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Open Educational Resources

Top resources within each category are at the top and starred.

Information about OER

These resources explain the importance of OER and ideas to consider when starting to use them. More information on editing, creating and hosting OER is available at Creating OER. If you want to see all Augustana OER Resources, you can access the Augustana OER Resources folder.

*The Review Project - Open Education Group

The Open Education Group discusses several research projects related to OER and their effect on students.

*Open Educational Resources: Background Reading - CARLI

CARLI provides a list of readings to look over when learning more about what to thinking about when using OER.

*Kirkwood Community College LibGuide on OER

This resource is aimed at helping faculty use OER,  and includes a lot of resources about why and how to use, edit and create OER. It is up to date, well organized and easy to use. There is also a summary of an interview with Kate Hess, a librarian at Kirkwood about how their library helps faculty use OER.

University of Illinois OER LibGuide

Includes resources on how to find and use OER.

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville OER LibGuide

This doesn’t have as many educational resources as the Kirkwood, but they do have a lot of links to resources where instructors can find OER and other free resources to use in their courses.

Places to find OER

These sites are good places to start looking for resources. Many more resources are available at Places to Find OER and Discipline Specific OER.

*University of Minnesota Open Textbook Library

They include links to textbooks from multiple sources and allow instructors to post reviews of them. Textbooks often have multiple formats available, and links back to the publisher make it easy to see if there are other resources connected to the textbooks. It also includes allows instructors to review books, which it posts. This is one of the best places to start looking for open textbooks.

*BC Campus OpenEd

British Columbia has an open education project that encourages educators to review, use and create open educational resources. Many of the resources are geared towards Canada. However, they make it easy to find and use textbooks and provide other information about using OER.


The California State University system created this site, which offers many OER. They do not focus on textbooks, but other resources (including multimedia ones) that can be added to a class. It is easy to search for specific types of resources by subject, and members can add resources. (Membership is free.)

Open Stax

This is run out of Rice University. They tend to have intro level textbooks that instructors can use and adapt. They have textbooks available in web and PDF versions for free, and link to ways instructors and students can connect with OER, and links to companies that use different textbooks. They provide intro level textbooks that can be used or adapted, and their textbooks are used often used by other programs. Once you login as an instructor (and they have verified your identity) you can access slides, a testbank, and other resources.

OER Commons

This resources allows instructors to find OER, as well as create their own or build lessons based on resources available through the site. They have both k-12 and higher ed resources, and there are groups on the site geared towards specific goals and regions.

College Open Textbooks

This site is by a group of of 20+ organizations that are involved in open education (schools, organizations, companies). They list open text books available and include reviews of some of them. The reviews can be pretty critical and seem to focus on what situations the books are appropriate for.  

Listservs and News

*Community College Consortium

This group’s archives are public, so you don’t have to join to see what people are discussing related to OER in a community college setting. This may be the most active listerv (though many people post the same thing to both.) People tend to get a lot of answers to questions about resources on specific subjects.


This listerv features a fair amount of people asking questions about specific subject resources or online programs. Both this and the other Listerv are good places to see the nitty-gritty that goes along with OER.

OER Digest

This Listserv has updates on articles about OER, laws related to it, companies launching OER platforms and upcoming webinars.

Rebus Community


This blog provides information about learning technology and OER - many of the posts cover news related to both of them, and point to both projects that some to be working, and some that are having problems.

Study Skills for OER and Online Resources

* Reading on Electronic Devices

This video tutorial takes a critical look at using electronic readers, including some of the drawbacks of using online materials, but it mostly focuses on study techniques students can use with reading online materials.The video is 34 minutes long, but the document allows users to easily skip around.

Online Reading Comprehension

Lumen Learning hosts this article from LearnNc about how reading online is different than reading print, with a few tips. It is part of an online book about reading in the subject areas.

Using PDFs

This pair of 4-5 minute Youtube videos shows how students can use Preview and Adobe Reader to read and annotate textbooks. They are from 2013, but the information is still mostly current, and it is geared specifically to college students reading PDFs.

Getting to Know a Digital Textbook

One professor shares their lesson plan for an activity they use with students to learn how to use a digital textbook. The plans are from 2011, but a similar activity may be a good idea for even print textbooks to show students how they should be using materials to learn for that class.

Legal/Ethical Considerations

*About the Licenses - Creative Commons

Creative Commons license allow creators to share their work online, while retaining some of the rights to how their materials can be used. This page explains the different options under Creative Commons.You can also use their Choose a License feature, where you answer some questions, and then have a Creative Commons License, including code that you can add to a website to allow computers to search for that content by license.

*OER Accessibility Toolkit

This resource, by the University of British Columbia, provides best practices for ensuring OER are accessible for all students.

*CARE Framework

This site promotes OER stewardship, encouraging organizations to using OER to contribute to the OER community, attribute where work comes from,  release resources to users in forms they can be download or print, and empower learners to adapt and use their materials.

Student Data Harvested by Education Publishers:

They haz more than you think

This blog post on Medium raises concerns about student privacy when textbook rentals, homework programs and other online tools, especially those not approved by the school are used and students must accept end user licensing agreements to use them. A follow up post looks more closely at the terms students must sign for one company, and what rights to privacy they give up.

Organizations that promote OER

SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition)

This coalition has resources about promoting open information (including open data and open journals) and they include their own resources about the benefits of OER. There is also an email listerv for librarians to help each other find and use OER resources.

Student PIRGs: Make Textbooks Affordable

Student PIRGS (public interest research groups) is a group that encourages college students to research and promote issues that matter to them, including raising awareness of textbook costs and looking for ways to lower them, and how students can get involved at the campus, state and national levels to encourage policies they support.

OER Platforms/Alternative Textbook Sources

Lumen Learning

Offers Candela (online textbooks $10 per student - faculty can make changes to course material they provide.) Also offers Waymaker, which allows instructors to better track and message students based on progress on pre-tests and quizzes. They also offer OHA (online homework manager) for math courses.


This platform allows instructors to embed content into the textbooks (videos, practice questions, discussion threads) and keeps track of student performance and how students perform on parts of the class. Instructors can edit course content. It starts at $25 per student, but may go up if instructors include non-OER content.

Top Hat

The chemistry department is using this for organic chemistry. Some textbooks and assignments are free; premium textbooks and other options cost more. Instructors can adapt textbook content to fit their classes.


This is another company that provides interactive course elements for open textbooks. It looks like students may have the option to take notes on the texts and faculty can edit and embed things in them. The average cost is $35 per student. (Their library is available here: )

Flat World

They are focused on fair pricing more than open educational resources - they have textbooks available for around $30 online, $55 for print and online access. Instructors can choose to edit the textbook their students use, and the printing is on demand.


This looks very different from other OER platforms where the emphasis is on searching for materials - their goal is to be the “Amazon of OER” with easily searchable content from other sources available. Instructors can search for content, organize it and put it in a format easy to share with Moddle or as a PDF with clickable links. Right now pricing is only by institution, but courses with preselected content (that instructors can change) that would be student paid are in the works. They can add library content as well, so we could load our EBSCO databases and JSTOR in to search those as well.