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Open Educational Resources (OER): Getting Started

This guide explains the basics of OER, and provides general and discipline-specific resources.

OER Basics


The United Nations Education and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) defines Open Educational Resources as "learning, teaching and research materials in any format and medium that reside in the public domain or are under copyright that have been released under an open license, that permit no-cost access, re-use, re-purpose, adaptation and redistribution by others."

This guide should help you in providing tips for finding, creating, or adopting an OER for your class to make your classes more financially accessible. 

OER Step-by-step

Step one: Set aside time.
Searching for OER takes time and persistence, just like research!

Step two: Take a look to see if someone else has created a similar, complete OER course or textbook.
See the "Complete Courses" and "Textbooks" sections of the "Finding OER" tab.

Step three: Keep an open mind with your learning objectives.
Its much easier to find OER on concepts and topics you want your students to learn than finding that one perfect textbook in your subject. You will likely need to search for several materials to address different topics or concepts of your complete class.
Example: instead of searching for “biology” materials, search for “cell structure” or “DNA” or “evolution” materials.

Step four: Use Google “Advanced Search” to search for open resources.

Step five: Search within some of the specific OER repositories/OER search engines:
See the "Finding OER" tab for a list of various OER Repositories and OER search engines.

*Librarian tip* Use the browsing tools that the repository or search engine presents to you! Don’t rely solely on keyword searching.

Step six: Look for library materials like ebooks, articles and streaming videos to fill in gaps.
Visit the library's homepage, to search our collection.

Step seven: Not finding what you’re looking for? Ask your librarian.
Contact the library and a librarian can assist you.

Step seven: If all the above steps are fruitless, consider creating your own OER.
See the "Creating OER" tab. Also here is a modular online course "Creating Open Educational Resources" where one can learn how to create OER for your course. Remember all the OER available today was written by a teacher just like you.

More advice on searching for OER?
Check out this 60 minute webinar “Finding and Adopting OER” from the Open Education Consortium for Open Educational Resources:

OASIS OER Search Engine

Openly Available Sources Integrated Search (OASIS) is a search tool that aims to make the discovery of open content easier. OASIS currently searches open content from 61 different sources and contains 160,727 records. OASIS is being developed at SUNY Geneseo's Milne Library in consultation with Alexis Clifton, SUNY OER Services Executive Director.  OASIS Development Team:  Allison Brown - Digital Publishing Services Manager; Bill Jones - Digital Resources & Systems Librarian; Ben Rawlins - Library Director. 

Discipline specific OER

eLearning Librarian

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Anna Clymer


Creative Commons License


This LibGuide was adapted with permission from its creators from University of Oklahoma Libraries and Portland Community College Library. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. All linked-to content adheres to its respective licenses.


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