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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

  • Wikipedia Commons: A media file repository for public domain and freely-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 select Usage Rights. You’ll be offered the option of filtering results by: Labeled for reuse with modification, Labeled for reuse, Labeled for noncommercial reuse with modification, or Labeled for noncommercial reuse.
  • Bing Images (search under License): Conduct a search and then select License. You’ll be offered the option of filtering results by: All, Free to share and use, Free to share and use commercially, Free to modify, share, and use, Free to modify, share, and use commercially. The filter is based on the Creative Commons licensing system.
  • NY Public Library Digital Gallery (some restrictions may apply): Provides free and open access to over 800,000 images digitized from the New York Public Library's vast collections, including illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints, photographs.
  • U.S. Government Photos and Images: Some of these photos are in the public domain or U.S. government works. Both groups may be used without permission or fee. However, some images may be protected by license or copyright. Prior to us, read the disclaimers on each site.
  • Artstor Images for Academic Publishing: Makes available publication-quality images for use in scholarly publications free of charge.
  • 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.

Open Video Resources

  • Wikipedia Commons: A media file repository for public domain and freely-licensed educational media content (images, sound and video clips).
  • Moving Image Archive: Offers permanent access for researchers, historians, scholars, people with disabilities, and the general public to a vast diversity historical collections that exist in digital format.
  • The Open Video Project: One may browse all the videos on Vimeo that have a Creative Commons license.

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.
  • OER Dynamic Search Engine
  • Connexions: An open space to share and freely adapt educational materials such as courses, books, and reports.
  • 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 Courseware 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

  • Academic Earth: Offers courses in art & design, business, engineering, humanities, medicine and healthcare, science & math, and social science. Cull course materials from more than a dozen highly regarded universities including Johns Hopkins, MIT, and Stanford. Choose from 750 online courses and 8,500 online lectures.
  • Coursera: Contains over 700 courses from 110 partners, many of which are global. Search for a course by language or category. Health & society, humanities, and social sciences are well represented topic areas.
  • YouTube EDU: Enables you to enliven your classroom using video lessons or lectures from places like Khan Academy, Stanford, and TED-Ed. Search and browse by grade level or topic. There is even a University channel.
  • 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.
  • Berkeley Webcast: Features video and audio content from UC Berkeley. It is searchable by department or semester beginning in the fall of 2008. Watch or listen on the UC Berkeley site, YouTube, or iTunes U.
  • 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.
  • Notre Dame OpenCourseWare: Search for a Notre Dame course by area of study or review the complete list of around 50 classes that were recorded from the fall of 2005 to the spring of 2013.
  • 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.
  • Tufts OpenCourseWare: Features content from 7 different Tufts schools including their arts & sciences, engineering, medical, and dental schools. Find syllabi, course calendars, labs, lectures, assignments, projects, exams, and more.

Finding Digitized Open Access/Public Domain Books and More

  • Digital Public Library of America (DPLA): Envisioned as a national digital library for the United States. It has begun to make freely accessible the digital content of libraries, archives, museums, and historical societies. It is a distributed effort comprised of records contributed from various institutions. Each record links to the original object in the content provider’s website. Linked items include a diversity of formats: text, image, sound, and moving image.
  • Google Books: Over 15,000,000 books and magazine issues may be searched in Google Books. Even materials that are not readable full text are nonetheless searchable. Some texts (pre-1923) may be read in their entirety; while others may be read across a limited number of pages (20% of the book) in 'preview' mode and some are only viewable in snippet view.
  • HathiTrust Diital Library: Over 8.7 million scanned items, all described by precise metadata, are currently in the HathiTrust database. About 75% of the items in the HathiTrust catalog are copyrighted; the remainder are in the public domain and may be freely used. The copyrighted items are generally inaccessible, even to institutions associated with the project. About half of the catalog's items are in English, although 400 languages are represented.
  • Europeana: A digital library, archive, and museum. It serves as an interface to books and other textual material, paintings and other images, films, and objects. More than 2,000 European institutions contribute.
  • WorldCat: A mega-library catalog containing more than 100 million records contributed by 20,000 libraries around the world. It contains full bibliographic descriptions and cataloging information for books, serials, manuscripts, sound recordings, audiovisual materials, maps, music scores, and digital materials.

Tools to Support the Creation, Delivery, and Use of OERs

  • WikiEducator: A collaborative community charged with the planning and development of free, open educational resources for the world.
  • Sakai : A freely available, open source software suite, offering a feature-rich, technology solution for learning, teaching, research and collaboration.
  • Etudes: A non-profit, membership organization that fosters the development of open technology by offering an affordable, hosted, Learning Management System (LMS) that supports learning, teaching, research and collaboration.
  • Moodle: An Open Source software learning platform designed to provide educators, administrators and learners with a single, robust, secure and integrated system to create personalized learning environments.
  • OER Commons: A freely accessible online library that allows teachers and others to search and discover open educational resources (OER) and other freely available instructional materials.
  • Discovery Education: Transforms classrooms and inspires learning by providing high quality, dynamic, digital content to school districts large and small, rural and suburban and everything in between.
  • 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 different levels of Creative Commons licenses, so it is important to check which license a work has before copying it. These are explained on the following site:

You may see these icons (or vairations of these icons) as you search for open materials:


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