Skip to Content

Open Educational Resources

Open Educational Resources, or OER, are digitized materials offered freely and openly for educators, students and self-learners to use and reuse for teaching, learning and research.

Where do I find OER materials?

Open Image Resources

  • Wikimedia Commons: A collection of public domain and Creative Commons licensed educational media content (images, sound and video clips).
  • Flickr Creative Commons: Many Flickr users have chosen to offer their work under a Creative Commons license. One can browse or search through content under each type of license.
  • Google Images (search under Usage Rights) : Conduct a search and then click the "Tools" button, which drops down several filter options. Select your preferred license level under the "Usage Rights" filter. These filters are based on the six Creative Commons licenses but do not always work. Follow each image to its source page to confirm the license.
  • Bing Images (search under License): Conduct a search and then click the "Filter" button on the right side of the page, which drops down several filter options. Select your preferred license level under the "License" filter. These filters are based on the six Creative Commons licenses but do not always work. Follow each image to its source page to confirm the license.
  • NY Public Library Digital Collections (some restrictions may apply): Provides open access to over 750,000 images digitized from the New York Public Library's vast collections. However, this site includes both public domain and works still protected by copyright. When you click into the search box, a limit will drop down. Check the box next to "Search only public domain materials."
  • Photos and images created by the federal U.S. government: Some of the photos and images you find on a U.S. government website are in the public domain because they are U.S. government works. However, the federal government frequently commissions photographers and other non-government entities to create works for their websites. Therefore, you cannot assume all images on a government website are in the public domain. Some images are protected by copyright. Prior to use, read the disclaimers on each site.
  • Artstor Images for Academic Publishing (IAP): IAP provides free print-quality images for use in scholarly publications. Scholars at institutions that subscribe to Artstor can access these images through the Digital Library. Eligible images will feature the IAP icon beneath the thumbnail image.
  • Getty Open Content Images: Makes available, without charge, all available digital images to which the Getty holds the rights or that are in the public domain. No permission is required, but they must be images from their Open Content Program. The Getty has other images that are not part of this program.

Open Video Resources

  • Wikimedia Commons: A collection of public domain and Creative Commons licensed educational media content (images, sound and video clips).
  • Moving Image Archive: This collection features "digital movies uploaded by Archive users which range from classic full-length films, to daily alternative news broadcasts, to cartoons and concerts. Many of these videos are available for free download."
  • Open Video Project: "The Open Video repository provides video clips from a variety of sources, especially various video programs obtained from U.S. government agencies such as the U.S. Records and Archives Administration and NASA. Although the government agency videos were produced with public funds and are freely available from the Archives, no copyright clearance has been obtained for audio or video elements in these productions."

Open Textbook Collections

Multidisciplinary OER Collections

  • MERLOT: MERLOT is a free and open peer-reviewed collection of online teaching and learning materials and faculty-developed services contributed and used by an international education community.
  • Internet Archive – OERs: This library contains hundreds of free courses, video lectures and supplemental materials from universities in the United States and China. Many of these lectures are available for download.
  • Open Education Consortium: A worldwide community of hundreds of higher education institutions and associated organizations committed to advancing open education and its impact on global education.
  • Wikiversity: A Wikimedia Foundation project devoted to learning resources, learning projects, and research for use in all levels, types, and styles of education from pre-school to university, including professional training and informal learning.
  • Academic Earth: Free online college courses from the world’s top universities.

Resources Affiliated with Specific Universities and Programs

  • Coursera: Contains over 700 courses from 110 partners, many of which are global. Search for a course by language or category. Health and society, humanities, and social sciences are well represented topic areas.
  • Khan Academy: The main topic areas are math, science, economics and finance, arts and humanities, and computing, but there is also additional content from Khan Academy partners including museums like The Museum of Modern Art and institutions like NASA. Math has the most extensive list of courses.
  • MIT OpenCourseWare: Includes materials from 2,150 MIT courses, both at the undergraduate and graduate level. A full list of courses is shown by department.
  • Open Course Library: Its slogan is "download.remix.teach" which means that you can download and modify content to suit your needs. Focus is on common courses such as Calculus I and Calculus II. Materials are stored on Google Drive, so a Google account is required to access any of the course folders.
  • Open Yale: Provides a little over 40 open courses from Yale. Course dates range from 2006-2011, and courses include basic physics and organic chemistry.

Finding Digitized Open Access/Public Domain Books and More

Tools to Support the Creation, Delivery and Use of OERs

  • WikiEducator: A collaborative community charged with the planning and development of free, OERs for the world.
  • Sakai : A freely available, open-source learning management system (LMS), offering a feature-rich, technology solution for learning, teaching, research and collaboration.
  • Etudes: A nonprofit membership organization that fosters the development of open technology by offering an affordable, hosted, learning management system (LMS) that supports instruction, research and collaboration.
  • Moodle: An open-source learning management system (LMS) designed to provide educators, administrators and learners with a single robust, secure, integrated system to create personalized learning environments.
  • OER Commons: A freely accessible online library that allows teachers and others to search and discover OERs.
  • Discovery Education: Transforms classrooms and inspires learning by providing high-quality, dynamic, digital content to school districts large and small.
  • Jeopardy Labs: A free service that allows the creation of customized, online Jeopardy templates without using PowerPoint. Users have access to a large library of public domain templates covering a wide range of topics.

OER Resources by Discipline

Open Educational Resources are either in the public domain or free to use based on a Creative Commons license.

  • There are two different Creative Commons public domain marks. Works designated in the public domain are free of rights.
  • There are six different Creative Commons licenses, so it is important to check which license a work has, and what the terms of that particular Creative Commons license are, before reproducing (copying) or using the work. Works that are Creative Commons licensed are still protected by copyright; the licenses supplement that copyright by instructing end users what they can and cannot do with that work.


To find out how you can become involved in Open SUNY, visit the Open SUNY Center for Online Teaching Excellence