Free Online Content

Free online content, known commonly as Open Educational Resources (OERs), are media that are freely available online for use in teaching that often use Creative Commons licensing. OERs can be in many forms: online textbooks, videos, lesson plans, assessments, interactive multimedia, and more.

Using OERs strategically can save instructors time and sometimes save students money by giving them free access to content such as open online textbooks. Below you can find a list of prominent OER providers along with explanations of the types of content you will find.

The University of Minnesota's Open Textbook Library includes a wide array of materials which have been reviewed by faculty from a variety of colleges and universities to assess their quality. These books can be downloaded for no cost, or printed at low cost. All textbooks are either used at multiple higher education institutions; or affiliated with an institution, scholarly society, or professional organization.

OER Commons is a repository of multimedia lessons, texts, assessments, and activities in a range of disciplines in the arts and sciences, indexed by educational level, subject area, topic, and content type. Content is appropriate for K-12 and adult education.

OpenStax provides free online textbooks in a range of disciplines created collaboratively by experts. See the list of available texts here.

Khan Academy provides video, interactive activities, and assessments in a small range of disciplines, with a strong focus in K-12 and college mathematics. It partners with content providers such as museums and other nonprofit institutions.

Lumen Learning provides open courses with "zero textbook cost." Their curriculum comes with all the resources, students will require including content and self check quizzes.

MIT Open Courseware provides open online courses (MOOCs) as well as content collections (audio/video lectures and textbooks) for a range of disciplines. View the free online textbooks.

Scitable by Nature Education is a free science library concentrating on genetics and cell biology, including: evolution, gene expression, and cellular processes.

Scoop.it allows educators to search, curate and self-publish their own content in various platforms, such as social media or websites. The “premium” service has a fee. View examples from the field of Education.

TED Ed has lessons created by industry experts across a wide range of subjects and disciplines. Levels are appropriate for learners K-12 and undergraduate levels. Educators can also create customized lesson plans and interactive activities for students. Take the tour to see how it works.

Writing Commons is a comprehensive open text covering academic writing. Topics include: information literacy, research, critical thinking, rhetoric, writing process, peer review, genres, media forms, and writing style. Suggested uses for the site can be found here.

YouTube EDU  is a YouTube channel dedicated to educational topics with advanced searching functions. Videos are categorized by discipline and topic. Posted content may or may not be copyrighted by another author - view the copyright information. YouTube videos often have a short lifespan, meaning they can grow outdated or be removed from YouTube by the owner. However, these videos provide faculty with the opportunity to keep their content fresh and current.

Search Google Yourself - Sometimes the fastest method for finding an OER that suits your purpose is to directly search the Internet using a search engine. You will want to limit your search to content that is open for noncommercial reuse. This page has details about how to use Google’s advanced searching tools. Or jump directly to: