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Affordable & Open Educational Resources: Finding OER

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Last Updated: May 13, 2024 1:51 PM

Finding OER

LibreTexts: The LibreTexts mission is to unite students, faculty and scholars in a cooperative effort to develop an easy-to-use online platform for the construction, customization, and dissemination of open educational resources (OER) to reduce the burdens of unreasonable textbook costs to our students and society.

Lumen Learning: Education technology company that partners with higher education institutions to create accessible course materials utilizing OER. Licensed SUNY partner.

MERLOT: Peer-reviewed collection of free and open teaching and learning materials contributed and used by the international education community.

OASIS (Openly Available Sources Integrated Search): Search tool to make the discovery of open content easier. Includes content from the leading sources of open content.

OpenStax: Nonprofit educational initiative that publishes high-quality, peer-reviewed, openly licensed college textbooks, which are free online and low cost in print.

Open Textbooks for Engineering: Open textbooks in various areas of engineering compiled by the Engineering Libraries Division of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). 

Open Textbook Library: Collection of published, and licensed to be freely used, adapted, and distributed textbooks in a variety of fields. Licensed SUNY partner.

Khan Academy: Focused on math, science, economics, finance, arts and humanities, and computing. Also includes content from academy partners like the Museum of Modern Art and NASA.

Lumen Learning: Education technology company that partners with higher education institutions to create accessible course materials utilizing OER. Licensed SUNY partner.

MIT OpenCourseWare: Includes materials from hundreds of undergraduate and graduate-level MIT courses. Courses listed by academic department.

Open Course Library: Slogan is "download.remix.teach." Focused on introductory and general education courses. Materials stored on Google Drive; accordingly, a Google account is required for access

Open Yale: Open courses from Yale University.

Internet Archive – OER: Contains hundreds of free courses, video lectures, and supplemental materials from universities in the United States and China.

Academic Earth: Free online college courses from the world’s top universities.

Wikimedia Commons: Public domain and Creative Commons licensed educational media content (images, sound, and video clips).

Flickr Creative Commons: Flickr content under Creative Commons licensing. 

Europeana: Digital collections from European libraries, museums and cultural institutions. Includes public domain and Creative Commons content.

Google Images (search under Usage Rights): Conduct a search and then click the "Tools" button. Select preferred license level under the "Usage Rights" filter. Follow each image to its source page to confirm the license.

Bing Images (search under License): Conduct a search and then click the "Filter" button. Select preferred license level under the "License" filter. Follow each image to its source page to confirm the license.

NY Public Library Digital Collections (some restrictions may apply): Includes public domain and copyrighted images from New York Public Library's vast digital collections. Click in the search box and then check the box for "Search only public domain materials."

Getty Open Content Images: Includes digital images for which Getty holds the rights or that are in the public domain. No permission is required for images from the Open Content Program.

Library of Congress' Digital Collections: Includes Free to Use and Reuse Sets of images. Each collection has its own rights statement, which should be consulted for guidance on use.

Smithsonian Open Access: Explore and discover millions of images within the Smithsonian databases, both 2D and 3D, generated from all of its various museums and institutions.

Resources for diverse and inclusive representation

The list of websites below provides diverse and inclusive illustrations to add to your OER. All of these websites license their imagery under a Creative Commons licence but please make sure you are following the terms of the licence correctly.

  • Images and More (Georgia Southern University): A list of resources compiled by Georgia Southern University Libraries which emphasize equity and inclusion.
  • Images of Empowerment: Free images of women’s lives and work, created by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and Getty Images. Licence: CC-BY-NC-4.0.
  • Disabled And Here: Free stock photography featuring disabled BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color), varied body sizes/types, sexual orientations, and gender identities in the Pacific Northwest. Licence: CC BY 4.0.
  • Disability:IN: Disability inclusive stock photography. Licence: CC-BY-ND.
  • The Gender Spectrum Collection: Free stock photos of trans and non-binary people. Licence: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.
  • Queer in Tech: Photos that promote the visibility of queer and gender-nonconforming (GNC) people in technology, who are often under-represented as workers powering the creative, technical, and business leadership of groundbreaking tech companies and products. Licence: CC BY 3.0.
  • Allgo Plus-Size: Free stock photography collections featuring plus-size people. Licence: While attribution is not required, please credit.
  • Nappy: Free high-resolution photos of black and brown people. Licence: CC0.
  • PICNOI: “We are a coop of stock image photography. We recognise that most other FREE stock image sites have very few or no images of people of color. We sought out to create a space where publishers, bloggers, website owners, marketers, designers, graphic artists, advertisers and the like can easily search and find diverse multi-racial images.” Licence: CC-BY 4.0.
  • #WOCinTech Chat: Free photos of women and non-binary people of color working in the Tech field. Licence: CC BY.
  • Redefining Women Icon Collection: Icons of women. Licence: CC0 1.0.
  • Open Peeps: “A hand-drawn illustration library.” Mix and match elements to create different “peeps.” Please note that you might need a design program to create your own “peeps.” There are pre-made “peeps” you can download without a program. Licence: CC0.
  • Autism Comics: Comic strips relating to autism. Licence: CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0. 
  • Pexels: Photographs relating to diversity and inclusion. Licence: CC0. 

This list is taken from Enhancing Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) in Open Educational Resources (OER) by University of Southern Queensland is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Wikimedia Commons: Includes public domain and Creative Commons licensed educational media content (images, sound, and video clips).

Moving Image Archive: Features "digital movies uploaded by Archive users which range from classic full-length films, to daily alternative news broadcasts, to cartoons and concerts. Many of these videos are available for free download."

Open Video Project: Provides "video clips from a variety of sources, especially various video programs obtained from U.S. government agencies such as the U.S. Records and Archives Administration and NASA. Although the government agency videos were produced with public funds and are freely available from the Archives, no copyright clearance has been obtained for audio or video elements in these productions."

SUNY OER Services

SUNY OER Services is a shared services organization for SUNY institutions looking to build, support, and expand open educational programs and practices. They help lower the cost of higher education for students and empower faculty to use course materials most suited to their needs. Their services include the following:

  • User-friendly technology to support adopting, adapting, and building OER course content
  • Professional development opportunities, online and on campus
  • Networking across faculty and institutions to advance open educational practices
  • Support in establishing sustainable OER programs
  • Mentoring for faculty and staff
  • Guidance around opportunities for recognition, research, and publication related to OER

OER in the Classroom

Infographic displaying five ways to use O E R in the classroom: linking to resources, copying portions, distributing materials, integrating into management systems, or publishing them


This web guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Creative Commons licence BY, attribution only required

In the spirit of the open education community, this guide serves as a model for other institutions to replicate or to adopt and modify for their own purposes.