The term “open” started with “open source” software which meant that not only was the software free to use, but the software code was editable and available to anyone who wanted to modify, enhance, or remake it.
More recently, “open” just means free. The open movement has been spawned by the emergence of the Internet with the ability to disseminate information quickly and inexpensively. Open Educational Resources (OER) are usually licensed with Creative Commons licenses that grant users specific rights for reuse, remixing, and distributing content.
Open Educational Resources can be all kinds of “learning objects” such as animations, videos, interactive games, PowerPoint presentations, simple documents and more.
Open Textbooks are also available for a number of courses and offer a completely free option for entire coursework.
Finding Open Educational Resources
Because the various archives for open educational resources are typically open for anyone to upload content, there is a large amount of open material out there. Some of it is really good; some of it is, well, not so much. The hard part with OER is the search for good resources.
General Open Educational Resources
USG Affordable Learning Georgia: Resources and tools for finding OER.
USG OER for Top 50 Courses: Recommendations for OER based on the University System’s most popular courses.
OER Commons: A repository of resources and tools for creating your own open resources.
Openstax CNX: A collection of open textbooks and resources (Rice University).
MERLOT: Multimedia Educational Resource for Online Learning and Teaching.
The Orange Grove: State of Florida resource repository.
Affordable Learning Solutions: Open resources organized by discipline (San Jose State)
Jorum: A collection of open resources specifically for higher education communities.
SOL*R: A collection of shareable online learning resources.
Public Domain Review: A collection of works available in the public domain.
Creative Commons: Search for media, music, images and more.
Open Course Library: A collection of complete courses available for download.
OpenCourseWare: A repository of courses and their resources (MIT).
OpenCourseWare: A repository of courses and their resources (Notre Dame).
Academic Earth: A repository of open courses from multiple schools and sites.
Open Learning Initiative: A collection of complete courses (Carnegie Mellon).
Saylor Foundation: A collection of courses and textbooks.
Wisconsin Online Resource Center: A digital library of learning objects.
Minnesota Online Digital Exchange (MODE): A digital learning object exchange.
YouTube: Videos on any topic imaginable. Can also filter by Creative Commons to edit or remix videos.
iTunesU: Video and audio material from a variety of sources.
Khan Academy: Video lessons on numerous topics.
TED: Videos on a wide range of topics.
TEDEd: Lessons on a wide range of topics with customization available.
MIT Video: Video offerings from MIT, particularly science-related.
PBS Learning Media: Multimedia offerings on numerous topics.
TeacherTube: A collection of educational video resources.
Allied Health & Nursing
OER for Nursing: Online library of resources (University of California).
OER for Nursing Education: A collection of resources for nurse educators (George Washington University)
Medical Animation Library: A collection of animated learning objects (Penn State)
Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
SmartHistory: An interactive timeline of Art History by the Khan Academy
History Matters: An annotated website for U.S. history resources (George Mason).
Sage American History: Resources for the teaching of U.S. history.
Mathematics & Science
AMSER: Applied math and science education repository.
iLumina: A digital library of math and science teaching materials.
National Science Digital Library: A repository of learning objects and materials.
STAR Tools: Interactive simulators to teach concepts (MIT).
Virtual Labs: Online simulation of a chemistry lab.
PhET: Interactive simulations for teaching and learning science (University of Colorado, Boulder).
BioInteractive: Resources for science education.
National Association of Biology Teachers: A collection of resources in a variety of biology topics.
Directory of Open Access Journals: An online directory of open access, peer-reviewed journals.