OER Part 1: Course Content and Textbooks

The following Open Educational Resources (OER) collections include course content and textbooks you may use, re-purpose, and distribute for your teaching and learning needs. Learn more about high-quality open courses, educational resources, and OER advocacy by checking out the rest of the series below:

Part 2: Open Courses and MOOCs | Part 3: Grants and Advocacy | Part 4: K-12 Resources | Part 5: Articles and Research


Course Content

Creative Commons Open Education Program (https://creativecommons.org/about/program-areas/education-oer/)

Creative Commons is a non-profit organization known for providing free, easy-to-use copyright licenses that allow individuals to legally share and build upon the creative and scholarly works of others. Their Open Education page features links to projects and resources that further their mission, such as P2PU’s School of Open and the Encyclopedia of Life.

Flooved (http://www.flooved.com/home)

Developed and hosted in the U.K., Flooved is a study platform that provides free educational content for university students studying a range of maths and physics. Existing lecture notes, handouts, and study guides by the “world’s best professors” in these disciplines are turned into online interactive resources for students. Content is discoverable by topic and the collection is building daily.

Khan Academy (https://www.khanacademy.org/)

Not-for-profit Khan Academy is an organization dedicated to providing a “free world-class education for anyone anywhere.” Content includes interactive challenges, assessments, and video in an array of topics for kindergartners through adult learners. Create an account to practice standardized tests and keep statistics on assignments and coursework you’ve completed, noting your progress as you learn.

MERLOT (http://www.merlot.org/merlot/index.htm)

MERLOT is a collection of peer-reviewed OER designed primarily for faculty and students of higher education. The MERLOT project was developed in 1997 by the California State University Center for Distributed Learning. The collection contains over 40,000 resources that are organized into 19 different material type categories such as animation, assignment, case study, online course, open textbook, quiz/test, and workshop training material.

OER Commons (http://www.oercommons.org/)

OER Commons was created in 2007 by the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME), a nonprofit education research institute dedicated to innovation in open education content and practices. It is a digital library that offers peer-reviewed OER in a variety of disciplines for all grade levels. Users can browse through the OER collection by subject areas, grade levels, and material types (e.g., activities and labs, audio and video lectures, games, homework assignments, full courses, lesson plans, and textbooks).

Open Education Consortium (http://www.oeconsortium.org/courses/)

The Open Education Consortium is a global community of hundreds of higher education institutions and associated organizations committed to advancing open education and its impact on global education. The Open Education Consortium collaborates with MERLOT to provide users with an integrated database of open educational resources.

PhET Interactive Simulations (http://phet.colorado.edu/)

PhET, originally named the “Ph”ysics “E”ducation “T”echnology project, was developed by the University of Colorado Boulder to help students engage in science and mathematics through fun, free, interactive, research-based science and mathematics simulations. As users interact with tools such as sliders, click-and-drag features, radio buttons, and various measurement instruments, they get immediate feedback about the effect of the changes they made. This allows them to investigate cause-and-effect relationships, make real-world connections, and answer scientific questions through exploration of the simulation.


Textbooks

American Institute of Mathematics Open Textbook Initiative (http://aimath.org/textbooks/)

The American Institute of Mathematics (AIM) maintains a list of open source and open access mathematics textbooks that have met the AIM Editorial Board’s evaluation criteria and are suitable for use in traditional university courses. PDFs of complete textbooks are available for download from the Approved Textbooks page (http://aimath.org/textbooks/approved-textbooks/), which is organized by courses ranging from precalculus to upper division analysis and algebra.

BCcampus Open Textbooks Collection (http://open.bccampus.ca/find-open-textbooks/)

The BC Open Textbook Project was first announced in October 2012 by the British Columbia Minister of Advanced Education. BCcampus has created a collection of open textbooks targeting high-enrollment subject areas, such as the arts, sciences, social sciences, and business studies, as well as trades and skills training. In total, the BC Open Textbook Collection contains over 70 openly licensed textbooks.

College Open Textbooks (http://collegeopentextbooks.org/opentextbookcontent/open-textbooks-by-subject)

College Open Textbooks (COT) is a project of the Silicon Valley Education Foundation and the Open Doors Group. The COT Collaborative is collection of colleges, governmental agencies, education non-profits, and other education-related organizations that are focused on the mission of driving awareness, adoptions, and affordability of open textbooks. COT provides links to a variety of open textbooks in subjects such as anthropology, art, biology, business, computer science, law, and psychology.

Green Tea Press (http://greenteapress.com/wp/)

Green Tea Press offers free textbooks developed by Allen Downey, a Professor of Computer Science at Olin College in Needham, MA. His textbooks, such as Think Python, Think Bayes, and Think Stats are generally related to computer science and data science. All of the textbooks are available under free licenses that allow readers to copy and distribute the texts, as well as modify them in order to adapt the books to different needs.

InTech Open Access Books (http://www.intechopen.com/books)

InTech is the publisher of one of the largest open access collection of books in the world, featuring contributors from 3,143 research institutions and 152 countries. With more than 2,500 open access books published and over 82 million downloads to date, InTech makes research visible and available to international scholarly communities in the fields of science, humanities, technology and medicine.

Knowledge Unlatched (http://www.knowledgeunlatched.org/#)

A collection of scholarly, peer-reviewed books in the humanities and social sciences made openly available via the KU website, and in OCLC, the HathiTrust. and OAPEN. The pilot consists of 28 titles published using a new financial model in which libraries and publishers worldwide join in making these works freely available to read, download, and further distribute. Note the Creative Commons license assigned by the author/editor to his/her work for specifics on what you can do with the content. More titles will be added annually.

MERLOT (http://www.merlot.org/merlot/index.htm)

MERLOT is a collection of peer-reviewed OER designed primarily for faculty and students of higher education. The MERLOT project was developed in 1997 by the California State University Center for Distributed Learning. The collection contains over 40,000 resources that are organized into 19 different material type categories such as animation, assignment, case study, online course, open textbook, quiz/test, and workshop training material.

OAPEN (http://www.oapen.org/home)

The OAPEN Foundation is a non-profit foundation dedicated to open access publishing of academic books. OAPEN provides a platform for the full text dissemination of open access books and provides services to publishers and libraries. OAPEN currently offers a quality controlled collection of freely accessible academic books, mainly in the area of humanities and social sciences.

OER Commons (http://www.oercommons.org/)

OER Commons was created in 2007 by the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME), a nonprofit education research institute dedicated to innovation in open education content and practices. It is a digital library that offers peer-reviewed OER in a variety of disciplines for all grade levels. Users can browse through the OER collection by subject areas, grade levels, and material types (e.g., activities and labs, audio and video lectures, games, homework assignments, full courses, lesson plans, and textbooks).

OpenStax College (http://openstaxcollege.org/)

An initiative of Rice University and underwritten by numerous philanthropic organizations, OpenStax College is a nonprofit organization “committed to improving student access to quality learning materials.” Free textbooks are developed and peer-reviewed by educators to ensure they are readable and accurate. Institutional adoption of these open-education texts is supported by OSC staff who will assist with customization of texts for an institution and free online distribution to students, or low cost in print.

Open SUNY Textbooks (http://textbooks.opensuny.org/)

Open SUNY Textbooks is an open access textbook publishing initiative established by State University of New York libraries and supported by SUNY Innovative Instruction Technology Grants. Participating libraries in the 2012-2013 pilot included SUNY Geneseo, College at Brockport, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, SUNY Fredonia, Upstate Medical University, and University at Buffalo, with support from other SUNY libraries and SUNY Press. Open SUNY Textbooks currently offers 22 textbooks on topics such as nursing, sciences, mathematics, and literature.

Open Textbook Library (http://open.umn.edu/opentextbooks/)

Compiled by the University of Minnesota in partnership with other U.S.-based higher education institutions, Open Textbook Library offers free academic textbooks that are written by experts in a variety of disciplines and licensed so teachers and students can use, adapt, and distribute the material. Author credentials are provided to validate their expertise. Using a provided rubric, registered users may write and post book reviews. Download an open textbook for no cost or print it inexpensively.

Orange Grove Texts Plus (http://orangegrovetexts.org/)

Orange Grove Texts Plus (OGT+) is a joint initiative of the University Press of Florida  and The Orange Grove, Florida’s Digital Repository.  The goal of this partnership is to reduce the cost of books to students by offering texts that are affordable, accessible, and adaptable to reader preferences. The OGT+ collection features over 100 textbooks covering a wide range of disciplines available for instant PDF download.