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Open Educational Resources (OER)

Librarian Assistance

Are you considering updating or replacing course textbooks or materials with OER content? Reach out to a librarian to help filter down what resources you are looking for from our contact page.

Guidelines for OER Evaluation


What are Open Educational Resources?

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research resources that, through permissions granted by their creator, allow others to use, distribute, keep, or make changes to them.

OER are teaching resources that have an open copyright license (such as one from Creative Commons), or they are part of the public domain and have no copyright. Depending on the license used, OER can be freely accessed, used, revised, and shared.


Open Textbooks & OER?

Open textbooks are a subset of OER, and while much of the Open Educational movement is focused on creating, assessing, sharing, and supporting open textbooks, there are many types of OER available, such as:

  • Online courses
  • Video
  • Presentation slides
  • Syllabi
  • Supplementary materials, such as quizzes and assignments

Why should I use OER?

One of the driving factors for the adoption of OER, such as open textbooks, is they are free. But cost savings is not the only benefit of using OER – they are an essential part of an open pedagogy and can be used to create a powerful learning experience for your students. Studies have revealed a positive relationship between the use of OER and student academic achievement and suggest that OER may help to decrease withdrawal rates while increasing overall student grades.

Open Educational Resources:

  • Increase access to education (provide course content that is freely accessible to students on day one)
  • Add value to knowledge production (revise openly licensed content to customize course materials)
  • Reduce faculty preparation time (utilize openly licensed ancillary materials)
  • Reduce education costs for students (students can spend up to $600 per semester purchasing textbooks)
  • Generate innovation through collaboration (work with students to create your own open educational resources)

OER Collections and Repositories


OpenStax hosts a wide scope of subject textbooks that are 100% FREE for your course/students' use. Textbooks are peer-reviewed and written by experts in those subject areas. Additional course content (PowerPoint slides, Canvas integration, and more) are also freely available to connect this textbook into your course. Print copy options are also available for a nominal fee.

Project Guttenburg logo
Project Guttenburg (ebooks) is a repository of digitized FREE classic literature that is now in the public domain.



Teaching Commons logo

Teaching Commons hosts a wide scope of free OER resources....all high-quality, openly licensed, online educational materials. Content includes textbooks, course materials, lesson plans, multimedia, and sourced from a variety of universities/colleges.


Open Textbook Library logo

Open Textbook Library textbooks that have been funded, published, and licensed to be freely used, adapted, and distributed. OTN books have been reviewed by faculty from a variety of colleges and universities to assess their quality. Books can be downloaded for no cost, or printed at a low cost. All textbooks are either used at multiple higher education institutions; or affiliated with an institution, scholarly society, or professional organization. The library currently includes 768 textbooks, with more being added all the time.

Cool 4 Ed logo



Cool4Ed provides an easy to use ISBN search that matches up related OER textbooks or other sought after OER materials/instructor resources.

OER Commons logo

OER Commons is host to a community of OER textbook and curriculum materials freely available under free Creative Commons licensing. Advanced search functions allow instructors to track down quality content for the appropriate academic level of their courses.

Canvas Commons logo

Canvas Commons is for HNU faculty or staff already transitioning to or active on Canvas for their course management. Canvas Commons hosts a collaborative space for OER materials that fellow Canvas users can use, repurpose, share, etc in their Canvas courses. OERs materials include modules, assignments, quizzes, documents, videos/audio/images, etc.

BC Campus logo

BC Campus Open Education contributes to the development of an open future for teaching practices and educational resources. Textbooks that include supplemental or ancillary materials (e.g., test banks, quizzes, PowerPoint slides, videos) in the collection are marked with an Ancillary Resources flag. Note that many textbooks in the collection are original creations published by BCcampus with a Canadian perspective that can be revised to provide a local, Oakland perspective.

Merlot logo

The MERLOT collection consists of tens of thousands of discipline-specific learning materials and learning exercises, together with associated comments, and bookmark collections, all intended to enhance the teaching experience of using a learning material. All of these items have been contributed by the MERLOT member community, who either authored the materials or who have discovered materials they wish to share with educators.


The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC) began an Open Educational Resources Initiative (OERI) in 2018 to reduce the cost of educational resources for students by supporting the creation of high-quality Open Educational Resources. They have a curated list of OER resources by discipline.