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SUBR Open Educational Resources Guide

The Open Educational Resource guide contains a curated list of repositories and aggregators used to locate OER to support teaching and learning at Southern University.

John B. Cade Librarians and Open Educational Resources Support

A central part of our roles as librarians is to help faculty members feel well-supported and thrive through the adopting/adapting process of open educational resources. This process provides a common foundation for what faculty want to achieve with their OER (Open Educational Resources) Course. In addition, librarians are often asked to locate OER as a part of their daily work. This work is usually supported through OER consultation meetings with faculty. The OER consultation process is like research consultations; complete the form below to schedule a consultation with a Library Liaison today.

If you have questions or need assistance, contact the library at (225)771-2604.


The most comprehensive definition of OER available today is provided by the Hewlett Foundation:

“Open Educational Resources are teaching, learning and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise – that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions.”[1]

Open Educational Resources (OER) examples include:

Full online courses


Curated digital collections


Assessment items




Audio and music

Learning simulations



The 5 R's of Openness

What does it mean for an educational resource to be "open"? The 5R Framework, proposed by David Wiley, defines the major characteristics of open content.

the right to make, own, and control copies of the content
the right to use the content in a wide range of ways (e.g., in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video)
the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language)
the right to combine the original or revised content with other open content to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)
the right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend)

*This material was created by David Wiley and published freely under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license at:

John B. Cade Library OER Learning Modules

For more information on Open Educational Resources, go to the John B. Cade Library Learning Modules by scanning the QR-Code below, or go directly to the site by

The OER Learning Modules feature seven modules providing users with the following:

  • Introduction to OER
  • The benefits of using OER
  • Understanding Creative Commons Licenses
  • The challenges and use of OER
  • Strategies for finding OER content
  • Considerations for evaluating OER
  • OER repositories and search tools

QR Code for Library Learning Modules

OER Electronic Book Collection

The Faculty OER Toolkit is an introductory guide to adapting and adopting OER. Included are definitions and examples, information about Creative Commons licensing, and tips on how to adapt and/or adopt OER for classroom use.

The Open Educational Resources Search Process

When starting a search for OER, it is best to begin in a place with a wide variety of options. The websites listed below each have a different focus, but they are good places to start if you are still deciding what to use for course resources.


There are four simple steps any instructor can take when looking for available content:

  1. First, identify keywords related to your course and its learning objectives.
  2. Search OER repositories and aggregators for any relevant resources.
  3. Review the resources you have located for fit, currency, accessibility, and other rubrics you deem necessary when judging teaching materials.
  4. Reflect on the materials you have found.
 Why is OER important for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion?

Open Educational Resources provide culturally relevant and responsible classroom materials in which all students see themselves reflected. Traditional textbooks, learning objects and literature are often presented from a single dominant viewpoint, and packaged for mass production across a wide range of educational markets. OER allows for inclusion of previously excluded voices, and students can be actively engaged in the learning process. Using student voices, experiencing, and viewpoints through open pedagogy leads to a more engaging learning environment. Beginning small with a few assignments, readings, or lessons can be a wonderful way to get started.

Start your search for Open Educational Resources using Federated Search Tools

SUNY’s Openly Available Sources Integrated Search (OASIS)

OASIS is a search tool that aims to make the discovery of open content easier by searching multiple sources for OER (Open Educational Resources) and other open content at once. OASIS currently searches for open content from 79 source types and contains approximately 330,000 records.


CloudSource OA

CloudSource OA is a curated collection of Open Access digital content from the world’s leading scholarly publishers, covering a wide array of subjects. Begin your search for Open Educational Resources by entering your topic in the Cloud Source OA box below. You can search by Subject, Abstract, Author, DOI, Field of Study, and more. Open Access Content found in Cloud Source OA include: open journal articles, dissertations, reports, data sets in addition to other formats. Click in the search box below to begin your search.


General OER Search Tools

  • OpenStax publishes high-quality, peer-reviewed, openly licensed college textbooks that are free online and low-cost in print.
  • The Open Textbook Library is an excellent resource for finding open textbooks. This is the place to start if you want a textbook and nothing more.
  • BCCampus Open Textbooks collects resources created, reviewed, or adopted by instructors at British Columbia universities. Materials can be filtered by Accessibility and whether they have been adopted by BCCampus courses, include ancillary materials, or have been reviewed by faculty.
  • Curated lists of OER, like the Iowa State University Library Guide to OER, can be useful for exploring a selection of open content in your subject area.
  • George Mason OER Metafinder The Mason OER Metafinder (MOM) links to open content, including open-access books and articles, documents in the public domain, and OER. Because of its extensive resources, we recommend starting your MOM search with only a selection of the “OER-specific sites” checked rather than all the materials it can include.
  • MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching) MERLOT is a project started in 1997 by the California State University system. The repository includes thousands of resources from members, including original content and links to resources found through other platforms.

Institutional Collections

Institutional repositories (IRs) are not just for sharing copies of research articles and student theses. They can also be used to store and share OER. Although not every college shares OER through their institutional repository, the colleges below do share collections of OER specific to their institution:

*The LOUIS OER Commons is a repository of open resources aligned with the Louisiana statewide common course catalog. This repository also facilitates the creation of OER by Louisiana educators.

OER By Course

Some colleges share information about which OER their instructors assign in courses. These lists can provide examples of what other instructors in your discipline have adopted and (if they have provided a review) what they think of their adopted resource.

Open Access Publishers and Repositories


Subject repositories are open access digital archives for research outputs within subject areas.

Some open educational resources are shared through subject-specific repositories. A few notable examples of this type, including available publishers that specialize in one discipline, are listed here.

CC-licensed Media
Open DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) Images

Nappy: Free high-resolution photos of black and brown people, licensed Creative Commons Zero (CC0)

PICNOI: Free photos of people of color; no attribution required, but can give credit by linking to the site

#WOCinTech Chat: Free photos of women and non-binary people of color working in the Tech field; licensed CC BY #WOCinTech Chat or

CreateHer Stock: Free and for fee stock photos of women of color; license varies

Redefining Women Icon Collection: Icons of women; License: Creative Commons Public Domain CC0 1.0

The Gender Spectrum Collection: Free stock photos of trans and non-binary people, licensed CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Open Ancillary Resources

OpenStax Hub

The OpenStax Community Hub on OER Commons is designed to support undergraduate and Advanced Placement® teaching and learning by collecting community generated resources related to OpenStax textbooks.  

PhET Interactive Simulations (PhET Sims)

PhET provides free, interactive, research-based science and mathematics simulations. These simulations cover topics taught in K-12 and higher education contexts, with primary coverage for Physics, Biology, Mathematics, Chemistry, and Earth Science.


MyOpenMath, “a free, open source, online course management system for mathematics and other quantitative fields,” is an exceptional example of a tool for sharing open ancillary materials.


The site now contains resources for thirteen subject areas and its content has been adopted for more than 150 courses. Each subject area in LibreTexts contains a mix of content such as texts, homework exercises, interactive applications, visualizations and simulations, laboratory experiments, and worksheets. Although the resource still leans toward the physical sciences, it also carries materials for mathematics and statistics.

See the LibreTexts advanced features list for more information about tools that have been implemented or are still in development. 

Lumen Learning Online Homework Manager

Lumen OHM is a customizable, interactive homework manager for mathematics courses. It provides support for courses in Prealgebra, Algebra, Precalculus, Calculus, Chemistry, Finite Math, Math for Liberal Arts, Statistics, and Trigonometry. Lumen Ohm costs $25 per student per course.

Rover by OpenStax

Rover is designed to help students master mathematical problems in an interactive interface. The tool automatically grades assignments and provides feedback to students as they complete problems. Rover costs $22 per student per course.

Evaluating OER (For Faculty)

Open Educational Resources may vary in quality, it is important for instructors to carefully evaluate them before posting them in their classroom. Although a standard checklist has been developed for this purpose, many of the criteria listed in this checklist can also be used to evaluate OERs. The criteria include:

  • Authority: Is it clear who developed and wrote the material? Are his and her qualifications for creating the material clearly stated?
  • Accuracy: Are there errors or omissions visible?
  • Objectivity: Is there any type of bias present?
  • Currency: Is the resource up-to-date and/or is a creation or update visible?
  • Coverage: Does it address the topic at hand sufficiently to add value to the class?

Suggested OER Evaluation Process

Consider taking these steps to evaluate OER or follow the process you typically use to evaluate textbooks and other course materials.

  1. Does this OER cover the content you would like to present to your students for this course and module?
  2. Is the content appropriate for your students? Is it too challenging? Need to be more challenging?
  3. How can you use the content? What are the restrictions and requirements outlined in the resource's license?
  4. Based on what is permissible, how do you plan to use the content? Can portions be remixed with other content or enhanced with supplemental material?
  5. How do the open resources you collect align with learning objectives and lessons?

Evaluation Rubrics & Checklists

ADA Compliance

Instructors planning to use OERs in their courses should also keep in mind that the OERs should comply with federal and state accessibility with Section 508 of the Americans with Disabilities Act.


Southern University and A & M College OER Guide" is licensed under CC BY 4.0