Complements Shasta College FLEX Day presentation, Aug 17, 2012, Heather Wylie, Instructor
Related page: **Accessible College Textbooks**

What are open educational resources?

According to a frequently cited report by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, open educational resources (OERs) are “teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use or re-purposing by others.”

OERs comprise a variety of educational media that is freely available for instructors and students to use, share, adapt, and repurpose. OERs include, but aren't limited to:
  • Learning content
    • textbooks, reports, articles, and other documents
    • video and audio clips
    • course syllabi, lesson plans, bibliographies, lecture notes, quizzes, and assignments
  • Software and operating systems
    • course management systems
    • desktop publishing programs
    • video editing programs
    • webpage editing programs
  • Intellectual property and copyright licenses


Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources (2009) is a joint effort by the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, the League for Innovation in the Community College and other community colleges and university partners to develop and use open educational resources (OER) in community college courses. Read more about the Consortium for OER in the Jan/Feb 2009 issue of Educause Review. The Consortium posts a list of free and open textbooksthat are especially appropriate for community college curricula.

Some OER collections

  • Connexions is an "environment for collaboratively developing, freely sharing, and rapidly publishing scholarly content on the Web. The Content Commons contains educational materials for everyone," that is, K-12, college, and professional self-study. The resources are organized into small modules. All content is free for use and adaptation. Sponsored by Rice University and The Hewlett Foundation.
  • Curriki is an "online environment created to support the development and free distribution of world-class educational materials to anyone who needs them. Our name is a play on the combination of 'curriculum' and 'wiki' which is the technology we're using to make education universally accessible." Founded by Scott G. McNealy, former director of Sun Microsystems.
  • MERLOTis a "free and open online community of resources designed primarily for faculty, staff and students of higher education from around the world to share their learning materials and pedagogy." MERLOT resources are developed and cataloged for higher education. Resources in this collection are peer reviewed.
    • MERLOT's strategic goal is "to improve the effectiveness of teaching and learning by increasing the quantity and quality of peer reviewed online learning
      materials that can be easily incorporated into faculty designed courses."
  • OER Commons is a collection of resources maintained by the Institute for the Study of Management in Education (**ISKME**). The OER Commons includes
    • 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.
    • Electronic textbooks that are peer-reviewed and frequently updated.
    • Lesson plans, worksheets, and activities that are aligned with state standards (K-12)
  • OpenCoursewareConsortium comprised of OpenCourseWare(OCW) courses, that is a free and open digital publication of "high quality university‐level educational materials." These materials are organized as courses, and often include course planning materials and evaluation tools as well as thematic content. OCW Consortium members from all over the world are publishing OCW in a variety of formats, subjects, and languages. Sponsored by The Hewlett Foundation
  • OpenLearn website gives free access to Open University (United Kingdgom) course materials.
  • OpenStax College is a nonprofit organization committed to improving student access to quality learning materials. All texts are "developed and peer-reviewed by educators to ensure they are readable, accurate, and meet the scope and sequence requirements of your course." They are also free of charge, thanks to sponsorship of foundations such William and Flora Hewlett and Bill and Melinda Gates.
  • Additional examples:
  • Discipline Specific Resources:

Focus on Textbooks

  • College Open Textbooks Community Blog
  • Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources list of free and open textbooksthat may be appropriate for community college curricula.
  • Community College Open Textbook Collaborative (2010) joins colleges, government agenices, and education non-profit organizations. Its charge is to provide "training for instructors adopting open resources, peer reviews of open textbooks, an online professinal network, and support for authors." The Collaborative is funded by the //Hewlett Foundation//. The Collaborative identifies and reviews open textbooks. The texts are not stored on the site, but readers are directed to textbooks that are "worth a look."
    • The Collaborative maintains that an "open textbook" must be:
      • free, or very nearly free
      • easy to use, acquire, and share
      • editable, so that instructors may customize content
      • compatible across platforms
      • printable
      • accessible so that it works with adaptive technology

  • Dynamic Books. Interactive textbooks from Macmillan that are easily integrated into course management systems. This is a proprietary, not an open, resource.

  • Global Text Project , with plans to create a free library of 1,000 electronic texts for students in developing world. The library will cover the range of topics typically encountered in a university’s undergraduate programs. The global academic community and global corporations will be engaged in creating and sponsoring this library. Funded by The Jacobs Foundation.

  • Google Books Google founders began book digitization efforts in 2002. Google is currently collaborating with several major libraries to include their collections in Google Books and, like a card catalog, show users information about the book, and in many cases, a few snippets – a few sentences to display the search term in context. Google Books does contain complete texts for some titles where copyright infringement isn't an issue. But, more commonly, only sections or samples of books are included.

Legislation and Advocacy

Shasta College Library Online Resources (available 24/7)

Streaming Video (partial list)

Books in electronic format (partial list) from //eBook Collection from EBSCO//

Journal Databases: EBSCO family of databases
    • Provides access to current events, research, and Government resources
    • Databases may be searched individually or simultaneously
    • Many publications are available in full text
    • Persistent links to book chapters and full text articles may be placed in Shasta College online classes and web-enhanced classes.
    • EBSCO's //Academic Search Premier// - is an academic, multidisciplinary database that covers a variety of subjects in over 4,000 academic publications. //ERIC// is an educational resources database. The two may be searched simultaneously. Sample of articles from EBSCO's Academic Search Premierdatabase (partial list only):
      • Baker, J., Thierstein, J., Fletcher, K., Kaur, M., & Emmons, J. (2009). Open Textbook Proof-of-Concept via Connexions. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 10(5), Retrieved from EBSCO ERIC database.
      • Baraniuk, R., & Burrus, C. (2008). Global Warming Toward Open Educational Resources. Communications of the ACM, 51(9), 30-32. Retrieved 17 July 2010 from EBSCO Academic Search Premier database.
      • Harley, D., Lawrence, S., Acord, S., Dixson, J., & University of California, B. (2009). Affordable and Open Textbooks: An Exploratory Study of Faculty Attitudes. Research & Occasional Paper Series. CSHE.9.09. Center for Studies in Higher Education, Retrieved from EBSCO ERIC database.
      • Levy, P. (2009). Curriki and the Open Educational Resources Movement Please Pass the Curriculum!. MultiMedia & //Internet@Schools//, 16(3), 8-12. Retrieved 17 July 2010 from EBSCO Academic Search Premier database.
      • Martinez, M. (2010). How a New Generation of Teachers Will Change Schools. Phi Delta Kappan, 91(7), 74-75. Retrieved 17 July 2010 from EBSCO Academic Search Premier database.
        Lane, A. (2009). The Impact of Openness on Bridging Educational Digital Divides. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 10(5), Retrieved 17 July 2010 from ERIC database.
      • van der Baaren, J., Schuwer, R., Kirschner, P., & Hendriks, M. (2008). Finding Your Way into an Open Online Learning Community. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, Retrieved 17 July 2010 from ERIC database.

Proquest National Newspapers
    • Provides access to five national newspapers (Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post)
    • Great for current information
    • Four of the newspapers are available full text for about the past ten years. The New York Times is available back to 1851!
    • Sample of articles from Proquest National Newspapers:
      • Farrell, M.B.. (2009, June 11). Schwarzenegger's push for digital textbooks. The Christian Science Monitor,p. 7. Retrieved July 18, 2010, from ProQuest National Newspapers.
      • Hafner, K. (2010, April 18). An Open Mind :[Education Life Supplement]. New York Times (Late Edition (east Coast)), p. ED.16. Retrieved July 18, 2010 from ProQuest National Newspapers.
      • Knutson, R. & Fowler, G.A. (2009, July 16). Book Smarts? E-Texts Receive Mixed Reviews From Students. Wall Street Journal, p. D.1. Retrieved July 18, 2010, from ProQuest National Newspapers.
      • Mehta, S. (2009, August 12). CALIFORNIA; Free online textbooks are now available; Critics say the materials fall short of standards and the real costs of using them weren't considered. Los Angeles Times,p. A.7. Retrieved July 18, 2010 from ProQuest National Newspapers.
      • New chapter in textbooks. (2009, May 23). Los Angeles Times,p. A.42. Retrieved July 18, 2010, from ProQuest National Newspapers.
      • Surdin, A. (2009, October 19). In some classrooms, books are a thing of the past; Digital texts gaining favor, but critics question quality. The Washington Post,p. A.3. Retrieved July 18, 2010, from ProQuest National Newspapers.
      • Ashlee V. (2010, August 1). $200 Text Vs. Free. You Do The Math.New York Times,p. BU.3. Retrieved August 2, 2010, from ProQuest National Newspapers.
CQ Researcher
  • In-depth, non-biased reports on political and social issues
  • All publications are available in full text
  • Reports include an overview, background, pro and con section, chronology and more
  • Good for overview and historical information
  • Potentially relevant CQ Researcher reports:
    • Future of Books (2010)
    • Rising College Costs (2003)
    • Student Debt (2011)

Directory of Open Access Journals

Internet Articles

Ask a Librarian:

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