Open Educational Resources

What Are They and Where to Find Them

Open educational resources (OER) are freely available under a Creative Commons license for faculty and students to be able to retain, reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute the content. The benefits of using OER include reducing the cost of course materials, adapting course materials to meet specific needs, and practicing active and inclusive pedagogy.

OER take many different forms, including syllabi, course modules, textbooks, videos, tests, notes, lab manuals, journal articles, and assessment tools. Authored primarily by faculty, they originate in colleges, universities, libraries, government agencies, and publishers.

To find Open Educational Resources for your courses:

  1. Consult with your liaison librarian.
  2. Visit the Library’s subject guide on OER for a general overview and links to search engines.
  3. Search for relevant content:
    • The VIVA Faculty Textbook Portal contains 200,000 titles form VIVA’s shared library collections of low-cost or no-cost options for students.
    • OER Commons includes links to OER and guidance in creating your own.
    • MERLOT also includes content and tools.
    • OASIS currently searches content from 64 different sources.
    • The Mason OER Metafinder searches across a wide range of material types.
  4. For textbook-specific content, try:
    • The Open Textbook Library includes open textbooks and reviews from faculty across the nation.
    • OpenStax has a selection of textbooks aimed toward large enrollment courses.
    • BCcampus Open Education offers a collection of hundreds of open textbooks created by faculty at institutions in British Columbia.

You’ll see duplicate hits in many of these engines, but each one has a different approach to discovering and presenting information, and most pull in at least some unique content. If you need help using OER in your class or creating your own OER, contact UVA Library’s Director of Faculty Programs Judith Thomas for assistance or a referral.

Compensation will soon be available for textbook reviewers. As of spring 2020, a $200.00 stipend will be available for reviewers of textbooks from The Open Textbook Library. Please contact Judith Thomas for questions about this program.


This information was put together by the UVA Library team and can also be downloaded below.

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