10 OER resources every educator should know about

6. OER Commons

What: Full university courses, complete with readings, videos of lectures, homework assignments, and lecture notes; interactive mini-lessons and simulations about a specific topic, such as math or physics; adaptations of existing open work; and electronic textbooks that are peer-reviewed and frequently updated.

About: ISKME created OER Commons, publicly launched in February 2007, to support and build a knowledge base around the use and reuse of open educational resources (OER). As a network for teaching and learning materials, the site offers engagement with resources for curriculum alignment, quality evaluation, social bookmarking, tagging, rating, and reviewing.

OER Commons has forged alliances with over 500 major content partners and users can search across over 42,000 vetted and fully-indexed OER. Since these resources are ‘open,’ they are available for educational use, and many hold Creative Commons licenses that allow them to be repurposed, modified and adapted for a diverse array of local contexts.

How it works:

7. Open Course Library (OCL)

What: A collection of high quality, free-to-use courses that you can download and use for teaching. All content is stored in Google docs for easy access and downloading.

About: OCL is a collection of shareable course materials, including syllabi, course activities, readings, and assessments designed by teams of college faculty, instructional designers, librarians, and other experts. Some OER are paired with low cost textbooks ($30 or less), but many of the courses can be taught at no cost. Unless otherwise noted, all materials are shared under a Creative Commons (CC BY) license. OCL courses and materials have also undergone testing for accessibility and have been designed using the industry-standard Quality Matters (QM) rubric for assessing the quality of online courses.

How it works:

8. OpenStax CNX

What: View and share free educational material in small modules that can be organized as courses, books, reports or other academic assignments.

About: Frustrated by the limitations of traditional textbooks and courses, Dr. Richard Baraniuk founded OpenStax (then Connexions) in 1999 at Rice University to provide authors and learners with an open space where they can share and freely adapt educational materials such as courses, books, and reports. Today, OpenStax CNX is a non-profit digital ecosystem serving millions of users per month. There are thousands of learning objects, called pages, that are organized into textbook-style books in a host of disciplines, all easily accessible online and downloadable to almost any device, anywhere, anytime. Everything is available for free thanks to support from Rice University and philanthropic organizations.

How it works:

9. Saylor Academy

What: Free online courses and multimedia available to both students and faculty.

About: In 2008, Saylor Academy began exploring OER to develop its catalog of over 300 free, self-paced, online courses. In late 2012, it added the first college credit pathway courses. The Academy hired credentialed educators to design courses and to locate, vet, and organize OER and other materials into a structured and intuitive format. Many courses have additionally undergone a peer review process by panels of consultants. While the Academy does not confer degrees, it offers verifiable certificates and continues to make strides in connecting our courses to college credit.

How it works:

10. The Open Education Consortium

What: Not just a repository of courseware, the Consortium offers its members the tools and resources to develop their own content.

About: The Open Education Consortium is a worldwide community of hundreds of higher education institutions and associated organizations committed to advancing open education globally. The Open Education Consortium realizes change by leveraging its sources of expert opinion, its global network and its position as the principal voice of open education.

How it works:

Additional resources: The resources, though not specifically repositories, can help you navigate how to access OER, understand the value of OER, connect you to OER communities, present the latest OER news and much more:

The California Network for Higher Education Access

OER Blog