Open Educational Resources: OER for Educators

This guide provides information and resources for users interested in learning about open educational resources (OER).

Open Education Movement Documents

Below are several resources that might be useful to an instructor who would like to know more about open education and how to teach with open education resources.

An Open Education Reader

This is a collection of readings on open education with commentary created for a gradaute course at Brigham Young University and edited by David Wiley. It includes chapters on intellectual property, free software, open source, open content, open textbooks, and research in open education.

The Open Education Handbook

This handbook is a deliverable of the LinkedUp Project, and is a primer on the open education ecosystem, information about useful tools and software, references, a glossary of commonly used terms, case studies and examples, and answers to frequently asked questions. 

An Examination of the Lived Experience of Eleven Educators Who Have Implemented Open Textbooks in Their Teaching

A masters thesis by Danielle Paradis out of Royal Roads University, Victoria, BC. Of particular interest is Chapter 4, Results. It includes quotes from teachers on how they found out about OERs, their experience teaching with them, and motivations behind use.  

Additional Readings

There are a number of white papers, reports, and peer-reviewed scholarship published about OER:

The Open Education Group is an interdisciplinary research group that (1) conducts original, rigorous, empirical research on the impact of OER adoption on a range of educational outcomes and (2) designs and shares methodological and conceptual frameworks for studying the impact of OER adoption with the goal of increasing the affordability and effectiveness of education. The OE Group maintains an extensive and growing list of peer-reviewed published scholarship addressing the cost, outcomes, use, and perceptions of OER.

The Babson Research Group has issued a number of reports on faculty use and perceptions of OER. The most recent report, Opening the Textbook: Open Education Resources in U.S. Higher Education, 2017 demonstrates sustained growth of awareness and use of OER, as well as sensitivity to cost, while also showing that substantial work remains to be done.

The Florida Virtual Campus Student Textbook and Course Materials Survey tracks student behavior and coping mechanisms resulting from high cost texts and course materials. It shows that an alarming percentage of students cope with costs in ways that place them at academic risk.

The Student PIRGs has been a leader in research on textbooks for more than a decade, starting with the release of Ripoff 101 in 2004. These reports are highly consumable. See particularly Covering the Cost, The Billion Dollar Solution, and Access Denied.

Faculty Perspectives on Open Educational Resources & Open Access

OER Sources

There are a growing number of sources of open textbooks and other OER. Interested faculty are encouraged to contact the Shulenburger Office of Scholarly Communication & Copyright for assistance in finding resources in their discipline/teaching area. Significant sources include:

Mason OER Metafinder

The Mason OER Metafinder, based at George Mason University,  searches sixteen OER sources, including all of those listed below, plus others such as MIT OpenCourseware and the Digital Public Library of America.

The Open Textbook Library

The Open Textbook Library is a curated, browsable collection of over 400 open textbooks based at The University of Minnesota and sponsored by the Open Textbook Network, of which KU is a member.


The Multimedia Educational Resource for Online Teaching (MERLOT), developed by the California State University Center for Distributed Learning offers access to thousands of open educational materials.

OER Commons

OER Commons is a digital public library and collaboration platform informed by ISKME's pioneering efforts in knowledge management and educational innovation. OER Commons offers a comprehensive infrastructure for curriculum experts and instructors at all levels to identify high-quality OER and collaborate around their adaptation, evaluation, and use to address the needs of teachers and learners. 


OpenStax College is a nonprofit organization committed to improving student access to quality learning materials. OpenStax's open textbooks are developed and peer-reviewed by educators to ensure they are readable, accurate, and meet standard scope and sequence requirements. KU is a participant in the OpenStax Institutional Partnership Program.


BCcampus is a Canada-based advocacy organization focused on open education as a tool for increasing learning, equity, and accessibility. BCcampus supports OER creation projects and a curated list of over 200 open textbooks that meet a strict set of criteria for inclusion.


This guide is under development. Please send comments and suggestions for improvement to