Open Educational Resources

Open educational resources (OER) are freely accessible, openly licensed documents and media that are useful for teaching, learning, and assessing as well as for research purposes. Or, any teaching, learning and research materials that are in the public domain or under a free license.

Open Educational Resources

How can I use OER?

OER allows you to provide auxiliary learning materials. Much like a student might have once consulted the Encyclopedia, they can now consult OER to augment their learning.

Why should I use OER?

You cannot be an expert in everything! In a course with a limited scope, you may not have time to review grammar rules, teach your students how to properly cite a source, or review the basic steps of a procedure. Making sure they‘re aware of Open Educational Resources frees you to teach your subject with the piece of mind that comes from knowing your students know where to go to get vetted, accurate information.

General Open Educational Resources
  • Bepress:
    Digital commons scholarly publications
  • Creative Commons:
    “Creative Commons is a global nonprofit organization that enables sharing and reuse of creativity and knowledge through the provision of free legal tools. Our legal tools help those who want to encourage reuse of their works by offering them for use under generous, standardized terms; those who want to make creative uses of works; and those who want to benefit from this symbiosis. Our vision is to help others realize the full potential of the internet. CC has affiliates all over the world who help ensure our licenses work internationally and who raise awareness of our work.”
  • Khan Academy:
    Khan Academy offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom. We tackle math, science, computer programming, history, art history, economics, and more.
    “a curated collection of free and open online teaching, learning, and faculty development services contributed and used by an international education community.”
  • MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW):
    “is an initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to put all of the educational materials from its undergraduate- and graduate-level courses online, freely and openly available to anyone, anywhere.”
  • OER Commons:
    “Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that you may freely use and reuse at no cost, and without needing to ask permission. Unlike copyrighted resources, OERs have been authored or created by an individual or organization that chooses to retain few, if any, ownership rights.”
  • Open Course Library:
    A collection of high quality, free-to-use courses that you can download and use for teaching. All content is stored in Google docs making it easy to access, browse and download.
  • Open Textbook Library:
    Faculty-reviewed list of free and downloadable textbooks, curated by the University of Minnesota
  • OpenStax:
    Peer-reviewed textbooks, for free online. Creating an account also gives access to instructor-only resources such as test banks and solution manuals.
  • Purdue OWL:
    “The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University houses writing resources and instructional material, and we provide these as a free service of the Writing Lab at Purdue. Students, members of the community, and users worldwide will find information to assist with many writing projects. Teachers and trainers may use this material for in-class and out-of-class instruction.”
  • Saylor Academy:
    “Saylor Academy‘s mission is to open education to all.
    “This goal is sustained by the continuing growth of a broader open education ecosystem. We are dedicated partners in this movement — creating and curating open educational resources (OER), piloting innovative credentials, and deploying open source technology, all toward supporting learning opportunities for all who seek them.”
  • Ted:
    TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less).
  • Writing Commons:
    “A free, comprehensive, peer-reviewed, award-winning Open Text for students and faculty in college-level courses that require writing and research.”
Program Specific Open Educational Resources

The program-specific resources below are not exhaustive or comprehensive. They are suggestions of places to start. If you use an Open Education Resource that isn‘t listed here, please let us know!



Applied Economics


  • Open Educational Resources: Economics
    A guide, provided by the University of Oklahoma, listing open Economics textbooks
  • AgEcon Search
    “A free-to-user Web site that contains the full text of working papers, conference papers and journal articles in applied economics, including the subtopics of agricultural, consumer, energy, environmental, and resource economics” Maintained at the University of Minnesota.


Biotechnology Studies

  • BITS
    NC State‘s student-driven, student-evaluated resource for topics in Biotechnology
  • National Science Digital Library
    “The National Science Digital Library provides high quality online educational resources for teaching and learning, with current emphasis on the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines—both formal and informal, institutional and individual, in local, state, national, and international educational settings. The NSDL collection contains structured descriptive information (metadata) about web-based educational resources held on other sites by their providers. These providers have contribute this metadata to NSDL for organized search and open access to educational resources via this website and its services.”
  • Virtual Plant Biotechnology and Genomics Laboratory
    “Virtual Plant Biotechnology and Genomics Laboratory immerses students in five different scenarios. In each case, students research and isolate a gene of interest, transform a virtual plant, and explore the controversial issues surrounding transgenic crops. In addition to gaining familiarity with equipment and techniques in the virtual lab, students are provided with topical readings, and background information. Use the Downloads “Currently Available Software” to download the games.”




  • American Rhetoric
    “Lots of speeches. Includes audio and transcripts. Maintained by Michael E. Eidenmuller, professor of communications at UT Tyler.”
  • Lantern
    The search platform for the Media History Digital Library (MHDL). MHDL “digitizes collections of classic media periodicals that belong in the public domain for full public access.”


Environmental Programs



Film & Media Studies


  • Lantern
    The search platform for the Media History Digital Library (MHDL). MHDL “digitizes collections of classic media periodicals that belong in the public domain for full public access.”
  • Open Culture
    1,150 Free Movies, 700 Audio Books, 200 Textbooks
  • Moving Image Archive
    Over 5000 collections with 2 million movies
  • Go Into The Story
    Movie Scripts


Governmental Studies

  • Ballotpedia
    The “encyclopedia of American Politics”; advertised as being committed to neutrality, they cover state, local and federal political issues. Sponsored by the Lucy Burns Institute.
    The home of the U.S. Government‘s open data.
  • The American Presidency Project
    “Non-profit and non-partisan, the leading source of presidential documents on the internet. Our archives contain 118,828 documents and are growing rapidly”

Master of Liberal Arts

  • HumBox
    “The HumBox project aimed to publish a bank of good quality humanities resources online for free download and sharing, and in doing so, to create a community of Humanities specialists who were willing to share their teaching materials and collaborate with others to peer review and enhance existing resources.”
  • PhilPapers
    “PhilPapers is a comprehensive index and bibliography of philosophy maintained by the community of philosophers.”
  • Open Access Queer Studies Resources
    “Highlights open resources including scholarly journals, books, and digital collections, that support Queer Studies research.”

Museum Studies



Research Administration

  • Managing Projects
    This course provides a good overall understanding of how to manage projects. The course includes an overview of the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) developed by the Project Management Institute. The course also includes a quick outline on Earned Value Management and touches on a few advanced topics such as Enterprise Architecture.
  • Writing a Strong Grant Proposal
    Tips on writing a strong grant proposal, with examples and resource links.
  • Financial Management
    The objective of the lecture to aware student about the fundamental tools and techniques of financial management through a photographically

Science, Technology, and International Security

  • PLOS (Public Libreary of Science)
    PLOS publishes a suite of peer-reviewed Open Access journals featuring quality research, expert commentary and critical analysis across all areas of science and medicine.
  • US Intelligence and National Security
    Detailed survey of national security policy analysis and the United States intelligence community, examining strategic thought and strategy formulation, national security issues and threats, and political and military institutions involved in the formulation and execution of national security policy.

Writing, Science Writing, & Teaching Writing

  • Web English Teacher
    Use these free English teaching and learning resources for English, Literature, and writing classes.
  • Read Write Think
    Here at ReadWriteThink, our mission is to provide educators, parents, and after school professionals with access to the highest quality practices in reading and language arts instruction by offering the very best in free materials.  This site contains a large number of printouts and student interactions for graphic organizers.