Open Educational Resources

"Open Educational Resources (OER) are any type of educational materials that are in the public domain or introduced with an open license. The nature of these open materials means that anyone can legally and freely copy, use, adapt, and re-share them. OER range from textbooks to curricula, syllabi, lecture notes, assignments, tests, projects, audio, video, and animation."


Why use OER?
  • Textbook Prices - Textbook prices continue to rise at a significant rate over tuition and fees and more than three times faster than inflation. Open Educational Resources are free of cost.
  • Unbridled Pedagogy - OER enables pedagogy that traditional textbooks do not. This enables instructors to stray from "disposable assignments" and instead invite students to become producers and communicators of knowledge. Think "contributing to Wikipedia instead of response essays." OU Modern Languages professor, Julie Ward, PhD, published Antología Abierta De Literatura Hispana, that is comprised of her students' writings. This textbook and Dr. Ward's method of instruction have been recognized for their innovation and are in use at other institutions.
  • Student and Institutional Performance - A multi-institutional study has shown that classes that employ OER have lower drop and withdrawal rates than those using traditional, costly textbooks keeping students on track to graduate. Relatedly, student performance in classes using OER has been shown to be the same as or marginally improved over that in which traditional textbooks were used.
  • Societal Benefit - Though difficult to prove, it is easy to imagine that decreasing students' debt while marginally increasing their performance might yield positive societal benefits.
Where can I find OER?

Try searching for OER through the collections and search engines below. 


OpenStax is a nonprofit initiative of Rice University whose mission is to minimize the most common barriers to education. Funded by philanthropic organizations, OpenStax publishes peer reviewed textbooks with high production value at no cost to end users.

Open Textbook Library

The Open Textbook Library is a collection curated by the Open Textbook Network. Its criteria for inclusion distinguish it from other OER collections. OER experts; librarians, faculty, and others with vested interests in higher education may nominate resources to be included in the collection if they meet the following criteria:

  • Has an open license that permits derivative works
  • Is a complete work published as a portable file
  • Is currently in use at multiple higher education institutes
  • Is an original work
OER Commons

The OER Commons is a public digital library of open educational resources run by the educational non-profit, the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education. It includes over 30,000 resources including textbooks, lesson plans, videos, syllabi, full courses, activities, and more. Many of the resources align to Common Core Standards, so this resource may be more useful for K-12 education.


The MERLOT system provides access to curated online learning and support materials and content creation tools, led by an international community of educators, learners, and researchers. MERLOT includes an ISBN search that helps you to find open educational resources similar to traditional textbooks.

Mason OER Metafinder

The Mason OER Metafinder is an OER search engine that searches for OER content across 21 resources.

Learn More

Content for this webpage has been derived from "Open Educational Resources" by OU Librariesand used here under a CC BY 4.0 International License.