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Open Educational Resources

A resource guide for instructors on Open Educational Resources

How to find OERs

Step 1: Identify your objectives.

  1. What is the subject or lesson you’re trying to teach?
  2. What do you want your students to get out of the resource?
  3. What will they already know at the start of the lesson and what do they have yet to learn?
  4. Are you trying to find a resource for one lesson, or something that spans several lessons or the entire course?

Step 2: Start your search.

  1. Google what you’re looking for, filtering for Creative Commons-licensed course materials that are free to reuse and remix.

This video gives an overview of how to find OER on Google.

Step 3: Search OER Repositories

Complete textbooks

OpenStax - A large collection of peer-reviewed intro-level textbooks in all disciplines hosted by Rice University.

Open Textbook Library - Collection of peer-reviewed textbooks on a broader array of subjects, including advanced topics, hosted by University of Minnesota.


Merlot - Offers peer reviewed lessons, videos, and exercises on a broad variety of topics from beginner to advanced levels.

Khan Academy - Specializes in video tutorials and interactive quizzes. Khan is strongest in math and science, but also has modules in history, economics, and computing. Most topics tend to be at the primary to secondary school level.

OER Commons - Offers a wide range of subjects and levels. As a member of the OER Commons, Smith ScholarWorks' OERs are cataloged and accessible within the commons as well.

Step 4: Check Accessibility of Materials

It is Smith College policy that all technology should be accessible to students. The policy, as well as tools to determine the accessibility of materials can be found at Email if you have any questions. 

Browse Smith College OERS

OERS in Smith ScholarWorks collections currently include open textbooks, video courses, open labs, and tutorials allowing faculty the opportunity to produce, teach, and engage with free, customizable, and openly-licensed materials. We are working with faculty to expand and build upon our open resource collections.

For faculty members interested in exploring how to create OERS or add their existing open educational resources to ScholarWorks, email

Open Licensing

When looking for eligible OER materials for your course, make sure to find out what license a creator has selected for their work. Creative Commons licenses such as those in the chart below will let you know how an item was intended to be re-used and shared. If you do not see an open license, be aware that copyright law will still apply, and it is best to request permission before making use of this material. 

Creative commons license chart