Jersey radio station WFMU.
  • Free Loops
    Collection of diverse sound effects, vocal loops, instrumental loops and more. 
  • Freesound
    Collaborative database of Creative Commons licensed sounds. Includes audio clips, samples, recordings and sound effects.
  • Internet Archive: Audio
    "This library contains recordings ranging from alternative news programming, to Grateful Dead concerts, to Old Time Radio shows, to book and poetry readings, to original music."
  • Public Domain Project
    Contains thousands of audio, image, and video files in the public domain. Made available by Pond5 stock footage company.
  • What Funk
    Collection of house, electronic, techno, electronica, hip-hop, cinematic, pop music. All music published here can be used for commercial and noncommercial purposes, without need to ask for permission or providing attribution to original creator.
  • Wikimedia Commons: Audio Files
    Collection of audio files freely available for use, organized into 29 categories.
  • World Hip Hop Beats
    Collection of hip hop beats and instrumentals licensed under Creative Commons.
  • YouTube Audio Library
    Playlist of free audio files for use in video or audio projects.

These OER video collections include a diverse range of video works. Materials may include educational videos, films, commercials, presentations, and more. 

A-Z List

  • Coverr
    Provides stock video footage and Zoom virtual backgrounds. All works can be used for commercial or noncommercial purposes. 
  • Creative Commons Search (CC Search)
    Searches multiple repositories of images and multimedia content under Creative Commons licensing, including YouTube, Google, SoundCloud, and more.
  • Critical Commons
    "Critical Commons is a public media archive and fair use advocacy network that supports the transformative reuse of media in scholarly and creative contexts." Videos posted are primarily presented under Fair Use guidelines.

  • Internet Archive: Moving Image Archive
    "This library contains digital movies uploaded by Archive users which range from classic full-length films, to daily alternative news broadcasts, to cartoons and concerts." Contains over 1.5 million digitized materials, all free and open for download under public domain or Creative Commons licensing.
  • Khan Academy
    Collection of hundreds of short instructional videos covering multiple subjects, with particularly robust science and math series. 
  • Life of Vids
    Collection of free videos, clips and loops that can be used for commercial or noncommercial purposes.
  • The Open Video Project
    Collection of open access digitized videos for research communities following Fair Use guidelines; many obtained from U.S. government agencies such as U.S. Records and Archives and NASA. 
  • Pexels Video
    Collection of free stock videos licensed under Creative Commons licensing, allowing use for commercial or noncommercial purposes.
  • PhET: Interactive Simulations
    Interactive video simulations for science and math, primarily under Creative Commons licensing.
  • Public Domain Project
    Contains thousands of audio, image, and video files in the public domain. Made available by Pond5 stock footage company.
  • TED
    Collection of video talks and lectures across a range of subjects, meant to inspire and share ideas. Works use Creative Commons licenses. 
  • Videvo
    Collection of free HD and 4K stock video footage and clips, motion graphics, music tracks and sound effects. Works are licensed under Videvo Standard License or Creative Commons licenses. 
  • Vidlery
    Collection of free animated backgrounds for use on websites. Licensed under Creative Commons.
  • Vimeo
    Platform for creating, sharing and collaboration of video content. Some works available for completely open distribution.
  • Wikimedia Commons
    Wiki collection of images, video and music all available under public domain or open licensing. 
  • YouTube
    Platform for creating, sharing, and collaboration of video content. Use the search filter to limit results to Creative Commons videos.