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Finding OER Resources: Online Libraries To Discover Free and Open Educational Resources

  • California Online Open Library for Education is a free and open library of peer-reviewed open textbooks for over 50 highly enrolled courses across CCC, CSU, and UC.

    The California Legislature Senate Bill 1053 called for the creation of the California Digital Open Source Library by the CSU so California faculty can easily find, adopt, utilize, and/or modify OER course materials for little or no cost. The legislation directed the California State University to design the free and open digital library that would leverage its existing online open library of OER – MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching) and its Affordable Learning Solutions initiative. The legislation clearly stated that nothing in the legislation shall be construed to mandate faculty use of any particular textbook or related materials.

    The COOL4Ed (California Open Online Library for Education, www.cool4ed.org provides free, open, and easy to use tools to:

    • Find free and open etextbooks, include those with Creative Commons licenses aligned with over 50 courses.  You can examine quality reviews by California higher ed faculty and evaluation of the accessibiilty of the free and open etextbooks.
    • Find California faculty showcasing how they have adopted free and open etextbooks in their courses, including sharing their syllabi
    • Find a wide range of free and open educational resources including
  • MERLOT (extensive collection of OER materials, ranging from textbooks to course modules)
    • Established in 1997 by the California State University, MERLOT has provided free access to free and open educational resources to teachers and learners around the world. The California Community Colleges have been a partner in the MERLOT consortium for over a decade. Not only can any faculty, staff or student join MERLOT for free but with their free membership, they can create their own personal OER collection or a more comprehensive course ePortfolio. MERLOT provides a free and open website development tool, MERLOT Content Builder, which is very easy to use and enables people to design and integrate multimedia and documents into a clean website and apply a Creative Commons license easily.
    • The COOL4Ed online library is built upon the infrastructure of MERLOT.
  • OpenStax College (a collection of highly-rated open textbooks for higher education)
    • OpenStax College is a nonprofit organization committed to improving student access to quality learning materials. Their free textbooks are developed and peer-reviewed by educators to ensure they are readable, accurate, and meet the scope and sequence requirements of a course.  OpenStax College is an initiative of Rice University and is made possible through the generous support of several philanthropic foundations.
  • SkillsCommons – A repository of OER for workforce development Programs offered by Community and Technical Colleges
    • The US Department of Labor's Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) program has created a free and open online library called SkillsCommons containing free and open learning materials and program support materials for job-driven workforce development. The Open Educational Resources (OER) are produced by community colleges across the nation and can be found, reused, revised, retained, redistributed and remixed by individuals, institutions, and industry.
    • With over 700 community and technical colleges contributing to the repository, the open library of materials at SkillsCommons.org will expand over the next few years. New features are being developed that will allow end-users to better preview courses and materials in the repository.
    • Almost all the materials have a CC BY (Creative Commons) license which gives you rights to reuse, revise, remix, retain, and redistribute the content.
  • BC Campus Open Ed (a finding guide to open textbooks)
    • The goal of the project is to make higher education more accessible by reducing student cost through the use of openly licensed textbooks. Specifically, BCcampus was asked to create a collection of open textbooks aligned with the top 40 highest-enrolled subject areas in the province. A second phase was announced in the spring of 2014 to add 20 textbooks targeting trades and skills training.
    • The open textbooks are openly licensed using a Creative Commons license, and are offered in various e-book formats free of charge, or print on demand books available at cost.
  • Open Textbook Network

    Reviews in the Open Textbook Library are by faculty around the country, collected to provide faculty evaluations for faculty, by faculty. All books in the Open Textbook Library:

    1. Must have an open license
    2. Must be a complete textbook (no chapters or partial textbooks)
    3. Must be available as a portable file (e.g. PDF, ePub)
    4. Must be currently in use at multiple higher education institutions, or affiliated with a higher education institution, scholarly society, or professional organization.
  • OER Commons
    • OER Commons is a dynamic digital library and network.  Explore open education resources determined by a network of educators dedicated to curriculum improvement.

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