- What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?
- Finding OER
- Evaluating and Selecting OER
- Adapting, Creating and Publishing OER
- Copyright and Fair Use
- Attribution Best Practices
- Accessibility and Universal Design
- Evaluating OER Effectiveness and Impact
- OER Glossary and Abbreviations
- OER Events
- Owl and Slow Loris Tips for Site Editors
The resources listed on this page are general and not intended to be exhaustive. Where relevant, City University of New York (CUNY) guidelines and resources are listed. For discipline specific OER resources, visit Biology OER, Chemistry OER, and Physics and Astronomy OER. The wiki OER Handbook for Educators also has resources for the topics listed on this page.
What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?
Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise – that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions.This definition is from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. For OER related concepts, like Open Access and Open Source, see Glossary and Abbreviations.
OER can be identified and accessed through many sources, including:
- General search engines like Google and browser extension like CC Search Browser for searching images.
- How to find Creative Commons materials using Google (PDF). Click on Google Advanced Search button. Enter the search term. Go to the usage rights field (located under Then narrow your results by…), and select the appropriate filter in the drop-down.
- Create your own OER search engine (for example, to search all CUNY OER LibGuides and OpenEd CUNY)
- For Microsoft Office PowerPoint, Word, Excel, insert “Online Pictures,” to use Bing to search for images with a Creative Commons license.
- OER designed search engines that aggregate OER like OASIS and MERLOT, OER Commons, and Mason OER Metafinder
- OER and Open Access directories, such as Directory of Open Access Books
- Curated digital OER collections and directories, such as OER Commons, OpenEdCUNY, SUNY OER, MilnePublishing (SUNY), BcCampus Open Textbook, Open Textbook Library, TeachOER OER webguide, and CK-12
- Institutional repositories, such as CUNY Academic Works and networks of institutional repositories, such as Digital Commons Network. LaGuardia’s Learning Matters Assignment Library is on CUNY Academic Works.
- Subject or discipline specific repositories, such as Chem Collective virtual labs, PhET Simulation (physics, chemistry), and Green Tea Press Textbooks (computer science, programming), and Skillscommons (workforce training).
- Science.gov searches US federal science information including research and development results and is part of WorldWideScience.org.
- Massive Online Open Courses (MOOC), such as MITOpenCourseware and Saylor Academy (search with MOOC List or Wikpedia List of MOOC Providers). Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources Open CourseWare list.
- Material-specific repositories, such as Wikibooks, Open Syllabus Project, Free or Open Software, Free Software Directory, Registry of research data repositories (re3data.org)
- Media specific repositories, such as Digital Public Library of America (public domain images, videos, recording and texts) and Wikimedia Commons. US agencies sites, like the Library of Congress and NIH, has free images, such as National Cancer Institute’s Visuals Online and Nanotechnology Image Library. Free to access or use videos can be found at sites like Ted Ed Lesson Builder and Vimeo/Creativecommons. For YouTube, enter search term, then click “Filter” and then “Creative Commons” under the Features column.
- Libraries, librarians, library Onesearch and catalogs and LibGuides. CUNY OER LibGuides with STEM content include Hunter, BMCC, Brooklyn College, and Lehman. All CUNY college OER LibGuides. Free online libraries include Internet Archives, Open Library, and Project Gutenberg.
- Organizations, networks and forum that promote OER use, creation and sharing, such as UNESCO, OER Commons, Open Textbook Network, Rebus Community, GitHub, Skillcommons, CUNY Academic Commons, OER repositories (Community College Consortium on Open Educational Resources), list of OER communities, CCCOER-Advisory list-serv, SPARC Libraries & OER Forum, and OER Digest
- Professional Associations, such as American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
- Donors and philanthropies, such as the Bill & Melinda Gates, William and Flora Hewlett, Shuttleworth, and Open Society Foundations
- OER policies hub collects and classifies Open Education Policy documents from all educational sectors and levels of governance around the world
- OER programs and projects and funding sources at local, state, national, regional and international levels. List of projects in the US and Canada (updated site is Connect OER, a platform to share and discover information about OER activities at campuses across North America). LibreTexts, formerly called STEMHyperlibrary and ChemWiki, received funding from the US Dept. of Education Open Textbook Pilot Program in 2018.
- Faculty, students, advocates, experts and researchers who are promoting, studying, using, creating or assessing OER. CUNY OER representatives and emails. Some schools and faculty designate and share their online courses
There are also open access resources that can supplement OER in allowing for free access, even if they do not always allow for modification, such as Open Access journals. The Directory of Open Access Books provides a searchable index to peer-reviewed monographs and edited volumes published under an Open Access business model, with links to the full texts of the publications at the publisher’s website or repository. Non-OER resources may also be used if the use is a “fair use”.
Details on specific finding tools and sources
Evaluating and Selecting OER
The sources listed above under Finding OER also have useful information on evaluating and selecting open education resources. Factors to consider when selecting, adapting or adopting OER:
- Accuracy / Quality of Content
- Relevance and Learning Level
- Production Quality and Product Testing
- Accessibility, Ease of Use, Organization and Navigation
- Diversity, Cultural Relevance and Sensitivity
- Ease and Speed of Adapting and Remixing and Format Compatibility
- Currency (up-to-date)
- Supplemental Learning and Teaching Resources (Homework, Lecture Slides, Labs, etc.)
- Print Availability and Cost
Guides for evaluating and selecting OER
Guide and checklist for evaluating accessibility for Electronic Database and Computer Software Accessibility Evaluation and Internet and Web-based Content Accessibility Evaluation. Source:
Adapting, Creating and Publishing OER
The factors listed above under Evaluating and Selecting OER are also relevant considerations in adapting, creating and publishing OER. Open the following links for guides, tools and forums:
Copyright and Fair Use
- CUNY Fair Use and Copyrights
- Permission and file sharing (CUNY Legal Affairs guidelines)
- Copyright.gov More Information On Fair Use and Fair Use Index. Search copyrights
- Copyright and Fair Use (CityTechOpenLab module)
- CopyrightX Fair Use Module (Harvard Law School and HarvardX)
- The History of Fair Use [YouTube] [Download] [Low-data download]
- Fair Use Today [YouTube] [Download] [Low-data download]
- Other Approaches [YouTube] [Download] [Low-data download]
- Fair Use checklists (Columbia University)
- Creative Commons licenses (Note: Trademarks and patents are not covered by Creative Commons (CC) licenses). OER often have a CC license.
Attribution Best Practices
Under a Creative Common Attribution license— You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made to copyrighted materials. Check the source being used to see what attribution is required or recommended.
- Best practices for attribution
- In general, include the title, author, source (title can be linked to the source), and link to the open license.
- For example: DNA Extraction, by Joo Nath, is licensed under CC-BY-4.0
- If modified, note the change and, if a derivative, add a license.
- BCcampus Resources: Caption and Attribution
- Marking your work with a Creative Commons license
Accessibility and Universal Design
1. LaGuardia and CUNY Accessibility Resources
- CUNY Accessibility Toolkit for OER and LAGCC simplified version
- LAGCC Office for Students with Disabilities
- CUNY Faculty Guide to Teaching Students with Disabilities
- CUNY Faculty Guide to Helping Students with Learning Disabilities Succeed in College
- CUNY Assistive Technology Services
- CUNY IT Accessibility and link to Accessibility and Universal Design Learning Course on BlackBoard and tips for creating accessible contents for documents, multi-media and social media
- General syllabus accessibility tips
- CUNY video on Accessible Documents (PDF, Word, PowerPoint and Excel)
- CUNY checklists: Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Online course
- CUNY instructions: PDF, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents (from the Accessibility and UDL BlackBoard online course)
- CUNY Captioning Guidelines
2. Accessibility Checklists, Tools, and Instructions
- Dept of Health and Human Services Section 508 checklists and fixes for PDF, HTML files, Microsoft Office, Audio/Video and Email. Section 508 requires that all website content be accessible to people with disabilities. This applies to Web applications, Web pages and all attached files on the Intranet, as well as, the Internet. Video tutorials include:
- NCDAE cheatsheets for electronic content in general and for Word, PDF, PowerPoint, video, and image
- Productivity/Accessibility Word 2010 and 2016 Tab with all the commands for checking and creating accessible contents under one menu tab. Developed by Texas agencies and available at the Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities website. Download the Productivity Tab with the instructions for installation and Productivity Tab tutorials.
- The Accessibility Tab for Word has been modified for LAGCC and a similar tab has been customized for PowerPoint. Save your current ribbon settings before installing the OER Tab and Ribbon.
LAGCC OER Tab for Windows Word installation file, instructions, and Styles description.
LAGCC OER Tab for PowerPoint.exportedUI
OER Tab PPT installation written instructions. OER Tab PPT installation video.
- Wright State University Accessibility has a useful overview and guides for Word, PDF, video and HTML
- Accessify your course (University of Minnesota)
- Univ. of British Columbia OER toolkit
- National Clearinghouse of Rehabilitation training videos on creating, checking and remediating PDF, PowerPoint, and Microsoft Word.
- Google Docs Accessibility (Portland Community College)
- Google Docs and Drive and NVDA (American Foundation for the Blind)
- Evaluation framework: CSU & MERLOT Course Materials Accessibility
- WAVE browser plug-in to check websites
- Screen reader (NVDA, ChromeVox browser plug-in, VoiceOver (Apple), JAWS. Evaluating website with NVDA, VoiceOver
- Making PDF documents accessible with Adobe Acrobat Pro (PDF)
- PAC3 PDF Accessibility Checker (checks compliance with PDF/UA standards)
- How to Make Your Presentations Accessible to All (W3C)
- Texas Education Agency Acrobat DC Accessibility (Step-by-step guide of the Accessibility Action Wizard, Touch Up Reading Order Tool, and Fixing Accessibility problems)
- University of Buffalo Create Accessible Digital Documents: How to Create Accessible MS Office & Adobe PDFs with guidelines on multi-media format
- Program, browser and online color contrast checkers:
- Colour Contrast Analyser (download from the Paciello Group)
- Browser plug-ins: WCAG Contrast Checker (Firefox) and Color Contrast Analyzer (Chrome).
- WebAIM online contrast checker
- Color blindness browser plug-ins: A11Y – Color blindness empathy test (Firefox) and A11Y – Color blindness empathy test (Chrome)
3. Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Accessibility
- Accessibility 101: STEM Edition (Washington State Board for Community & Technical Colleges).
- MathSpeak Demo: Get Alt-text for equation in MathML
- MathType Demo: Get MathML and Alt-text for equation
- Math and logical equations written with the Word Equation Editor or with MathType can be read by the Central Access Reader
4. Templates for Creating Accessible Contents
- Syllabus (in development)
Example: LAGCC Chemistry Course Syllabus Template
- Laboratory manuals (in development)
Example: SCB 201 General Biology Accessible Labs in Word and PDF
- Customized LAGCC OER Tab for Microsoft Office Word ribbon. Download OER Tab installation file and instructions.
- Customized OER Tab for MS PowerPoint ribbon. Download OER PPT Tab installation file, instructions and video folder or view separately:
5. Accessibility Websites
- W3C Web Accessibility and W3C Accessibility Tutorial for web content
- A11y (web developer oriented )
- Accessibility Developer Guide (web developer oriented)
- Universal Design in Learning guidelines and UDL on Campus
- Tagged PDF (PDF accessibility and using PAC3)
Evaluating OER Effectiveness and Impact
- Human Subject Research and IRB
- Literature and Systematic Review
- Program and Project Evaluation
- Research Design
- Data Collection and Analysis
- Funder Grantmaking and Reports
- ACRL/CJCLS OER (Association of College & Research Libraries)
2021 Open Education Conference “Making Open for All. October 18-22, 2021. Virtual. OpenEd21 Registration
- 12th Annual CUNY Accessibility Conference, April 6 – 9, 2021. “Perspectives on Access: Innovations, Lessons Learned, and Looking Forward.”
- Open Pedagogy with the CUNY Academic Commons & Manifold Workshop Series.
- Monday, January 25th, 12-2pm: Workshop 1: Introduction to the CUNY Academic Commons and Manifold
- Wednesday, January 27th, 12-3pm:
- Workshop 2a: Building & Customizing your Course on the Commons (12-1:30pm)
- Workshop 2b : Creating Texts for Teaching with Manifold (1:30-3pm)
- Friday, January 29th,12-2p m Workshop 3: Discussion & Support Session for Innovative Pedagogy with the Commons & Manifold
- CUNY IT Conference Virtual Event 2020 . December 3-4, 2020.
- 2020 CUE Conference and CUNY OER Showcase OER to Open Pedagogy online: Teaching and Learning Empowered. October 29-30, 2020.
- International Open Access Week, October 19-25, 2020.
- #OpenEd20 Virtual Conference. November 9-13, 2020.
Owl and Slow Loris Tips for Site Editors
The Owl and Slow Loris Tips for Site Editors page contains help and tips for authors and editors, working with the WordPress block editor and this site, MyOpenMath, or other OER platforms.