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Open Educational Resources: Where do I start?

Helpful hints

Three 5- to 6-minute videos about making the switch from a traditional textbook to free and open materials.


Excellent tutorial on how to create your own OERs and adapt others' OERs to your course.

A Quick Start Guide

Step 1: Find an Open Textbook
There are a number of repositories out there.  Where should you even start?  The Finding OERs section of this site will list a number of general repositories and some that are discipline specific.  

Step 2: Review and Select an Open Textbook
As you search for open textbooks in repositories, consider what criteria you will use to select appropriate an open textbook for your own use. You can develop your own criteria or consider adapting existing criteria from other sources.

Step 3: Customize your Selection as desired
Few existing open textbooks will meet all your instructional needs so you may want to customize the open textbook you have selected. Consider the following ways you may want to modify the open textbook to make it more appropriate for your teaching style:

  • Combine two or more open textbooks and OER.
  • Rearrange the content in the open textbook.
  • Add a glossary, hyperlinks and test bank
  • Make edits to improve accuracy and currency

​Use the Creating your own OER texts tab to find ways to edit pdf files, correctly cite creative commons items, and much more. 

Step 4: Disseminate Your Open Textbook to Your Students
Disseminate your open textbook in either digital or print format to students in your course. Be sure to give your students clear instructions about appropriate use of printing services on your campus. Try to coordinate with the student computer labs, library, bookstore, and campus printing.

 (CC BY Licensed 2010 College Open Textbooks)


  • Searchable databases
  • Textbooks are typically available in one, consistent format (i.e. .pdf, .odt, .doc, etc.)
  • Contain a limited number of textbooks, but are more likely to be peer-­reviewed

(CC BY Licensed 2010 College Open Textbooks)    

OER lists

An OER list is simply a searchable collection of all types of OER’s.

  • No uniformity
  • Fewer peer-reviewed materials   

(CC BY Licensed 2010 College Open Textbooks)    

How do I know?

Some criteria for choosing OER Repositories:

  • Type
  • Licensing
  • Disciplines
  • Quality
  • Format
  • Print Options
  • Ease of Use

(CC BY Licensed 2010 College Open Textbooks)    

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