Open Educational Resources (OER)

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About this guide

This research guide will familiarize faculty members with Open Educational Resources (OER) and the growing OER movement within higher education. Faculty can also use this guide to identify sources of high-quality OER for use in their courses.

What are Open Educational Resources?

Open Educational Resources (OER) are learning materials that have been shared online such as textbooks, workbooks, and course modules that have been specifically labeled as free for anyone to download, customize and reuse.

Why should you consider OER?

Between 2008 and 2016 the cost of college textbooks has risen 88% (Bureau of Labor Statistics), and the College Board estimates that full-time students in 2-year colleges spent as much as $1300 per year (2015-2016) on textbooks. Struggling students and their families are increasingly forced to make hard choices about whether to purchase required course materials that they cannot afford or to attempt to pass their courses without them. Though students are the ones that have to pay for course textbooks, they have very little ability to influence the textbook market. Only Faculty members have the power to determine the amount of money students will have to spend on their course materials. Interested in replacing your expensive textbooks with an OER but don’t know how to get started? The library can help!
SBCC OER Workshop Slides
Contact Us

This video “Why OER?” is licensed under CC BY by The Council of Chief State School Officers

This video “OER Basics” introduces OER and provides an overview on how to search for them. “OER Basics” is licensed under CC BY by Open Oregon

Frequently Asked Questions About OER

  • BC Campus OER Textbooks FAQ
  • SPARC FAQ for Educational Resources
  • Additional Information About OER

  • ACCESS DENIED: The New Face of the Textbook Monopoly (Student PIRGs September 21, 2016)
  • Fixing the Broken Textbook Market (Ethan Senack with the Student PIRGs January 2014)
  • Open Textbooks: More Information (The Student PIRGs)
  • Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) Open Education Fact Sheet
  • White Paper: OER Adoption Study: Using Open Educational Resources in the College Classroom (CA OER Council April 1, 2016)
  • Adopting Open Educational Resources in the Classroom (A full, open Lumen Learning course on OER)
  • Open Educational Resources by Subject

    Allied Health
    Biological Sciences
    Business Administration
    Business Law
    Certified Nursing Assistant
    Computer Applications and Office Management
    Computer Information Systems
    Computer Network Engineering
    Computer Science
    Diagnostic Medical Sonography
    Early Childhood Education
    English as a Second Language
    English, Composition, and Literature
    Environmental Horticulture
    Environmental Studies
    Earth Studies and Planetary Science
    Film and Television Production
    Global Studies
    Graphic Design
    Health Education
    Health Information Technology
    International Business
    Justice Studies
    Library/Information Literacy
    Personal Development
    Physical Science
    Political Science
    Radiographic and Imaging Sciences
    Real Estate
    School of Modern Languages
    Vocational Nursing

    Your SBCC Luria Library

    SBCC Luria Library pays for faculty and students to have free access to thousands of academic journals available in our subscription databases. While not “open” these materials are available free of charge to SBCC students and faculty. See the list of databases available to you here. If you are looking for specific journal titles search here.Please contact one of your librarians for assistance.

    Multi-Subject Open Textbooks Databases

    California Open Online Library For Education

    COOL4Ed is a project of the California Open Educational Resources Council. It offers”149 free and open e-textbooks that have been reviewed by faculty colleagues in the California Community Colleges, the California State University, and the University of California.”


    Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching is one of the largest online repositories of open materials as well as a forum for collaboration and support of open education communities. It is program of the California State University System.

    OER Commons

    A searchable database of textbooks created by ISKME (The non-profit Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education).

    Open Textbook Library

    “A growing catalog of free, peer-reviewed, and openly-licensed textbooks”. This is a project of the Open Textbook Network, a collection of higher education institutions dedicated to promoting OER.

    B.C. Open Textbook Project

    Funded by the BC Ministry of Advanced Education, these textbooks are openly licensed using a Creative Commons license, and are offered in various e-book formats free of charge, or print on demand books available at cost.

    OpenStax College

    A project of Rice University, OpenStax has produced 25 textbooks written by subject experts. They have focused their efforts on producing textbooks for high-enrollment courses in higher education that have most the significant traditional textbook costs. OpenStax offers peer-reviews, supplemental materials, and support for faculty that adopt their open textbooks.

    CNX by OpenStax

    A collection of OER modules, textbooks, and course notes. The predecessor to the OpenStax Textbook project.

    Open Educational Resources/Adoptions (Wikiversity)

    List of open educational resources used in community colleges arranged by discipline. Includes the name of the college currently using each title along links to the resources.

    Additional Sources of OER Material

    Open Course Materials

    Curated by Open


    A project of the US Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) and managed by CSU, SkillsCommons is a curated library of open materials that support career and technology workforce development.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)

    “DOAJ is a community-curated online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals.”

    Unsplash Photo Sharing

    Free and completely open high-resolution photos. Licensed with a Creative Commons Zero license.

    Wikimedia Commons

    A repository of free media files licensed for reuse (often with attribution or other limitations) from the Wikimedia Foundation.

    Project Gutenberg

    Over 53,000 free ebooks.

    The Internet Archive

    “Provides free public access to collections of digitized materials, including web sites, software applications/games, music, movies/videos, moving images, and nearly three million public-domain books.”

    Textbook Affordability Program at Santa Barbara City College


    In response to student concerns about the current price of course materials, SBCC has secured a grant to provide professional development opportunities and support for faculty interested in switching from high-cost, traditionally published textbooks to free or low-cost Open Educational Resources.

    Please consult the flow chart and stipend structure for Open Educational Resources adoption guidelines and incentives.

    Get Help

  • For questions about OER, stipends, and the SBCC Textbook Affordability Program contact program coordinator Camerin Poulson
  • For assistance finding OER and supplemental library materials contact Reference Librarian Michelle Bone, Instruction Coordinator Librarian Ellen Carey, or Camerin Poulson.
  • For technical and design assistance incorporating OER into your course contact the Faculty Resource Center.
  • For questions about how to offer print copies of your OER through the bookstore contact Shane Bandy
  • To get a print copy of your OER placed on the library reserve contact Camerin Poulson.
  • For questions about acquiring accessible OER materials to support students with disabilities please contact Laurie Vasquez, Assistive Technologies Specialist. To understand the interaction between accessibility and OER materials please use the accessibility checklist as a guide.
  • Textbook Heroes: Saving Students Money with Free Textbooks!

    Course Instructor Open Textbook Textbook Cost
    CHEM 155 Eric Bullock Chemistry OpenStax $0
    CHEM 156 Eric Bullock Chemistry OpenStax $0
    ECON 101 Peter Naylor Principles of Micro Economics OpenStax & Methods and Observations of a Practical Economist by Naylor $0
    ECON 102 Peter Naylor Principles of Macro Economics OpenStax & Methods and Observations of a Practical Economist by Naylor $0
    GER 101 Frangina Spandau Deutsch im Blick $0
    GER 101 Gabriele Stein Deutsch im Blick $0
    GER 102 Gabriele Stein Deutsch im Blick $0
    MATH 117 Richard Gayle Introductory Statistics OpenStax $0
    MATH 117 Jeffrey Gray Introductory Statistics OpenStax $0
    MATH 120 David Bennett College Algebra OpenStax $0
    MATH 120 Jim Kruidenier College Algebra OpenStax $0
    MATH 137 Jeffrey Gray Pre-Calculus OpenStax $0
    MATH 137 Jared Hersh Pre-Calculus OpenStax $0
    MATH 137 Elvira Laskowski-Caujolle Pre-Calculus OpenStax $0
    MATH 137 Jason Miner Pre-Calculus OpenStax $0
    MATH 138 Jeffrey Gray Pre-Calculus OpenStax $0
    MATH 138 Jared Hersh Pre-Calculus OpenStax $0
    MATH 138 Jason Miner Pre-Calculus OpenStax $0
    MATH 220 Jim Kruidenier Notes on Diffy Qs: Differential Equations for Engineers $0
    PHYS 105 Amy Thompson College Physics OpenStax $0
    PHYS 106 Amy Thompson College Physics OpenStax $0
    PHYS 110 Amy Thompson College Physics OpenStax & University Physics V.2 OpenStax $0
    PHYS 111 Amy Thompson College Physics OpenStax & University Physics V.2 OpenStax $0
    PSY 100 George Ayoub Psychology OpenStax $0
    PSY 100 Stanley Bursten Psychology OpenStax $0
    PSY 100 Laura Malakoff Psychology OpenStax $0
    PSY 100 Joshua Ramirez Psychology OpenStax $0
    SPAN 101 Juan Casillas Nunez Mi Vida Loca (free not ‘open’) $0
    SPAN 102 Juan Casillas Nunez Mi Vida Loca (free not ‘open’) $0

    Types of Creative Commons licences

    Open Educational Resources are considered “open” when they allow for the “5 Rs”:

  • Retain – Make own and control copies of the content
  • Reuse – Reuse the content in a variety of ways
  • Revise – Adapt, adjust, or alter the content
  • Remix – Combine with other OER content to make something new
  • Redistribute – Share copies of the original content, your revisions, or remixed with others
  • Learn more about Creative Commons Licenses here.

    Need Help citing Creative Commons materials properly?

    Use this nifty Open Attribution Builder from Open Washington.

    Need a refresher on Copyright basics?

    Check out this Lumen Learning Course Module.