7 resources for open education materials

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Open Education


Shrinking school budgets and growing interest in open content has created an increased demand for open educational resources. According to the FCC, "The U.S. spends more than $7 billion per year on K-12 textbooks, but too many students are still using books that are 7-10 years old, with outdated material." There is an alternative: openly licensed courseware. But where do you find this content and how can you share your own teaching and learning materials? This month I've rounded up a list of seven open educational resources for K-12 and higher education:

  1. OERCommons offers Open Author, which is platform agnostic and can be used to create media-rich documents simply by opening an account on the site. A lesson builder for K-12 content and a module builder designed specifically for higher education are also available on the site. Follow OERCommons on Twitter: @oercommons.
  2. National Science Digital Library (NSDL) is a free site where teachers and students can share lesson plans. Joining the National Science Digital Library is easy—simply become a member of OERCommons, a digital library and resource. Resources from preschool through adult education are available in 26 different resource types and 15 subject areas. Follow NSDL on Twitter: @nsdl.
  3. The CK-12 Foundation is a California-based nonprofit organization with a mission to reduce the cost of textbook materials for the K-12 market both in the U.S. and worldwide. Key benefits include: access to free textbooks; access to high-quality, educator-created content; support for publishing tools that make content creation easy; and licensing via Creative Commons CC BY-NC. CK-12 Foundation is providing us with the textbooks of the future, which are free, open, and remixable. Follow CK-12 on Twitter: @CK12Foundation.
  4. The Khan Academy site explains its mission as, "Khan Academy offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom." All material is openly licensed via the MIT Open License. Follow Khan Academy on Twitter: @khanacademy.
  5. The MIT Open Courseware site provides a web-based publication of virtually all of the 2,340 courses offered by Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Follow MIT OCW on Twitter: @MITOCW.
  6. Merlot is a curated collection of free and open online resources for teaching, learning, and professional development in higher education. Content is licensed under Creative Commons CC NC-ND (with some exceptions noted). Merlot offers a free content builder for registered site users. Follow Merlot on Twitter: @MERLOTOrg.
  7. Saylor Academy provides free online courses and an Open Course Option pathway to a free Associate in Science in Business Administration degree. Follow them on Twitter: @saylordotorg.

What additions do you have for the list? Let me know about them in the comments.


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Educator, entrepreneur, open source advocate, life long learner, Python teacher. M.A. in Educational Psychology, M.S. Ed. in Educational Leadership, Linux system administrator.


Curriki.org is an outstanding source for OERs!

I was wondering why MOOCS were not listed; but after I have searched the difference bewteen a MOOC and an OER I have figured out that a MOOC is a full course but an OER is more a course content. Great article !

Good point! I like MOOCs and have taken a couple such courses in the last three years. In fact I took a MOOC about OER. that was hosted by State University of New York (SUNY).

In reply to by samgolchi

OpenEd.com has open (and yes, premium/closed) assessments and free learning resources (videos, games, interactives) as well. We can connect our resources and assessments via LTI, support schema.org metadata, and are integrated with Google Classroom. And for what it's worth I often use Linux for my work computer.

Open Up Resources, the new provider of expert-authored, full course curriculum that will be published under the CC BY open license, is a must-have on any K-12 list!

OUR's first offering is a Middle School Math curriculum that is currently being refined in a 6-district, 120 teacher beta, prior to being published as OER in Summer, 2017. You can read about the pilots here:

Open Up Resources is dedicated to spreading access to excellent, standards-aligned materials, and provides numerous supports to aid districts in implementation with fidelity and ease: from PD to printing services.

Districts can learn more at openupresources.org, and can email info@openupresources to learn more about the materials.

Thanks for your comment. I'm following you on Twitter now and I've re-shared your link with my PLN on Facebook and Twitter. Always good to learn about new OER initiatives.

In reply to by Karen Vaites (not verified)

Very helpful comment thanks... In my university we are organizing a National Forum on Continuing Professional Development in Higher Education. If you are interested you can visit too.
"The University of Kelaniya is proud to organize the first ever National Forum on Continuing Professional Development in Higher Education. CPD is a process that enhances the professionalism of an academic through continuous development as an efficient teacher, researcher and practitioner contributing towards institutional and national development. The forum showcases best practices and provide new directions for the future of CPS in higher education." For more information visit : http://conf.kln.ac.lk/nfcpd/
National Forum on Continuing Professional Development in Higher Education 2017

In reply to by Karen Vaites (not verified)

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