Finding Open Education Resources

Unlike libraries, where content is evaluated and curated from a set of items identified through publishers, open education resources can be found everywhere and anywhere and have no set form of evaluation before they are made available to the public. This lack of evaluation for open education resources, makes selecting where to search extremely important.

The following provides you with processes and tools for developing a open education resource research plan, evaluation considerations for resources, and tools to find material.

With so many freely available resources online, choosing OER can be overwhelming. Before beginning your search for an open education resource, you need to have a clear plan. This will help you make decisions on what tools to use for searching, the kind of resource you select, and the subject coverage. The following checklist will help you plan your search strategy.

Check-mark-grey.png Audience
  • Who will be using the resources?
  • Is the resource at an appropriate education level for your audience?
Check-mark-grey.png Subject Coverage & Relevance
  • Does the information directly address one or more of the clas objectives?
  • Is there any area within the larger subject that should be excluded?
Check-mark-grey.png Material Type
  • What kind of media will the collection contain (e.g. videos, podcasts, etc.?)
  • What media types will be excluded from the collection?
Check-mark-grey.png Pedagogical
  • Does the resource encourage active learning and class participation?
  • Does the information directly address one or more of the class objectives?
Check-mark-grey.png Accuracy & Production Quality
  • Is the information accurate?
  • Are there major content errors or omissions?
  • Is the resource available in alternative formats (e.g. .doc)?
  • Is the layout and interface easy to navigate?
  • Do the design features enhance or inhibit learning?
  • For audio or video resources, is the sound quality high?
Check-mark-grey.png Interactivity
  • Does the resource encourage active learning and class participation?
  • Are there opportunities for students to test their understanding of the material (e.g. a video with embedded questions)?
Check-mark-grey.png Licensing
  • Does the license allow for educational reuse of materials?
  • Does the license allow modifications or adaptations of the material?
A guide created by UBC Library dedicated to open education and open access resources.

The following guides were developed to suggest tools and sources for finding open education resources. While there are many more resources available to you, the following sources have been evaluated or curated by librarians to make the searching process easier.

Open Education Resource Repositories

An open education repository is an online storage system that allows educators to share, manage and use education resources. The repository contains a collection of learning items that support instruction. These items include: open textbooks, lesson plans, quizzes (e.g. iclickers, etc.), videos, animations, handouts, interactive activities and tools (e.g. apps), and powerpoint presentations. UBC Library has created a guide of vetted open education resource repositories. The repositories have been evaluated according to the Open Education Resource Repositories (OERR) Rubric created in collaboration with 10 academic libraries in British Columbia. The assessment process is ongoing and this page will be updated as new OERR's are added.

Open Access Journals

UBC Library's Open Collections are publicly-accessible collections that reflect the research interests of the UBC community and beyond.

The basic idea of Open Access is simple, make research literature available online, without price barriers and without most permissions barriers (aside from attribution). There are a number of open access journals that can be used when providing instruction in open environments.

  • Finding Open Access Journals Guide
  • Directory of Open Access Journals - This site contains more information on Open Access publishing, as well as a directory of nearly 10,000 Open Access, full-text, and often peer-reviewed scholarly journals. These journals are freely available online, and typically allow authors to retain the copyright to their work.

Open Images

An open image is a picture, graphic, or visual artwork that has an open license attached to it. There are a number of spaces that contain open image collections (e.g. Flickr Commons).

Open Data

Here is one definition of open data: "a piece of data or content is open if anyone is free to use, reuse, and redistribute it — subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and/or share-alike." (

UBC Library's Open Collections

UBC Library's Open Collections include digital photos, books, newspapers, maps, videos, theses and more. These publicly-accessible collections are constantly growing and reflect the research interests of the UBC community and beyond. Open Collections also allows you to run an API. Run powerful queries, perform advanced analysis, and build custom views, apps, and widgets with full access to the Open Collections' metadata and transcripts.

To learn about using open education resources, including understanding creative commons, attribution, and permissions, go to the Open Licensing for Instructors guide.