Essex County College


This guide introduces and explains open educational resources and provides help for faculty on finding, evaluating and creating OERs. Open educational resources are any material used in the classroom to help students learn that have been made freely available online and licensed for others to reuse them. Educational institutions embraced the movement for OERs in response to rising costs of traditional college textbooks.

Information on OERs

  1. An Open Education Reader – Edited by David Wiley for a graduate class at Brigham Young University, this book is a collection of readings covering the basics of OERs.
  2. OER Handbook for Educators – This book is aimed at educators actively looking to use or create an OER.

Online Classes on How to Use OERs

  1. Introduction to Open Education Resources – Created by OpenStax, this short lesson on OERs includes tips on finding and creating them, as well as using public domain resources and how to store OERs.
  2. How to Use Open Educational Resources – Another short, introductory workshop on OERs, created by OpenWashington.

Sources – Where to Find OERs

  1. American Institute of Mathematics Open Resources – The American Institute of Mathematics (AIM) has developed evaluation criteria to identify the books that are suitable for use in traditional university courses. The Editorial Board maintains a list of Approved Textbooks which have been judged to meet these criteria.
  2. BC Campus – BCCampus, supported by the government of British Columbia, curates the OERs created by British Columbia academic institutions. The collection comprises of 159 textbooks by topics. About half include peer reviews.
  3. Digital Public Library of America – The Digital Public Library of America aggregates more than 14 million items from libraries, archives and museums. Items include text, videos, images and audio.
  4. Directory of Open Access Books – Although not focused on textbooks, this database curates scholarly books that are free and open to reuse.
  5. OER Commons – This database of OERs lets you search by education level, learning material type and accessibility. Supported by the not-for-profit group Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education.
  6. Flat World – A collection of customizable textbooks, equipped with a full-range of instructor supplements and a homework system.
  7. Hathi Trust Digital Library – Use this database to search a variety of material formats that are in the public domain or were made open from universities across the country. Make sure to use the Full Text search to ensure access to the material.
  8. JStor Open Access Textbooks – More than 6,000 Open Access ebooks from 75+ publishers, including Brill, Cornell University Press, De Gruyter, and University of California Press, are now available at no cost to libraries or users.
  9. LibreText – The LibreText Project, a leading, non-commercial open textbook organization initiated at the University of California, Davis, runs their Open Textbooks Program, intended to decrease the burden of textbook costs on college students while increasing the availability, usage and educational value of open textbooks that are freely available to download, edit, and share to better serve all students.
  1. Merlot – Run by the California State University System, MERLOT curates OERs that have been licensed for reuse and materials that are online for free. Search includes audience, language, material type, Creative Commons licenses and accessibility.
  2. MIT Open Course – Search through OERs created by MIT. Materials include textbooks, audio/visual lectures, lecture notes, assessments and courseware.
  3. NOBA – Teach and learn psychology for free – Noba is a free online platform that provides high-quality, flexibly structured textbooks and educational materials. These textbooks and materials are licensed under the Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 International License. Users may reuse, redistribute, and remix the content to suit their needs.
  4. NYPL Digital Collection – The New York Public Library has made almost 700,000 items – mostly images, although text, maps, audio and movie files are included – in their digital collections free to the public. Check individual items for any other copyright restrictions.
  5. OasisA new database to search hundreds of sources of OERs hosted by SUNY Geneseo.
  6. Open Education Consortium– The Open Education Consortium (OEC) is a non-profit, global, members-based network of open education institutions and organizations. OEC works with its members to build capacity to find, reuse, create and share Open Educational Resources (OER), develop open policy, create sustainable open education models, and enable international collaboration and innovation.
  7. Open Textbook Library – This database, overseen by the Open Textbook Network, includes books authored by faculty from universities across the country, and many include peer reviews. You can browse by subject or do a simple search.
  8. Open Textbook Network – The Open Textbook Library maintains a database of peer-reviewed academic textbooks. The textbooks are free, openly licensed, and complete; their adoption creates a measurable, positive impact on student success.
  9. OpenStax – Although small, this collection of 34 textbooks covers some of the basic introductory classes in math, sciences and social sciences. The books have all been peer-reviewed.
  10. Project Gutenberg – A digital library of over 60,000 free eBooks, including but not limited to the world’s great literature, with focus on older works for which U.S. copyright has expired.
  11. Teaching Commons – Browse for OERs in this aggregated database by the creator’s institution, material type and subject.
  12. World Digital Library – The World Digital Library (WDL) is a project of the U.S. Library of Congress, carried out with the support of the United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO), and in cooperation with libraries, archives, museums, educational institutions, and international organizations from around the world. The WDL makes available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from all countries and cultures.