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OERs - Open Educational Resources: OER ShopTalk


Open Education and Open Educational Resources (OER)

The Open definition at Open Knowledge



This page is a one-stop shop to adopting OERs.

Related concepts:

"Knowledge Equity" "Open Education" "Open Pedagogy" "Open Knowledge" "Open Works" "Zero cost textbook course" vs. "automatic textbook billing"



What is open?

What is OER?

OA and OER, what's the difference?

What makes an OER a good OER?

Where to find good OERs?

I found a good OER, now what?

Licenses? Sharing? Storing?

Guidelines for adopting OER?

Tools for adapting OER?

Tools for creating?

Promoting OER?

OER vs. automated textbook billing?

Student reactions?

OER in Canvas

OER Basics is an openly available Canvas course.

Breaking Barriers through Open Content Creation in Canvas Instructure On Demand Webinar.


OER choices








OER image open book outstretched arms and hands image

Steps to Adopt, Adapt, Create

Digitally Established...

Organizations that support other organizations

Organizations that support other organizations implementing OER


DOERS3 image

Driving OER Sustainability for Student Success (DOERS3) Collaborative was launched in 2018. It is a group of 30 public higher education systems and statewide organizations that helps member organizations implement, scale, and sustain OER. There are several state university system members, while AAC&U, for example, is an affiliate member.


OEN image 

From the Center for Open Education University of Minnesota, the Open Education Network (OEN) is a community of over 300 colleges and universities. Get to the Open Textbook Library here, sign up for the Open Textbook Library Quarterly Newsletter, register for public events, attend Open Pedagogy Help Sessions, browse the OEN blog, and much more. F A Q



SPARC image

The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) is an OER advocacy group with 250 libraries and academic organizations in US and Canada with affiliates in Africa, Europe, Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, and Saudi Arabia.

Open Pilot Textbook program info. The Affordable College Textbook Act (H.R.1811/S.978) info.


Open Syllabus image

Open Syllabus was founded at The American Assembly, a public policy institute associated with Columbia University. It has been independent since 2019. Tracks OER metrics.



Affordable Learning PA image "First organized in 2017, Affordable Learning Pennsylvania (ALPA) is a community of practice for academic libraries and higher education partners to advance textbook affordability for our students through education, collaboration, and advocacy at the state level to support open education in Pennsylvania."


AAC&U image "The American Association of Colleges and Universities is a global membership organization dedicated to advancing the vitality and democratic purposes of undergraduate liberal education."


AAC&U Making the Case for Open Educational Resources w/ links to the webinar, presentation slides, publication, infographics

AAC&U Leveraging Open Educational Resources to Advance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion "... level the academic playing field, narrow performance gaps, and reduce failure and withdrawal rates." "... intentional connections are seldom made between OER initiatives and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, despite the similar outcomes sought by both."


Student Government Resource Center image Student Government Resource Center. "The high cost of textbooks has become a serious obstacle to the affordability of a college education." "Fortunately, we have solutions to this problem, most notably in the form of 'open textbooks'— high-quality books that are available online for free...." The Student Government Resource Center is a sponsor of the Open Textbook Alliance. The Open Textbook Alliance is a nationwide coalition of student government leaders who are working to bring open textbooks to college campuses.


Open Textbook Alliance image

The Open Textbook Alliance is a nationwide project of the Student PIRGs (Student Public Interest Research Groups) uniting student leaders who are working to bring open textbooks to college campuses and protect students in the textbook market.



OER sites

OER sites that are referred to over and over again

Open Education Network (OEN) image with over 1,250 open textbooks. From the Center for Open Education at University of Minnesota.


openstax image based at Rice University. 70% of higher education institutions in US use OpenStax. “Knowledge should be free” Prof. Richard Baraniuk, Founder of OpenStax.


OER COMMONS logo  from ISKME, the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education. ISKE was established in 2002 by Lisa Petrides, formerly a professor in Teachers College at Columbia University and started researching and training about OER in 2004 with support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. OER Commons was launched in 2007. Site is great for learning about Creative Commons licenses just by browsing the titles. The filters on the search screen are a good example of how you will find many different OER material types, not just books. 

POWER Library is the online portal to the resources that Pennsylvania libraries offer to all citizens of the Commonwealth, providing 24/7 access to newspapers, magazines, journals, historical documents and photos, online databases, and eBooks.


Pressbooks Directory logo "Pressbooks Directory is a free, searchable catalog that includes 5,582 open access books published by 155 organizations and networks using Pressbooks. It's easy to copy, revise, remix, and redistribute any openly licensed content found here using Pressbooks' publishing platform. Nearly all books are highly accessible, and many include interactive H5P learning activities to engage learners."


Open Research Library image Open Research Library platform / and Knowledge Unlatchted / advanced search in Open Research Library (You can limit by license type.)


OER open education and the creative commons licenses


OER, Open Education, licenses, and the 5Rs

Creative Commons image

CC Licenses


Fotor infographic of Crearive Commons licenses


More... Creative Commons Open Education / OER

SPARC image

Open Education

"Open Education encompasses resources, tools and practices that are free of legal, financial and technical barriers and can be fully used, shared and adapted in the digital environment. Open Education maximizes the power of the Internet to make education more affordable, accessible and effective."


With the “5R’s” users are free to Retain, Reuse, Revise, Remix and Redistribute.

  1. Reuse – the right to reuse the content in its unaltered / verbatim form (e.g., make a digital copy of the content)
  2. Revise – the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language or modify a learning activity)
  3. Remix – the right to combine the original or revised content with other content to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)
  4. Redistribute – the right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend)
  5. Retain – the right to make, own and control copies of the content.


 OER Commons image

OER COMMONS / ISKME’s Open Educational Practice Rubric

  1. Understand the Uses and Benefits of OER
  2. Find and Curate OER
  3. Build OER Curriculum and Courseware
  4. Evaluate and Align OER
  5. Assess and Apply Open Licenses
  6. Share and Collaborate on OER
  7. Advocate for OER and Open Educational Practice

CC BY-SA. Simmons, M. (2017). ISKME's Open Educational Practice Rubric. OER Commons.


DOERS3 image

OER in Tenure and Promotion

OER toward Capstone, Thesis, or Dissertation?


OERs in Canvas Commons (Instructure)

Canvas Instructure Commons button

Knowing when you've found an OER

Knowing when you've found an OER to adopt (evaluating OERs)

1. You see the same title at various OER sites / or find it already listed on a library research guide.

2. You know it was peer-reviewed. (Rubric for an open textbook review).

3. The Creative Commons license matches your use, whether you will want to/need to remix it, etc.




Other types of open and related topics

1. open access journals, open access books

Open Scholarly Communication / Open Access in Scholarly Communications (The next time you read an open access article look for the license. Does it have a Creative Commons license? Which one?) Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research, aka The Nelson Memo, "to make publications and their supporting data resulting from federally funded research publicly accessible without an embargo on their free and public release." 


2. Public Domain

a) books that are public domain and online an Open Syllabus project

b) Standard Ebooks 

c) Hathi Trust


3. Open & Free courses / course materials; for example,


4. Other ways to find open course materials

image of Google Scholar advanced search by usage rights


5. Automated textbook billing

Other textbook initiatives → →  Inclusive

myths vs. facts

6. U.S. Department of Education Open Pilot Textbook Program


More, more, and more for OER


Merlot (California State University) browse materials or advanced material search

SUNY Milne Open Textbooks authored and peer-reviewed by SUNY facutly and staff

OASIS Openly Available Sources Integrated Search at SUNY Geneseo

Oregon State University Open Educational Resources 

Univ. of Minn. Online Textbook Library

UC Davis LibreTexts

The George Mason OER Metafinder (MOM), Real-time federated search for OER content 

PALNI (Indiana) Toolkit Affordable Learning LibGuideZero-Cost Textbook Adoption LibGuide, and PALSave Promo Sheet 

MIT Open Learning Library 

Affordable Learning Georgia Join the Transformation GALILEO Open Learning Materials search

Open Education Global formerly Open Education Consortium CCCOER Open Education Resources / What is Open Education? 

Lumen Learning courseware with ready-to-adopt open educational resources (OER) include text, videos, simulations, self-checks, and other interactives.

WebAssign with Open Educational Resources from Cengage An OpenStax Ally

sites on the other pages of this guide

Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Open Access ebooks

Using Open Educational Resources to Promote Social Justice
/edited by CJ Ivory and Angela Pashia

"Using Open Educational Resources to Promote Social Justice explores the opportunities and challenges of moving the discussion about open educational resources (OER) beyond affordability to address structural inequities found throughout academia and scholarly publishing. OER have the potential to celebrate research done by marginalized populations in the context of their own communities, to amplify the voices of those who have the knowledge but have been excluded from formal prestige networks, and to engage students as co-creators of learning content that is relevant and respectful of their cultural contexts."


Intersections of Open Educational Resources and Information Literacy
/edited by Mary Ann Cullen and Elizabeth Dill


Open Educational Resources: CLIPP #45
/compiled and written by Mary Francis



Scholarly Communication Librarianship and Open Knowledge

Librarians are at the forefront of Open Education initiatives... what are we reading?!


Maria Bonn, Josh Bolick, and Will Cross, Editors

Association of College and Research Libraries, 2023

PART II. Scholarly Communication and Open Culture

2.3 Open Education

2.3.1 Introduction to Open Education A SHORT HISTORY OF OER (PAGE 229) BENEFITS, BARRIERS, AND MYTHS

2.3.2 Libraries and Open Educational Resources HOW LIBRARIES SUPPORT OPEN EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES (PAGE 273)



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