Open Educational Resources

"Open Education Resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research materials that are either (a) in the public domain or (b) licensed in a manner that provides everyone with free and perpetual permission to engage in the 5R activities." Creative Commons

The material above is an adaptation of Defining the "Open" in Open Content and Open Educational Resources, which was originally written by David Wiley and published freely under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license at Watch the "What is OER" Video.

  Click Here for OER LibGuide   Click Here for OpenStax  


Adopt OER


Adopting OER open access course materials is defined as incorporating previously published open access materials into one’s class, thereby eliminating the need for students to purchase textbooks or other course materials.

*Each department may have their own OER policy. Contact your department chair or textbook committee to get started.

Step 1: Find the right OER material for your subject, Check out the resources under the FIND OER section below. Familiarize yourself with sources by visiting various linked web sites. Review and evaluate available textbooks. Use Adoption Worksheet from the Community College Consortium for Open Education Resources.

Step 2: Decide if you want to edit, modify the contents or use the textbook as is. Review license agreement and provide attribution to the creator or copyright holder.

Step 3: Visit with the College Librarian and an Instructional Designer to discuss copyright issues, best format for distribution and course structure.

Step 4: Get necessary approvals from your department chair and disseminate the open textbook to students within Canvas.

Step 5: Distribute OER materials to your students. Also, update library, IT helpdesk, college bookstore to ensure smooth delivery of open materials to students.

Create OER


Are you interested in creating your own open source textbook? There are number of campus resources to help you get started:

Step 1: Consult with your Campus Librarian on Copyright and Open Access issues. Understanding Creative Commons (CC) Licensing will help you to better use OER materials.

Step 2: Explore resources to help you produce your work. There may be grants or other incentives available at the institution to assist you in the creation of work. Contact our Alamo Colleges OER Coordinator for more information.

Step 3: Explore products and services to help you combine material into one single course-specific textbook. For example: iTunesU, Canvas Commons, Open Author will let you combine text, pictures, sound, files and videos.

Find OER


Below are some resources to get started. You can find more resources in the SAC OER LibGuide link above.

Canvas Commons

Canvas Commons is a learning object repository that enables educators to find, import, and share resources. A digital library full of educational content, Canvas Commons allows Canvas users to share learning resources with other users as well as import learning resources into a Canvas course. 


A variety of free online courses.

iTunes U

Free online courses from many institutions around the globe.

Khan Academy

Not for profit educational organization.

MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching)

Free and open peer-reviewed collection of online learning materials.

OER Commons

A large collection of OER materials categorized by subject area and material type.

Open Textbook Library

Searchable collection of several open textbooks.  Many of them have been peer reviewed.


Offers several college-level textbooks.  All are peer-reviewed textbooks written by professional content developers.

Open Learning Initiative

Free online courses and materials by Carnegie Mellon University.


Has several open textbook collections.

The Teaching Commons

Features OER material from several colleges and universities.  Content includes open access textbooks, course materials, lesson plans, multimedia and more.  Curated by librarians and their institutions.

Wikipedia Commons

A media file repository for public domain and freely licensed educational media content.


Openly Available Sources Integrated Search.


Do you know of other great resources? If so, please email your suggestions to our OER Task Force – Dr. Sean Duffy – or (210) 486-1712.

Free the Textbook


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