Finding & Selecting OERs

Finding OER for your course

For the last 15 years, the amount of high quality OERs have been growing, and there are large collections for you to search on the Library’s OER Resource guide. Resources available to you range from collections of entire “open textbooks” like the University of Minnesota Open Textbook Library, to advanced search settings that enable you to limit your Google image search by license type (select “usage rights”).

As you search for materials, check to see if the following information is included with the learning object:

  • ​Authorship and credentials
  • Peer review and affiliations
  • Intellectual property licensing:
    • Is the license displayed?
    • Are there terms of use? Terms of service?
    • Is there a fee model associated with this resource? Is it provided by a company or a non-profit?
    • Are users required to register or pay for any services?

Remember two things:

  1. You are the subject expert so trust your instincts
  2. Not all subject areas are represented equally in the form of OERs. If you’d like additional support finding cost-free materials – especially if you think your course subject would be better represented through library resources, contact your library subject liaison.

This short guide embedded below will help you organize your searches.

Download the PDF version.


Here are some extra tips for finding relevant course materials!

Evaluate your materials

Think about the intellectual property of these course materials and how they are accessed.

  • Is it in the public domain?
  • Is it creative commons licensed?
  • Is it freely available to link to?
  • Is it a Library resource?

More info: Evaluate & Adopt OERs

Final assignment

The final assignment for this module is to select a cost-free educational resource to replace or supplement an existing reading, lecture, or assignment in your course.

The material you submit may be any of the following:

  • an OER – Creative Commons licensed; content in the public domain is welcome too!
  • a library digital resource – the Library has already paid for permission to use it; materials are available to City Tech community only). Generate a permalink to direct students to the online library resources you’ve selected.

Submit final assignment

Submit via Google Forms.

  1. Course name
  2. Describe the course material you’ve chosen to incorporate into your course
  3. Describe where you located the material and the process of finding it. Was it a seamless search? Was it fraught? Would you do something different next time?
  4. Describe how the course material you’ve selected aligns with the curriculum and course learning objectives.
  5. Describe the user permissions. Include intellectual property license and other usage identifiers (e.g. Creative Commons CC-BY).
  6. Provide the URL to the course material.


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