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Open Educational Resources: Finding OER

OER Collections

Instructors can find OER in a variety of resources. Most OER organizations or collaborations have a database or central list of resources that faculty have added. Some databases also feature annotations or faculty feedback. Additionally, many disciplines have their own OER websites. The list below is not comprehensive but can instead be used as a starting point for faculty doing interdisciplinary work or work in any discipline. Remember that not all of the learning materials in these repositories and sources are OER for modifying but most of the content is freely available under Fair Use and/or with attribution.

General Education Search

Recorded Lectures & Video Tutorials Search

Open Textbook Search

Modular Course Components

OER and OCW Search Engines

OpenCourseware Repositories

The OpenCourseWare (OCW) movement began in the United States with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2002.  This movement is university driven, and is focused on making the educational course materials that have been created by faculty available outside of the institution.  The materials available vary by course, professor and even semester posed.  Materials can include syllabi,  written lectures, assignments, readings, videotaped lectures, and audio lectures.

This is not a complete list so we will update when possible.

Tips for Searching OER

Tips for Searching OER:

  1. Use the advanced searching feature if there is one. This will save you some time and limit your search.
  2. Start with broad terms (ex. disease instead of cancer) and then narrow.
  3. As you narrow, think about disciplinary language. Is there something else this topic might be referred to as?
  4. If you still aren't getting good results, try to start with the browsing feature (even if it's very broad). Sometimes the term your searching isn't used but you still know it would be under a broad subject like "humanities" or "writing".

Also, see below for an infograpic which visualize the process of searching for OER.
*Note: this infographic was adapted and modified from the University of Texas at Austin's original infographic. For more information, see their Center for Open Educational Resources and Language Learning website.

Infographic about seaching for open educational resources

Using Google to Find OER

Finding Open Images

There are many image resources on the web, so here are just a few approaches to help you find openly licensed images to use in your courses. 

  • Google Image Search – will help you find results from Flickr, Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, and general web pages
    • you can take advantage of the advanced image search, to refine your searching and to select a CC licensing you prefer in two ways..
    • Use the licensing filter
      1. Once you type in your search term, you will get an initial set of results
      2. you will have a list of filters on the top of the page, click on Search Tools
      3. use the licensing pull-down filter named Usage Rights to select the Creative Commons license you wish to search for. 
      Google search filters
    • Use the Google Advanced Search
      • at the bottom of the advanced search page, you can use the Usage Rights pull down to select the Creative Commons license you wish to search for.image of Google advanced search screen
    • Reminder – even though you filter, check on the actual image site to be sure of the CC licensing or user permissions.
  • Creative Commons Searchingthis is a gateway to search other sites (Google images, YouTube, Flickr..etc) for content that is openly licensed
    • you can search thirteen different sites through this search engine including , but only one at a time, you can't search across sites.  
  • Wikimedia CommonsThe Commons houses all of the media that is used in Wikipedia, as well as additional public domain and freely-licensed educational media.
    • The Commons does not provide an advanced search, everything on the site is either public domain or CC licensed.  You will have to check with each individual item you find to view the licensing.
    • http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page
  • Flickr - is to image sharing as YouTube is to video sharing. There is content from individuals as well as organizations like the Metropolitan Museum, of Art and the Library of Congress among others.
    • take advantage of the advanced image search, to refine your searching and to select a CC licensing you want to search for
      (last option on the advanced search page)
    • check out the Flickr Commons for public photo archives (http://www.flickr.com/commons)
    • reminder – even though you filter, check on the actual image to be sure of the CC licensing or user permissions
  • OpenClipart – all clipart in OpenClipart is in the public domain.
    • Browse by search, collection, or alphabetically by keyword.
    • All images can be downloaded in .SVG, .PDF, and .PNG (up to 2000px X 2000px) formats.
  • TheNounProject - The Noun Project is a collection of openly licensed icons.  Most icons can be downloaded as both .PNG or .SVG files.  All icons can be downloaded free of copyright for a small fee (usually a couple dollars), or free of charge under the terms of a Creative Commons license.  Note that when an icon is downloaded free of charge, the illustrator's name is in the lower left corner of the image.  This can be cropped off, but attribution must still be given in an appropriate place near the use of the image. 

This is not a complete list so we will update when possible.

Discipline-Specific Resources

Math

Humanities

Sciences

Education

Social Sciences

Nursing and Allied Health