OER Home
Introductory remarks
Portals and gateways
OER development and publishing initiatives
Writing on OER
Open Educational Resources
Open content for higher education

Useful resources
March 2006

Introductory remarks

This list of links to OER initiatives, resources and tools was compiled following the first IIEP discussion forum on Open Educational Resources (24 October - 2 December 2005). It owes a considerable debt to Zaid Ali Alsagoff, who put together a first list of OER initiatives as an outcome of the forum.

Links have been placed in categories to give users some guidance on the types of OER initiatives and resources that are available to them. Each link is accompanied by a short description of the site. Practical information, such as the number and type of resources available, licensing information and any usage restrictions, is also included in italics at the end of each entry.

This version of the listing is no longer updated. For a more up-to-date version, visit the OER community wiki. If you know of any links that could be included in the listing, please add them to the wiki version of the list.

Back to top

Portals and gateways

General portals and gateways

Open Educational Resources Development Gateway Community
A worldwide OER clearinghouse. The African Virtual University and Utah State University's Center for Open and Sustainable Learning serve as expert guides, and work with members, cooperating organizations and other volunteers to provide high quality learning content, tools and implementation resources to the community.
477 resources

A French language e-learning portal, hosted by the University of Bourgogne. UniversitySurf offers free and open access to teaching materials and resources from French universities and schools, national research centres (CNRS), Francophone universities worldwide and many personal teaching sites. Resources are searchable by level and discipline. Users can suggest links to new teaching materials. Educators can put their own resources online through the portal, using Moodle. The portal also gathers information on higher education in France and open and distance learning.
1,400 courses and links to thousands more online resources in French

National portals and gateways

EdNA (Education Network Australia) Online
Owned by the Australian Government, EdNA Online is a gateway to resources and services that aims to support and promote the benefits of the Internet for learning, education and training in Australia. It is organised around the Australian curriculum and provides users with access to materials of interest to teachers and learners of all levels, covering a wide range of subjects. EdNA harvests resources from select Australian collections, as part of a movement to develop a distributed repository of Australian learning materials. It also considers for inclusion resources suggested by users.
N.B. Only Australian educators have free access to EdNA

Resource Discovery Network (RDN)
The UK's free national gateway to Internet resources for the teaching, learning and research community. The RDN is a collaboration of over seventy educational and research organisations, including the Natural History Museum and the British Library. The service links to resources through a series of subject-based information gateways. Although primarily aimed at users in UK higher and further education, the network is freely available to all.
Over 100,000 resources

Individual faculty portals and gateways

EduResources Portal
A gateway to higher education instructional resources on the Internet, maintained by Joseph Hart at Eastern Oregan University.
285 resources

Back to top


General repositories

MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching)
A free and open resource designed primarily for faculty and students of higher education. Specifically, MERLOT is:
a continually growing catalogue of online learning materials, peer reviews, learning assignments, and user comments, organized by discipline into specific discipline communities and created to help faculty enhance their instruction, that anyone can use for free;
an international consortium of partners and affiliates who cooperate to continually create, expand, and refine MERLOT in order to transform and improve higher education;
a community of individual members, from academia, business, and professional organizations, who strive to share and enrich their teaching and learning experiences by contributing to MERLOT;
a technology initiative with its own infrastructure and dynamically designed set of technology tools and software development policies created to help faculty integrate high quality online instructional technology resources into their courses effectively, easily, and enjoyably.
14,307 resources

Apple Learning Interchange
A searchable database of rich media resources for digital teaching and learning developed by educators and by the Apple Learning Interchange itself to encourage the use of IT in education and to improve educational practice generally.
Several hundred "exhibits", Copyright, Apple Computer, Inc. All rights reserved
N.B. Resources mainly for schools rather than higher education

National and international repository initiatives

At its core, a distributed network of learning repositories. ARIADNE was created to exploit and further develop the results of the ARIADNE and ARIADNE II European Projects, which created tools and methodologies for producing, managing and reusing computer-based pedagogical elements and telematics-supported training curricula. Teaching and learning resources are available in many European languages, primarily English, French, Italian, German and Dutch.

DAREnet was launched in January 2004 to demonstrate the network of the local collections of digital documentation held by all Dutch universities and several related institutions. DAREnet harvests all “full content” digital material from the local repositories, presents it in a consistent form and makes it searchable. Materials include teaching and learning resources, and academic research output, in both English and Dutch.
60,000 resources

GEM (Gateway to Educational Materials)
A US consortium effort to provide educators and learners with quick and easy access to thousands of educational resources, including activities, lesson plans, online projects and assessment items suitable for use in the classroom, found on the websites of some 600 consortium members, including US government agencies, educational institutions, non-profit and commercial organizations.
Over 40,000 records

This project aimed to investigate the key issues surrounding the identification, description, location, use and integration of interactive content through technical development, UK national consultation and exemplar aggregation. Although no longer conducting research, it has established a repository of interactive learning content, with the aim of acting as an enabler or broker for exchange, trade or, outside of the UK Higher and Further Education community, sale of interactive content.
Approx 80 learning objects

Funded by JISC (the Joint Information Systems Committee), JORUM is a collaborative venture in UK Higher and Further Education to collect and share learning and teaching materials, allowing their reuse and repurposing, and standing as a national statement of the importance of creating interoperable, sustainable materials.
N.B. Restricted to teaching and support staff in registered UK Higher and Further Education institutions; own licensing system for contributors and users

Monterey Institute for Technology and Education National Repository of Online Courses (NROC)
A growing library of high-quality online courses for students and faculty in higher education, high school and Advanced Placement. Courses in the NROC library are contributed by developers from leading online-learning programmes across the US. All courses are assessed to ensure they meet high standards of scholarship, instructional value and presentational impact. NROC works with developers and contributes resources to improve course quality and to provide ongoing maintenance. Courses are designed to cover the breadth and depth of topics based on generally accepted US curricula and can also be customized within a course management system. NROC partners with academic institutions, publishers, teaching organizations, US state and federal agencies, international distributors and others to create a global distribution network to provide courses to students, teachers and the general public at little or no cost.
24 courses, Copyright Monterey Institute for Technology
N.B. Users must apply for a licence; some may be charged a small fee

NLN (National Learning Network) Materials
Working in partnership with subject experts and commercial developers, BECTA's (British Educational Communications and Technology Agency) NLN Materials Team has commissioned and managed the development of Further Education e-learning materials for use in Virtual Learning Environments. The materials span the UK post-16 Further Education curriculum and are designed to be fitted easily into existing teaching.
Over 800 hours of materials
N.B. Restricted to staff and students of UK Further Education institutions

Subject-specific national repositories

CITIDEL (Computing and Information Technology Interactive Digital Educational Library
A collaboration between Hofstra University, the College of New Jersey, Pennsylvania State University, Villanova University and Virginia Tech, as part of the US National Science Foundation's National Science Digital Library Project, to create a portal to computing education. CITIDEL is a digital library of educational resources for the computing field, harvested from ten differerent source collections.
488,256 resources for computing

CSTC (Computing Science Teaching Center)
A repository of peer-reviewed teaching resources for college and graduate level computer science education. The CSTC is designed to facilitate access to quality teaching materials developed worldwide. It is endorsed by the US Association of Computing Machinery and funded by the US National Science Foundation. Metadata for materials are created by users. CSTC is one of the source collections for CITIDEL.
Over 10,000 resources for computing

DLESE (Digital Library for Earth System Education)
Funded by the US National Science Foundation, DLESE provides learners and educators at all levels with access to materials to support Earth system science education. The collection includes lesson plans, maps, images, data sets, assessment activities, curricula and online courses. The site also provides support services to help users effectively create, use and share OER, as well as communication networks to facilitate interactions and collaborations across the field of earth science.
Over 25,000 learning objects for the earth sciences, available under a custom open licence

EEVL (Enhanced and Evaluated Virtual Library)
Aims to provide access to quality networked engineering, mathematics and computing resources, and be the UK national focal point for online access to information in these subjects. It is run by a team of information specialists from a number of universities and institutions in the UK, led by Heriot Watt University. EEVL's target audience is students, staff and researchers in higher and further education, as well as anyone else working, studying or looking for information in Engineering, Mathematics and Computing. EEVL Xtra allows users to cross-search a further 20 databases.
Over 10,000 resources for engineering, mathematics and computing
N.B. Users will be charged a fee to access some content

HEAL (Health Education Assets Library)
Part of the US National Science Foundation's National Science Digital Library Project, the goal of the project is to create a collection of digital teaching and learning resources for medical students and professionals. Users can search the main Reviewed Collection, a collection of materials awaiting review and 12 affiliated collections. Users can submit materials for review and possible inclusion in the main collection. HEAL is hosted by the University of Utah, UCLA and the Unversity of Oklahoma.
21,691 resources for medecine

Humbal Humanities Hub
Part of the UK's Resource Discovery Network, and hosted by the University of Oxford, Humbal is dedicated to discovering, evaluating and cataloguing online resources in the humanities. Resources include educational materials, and links to institutions, academic research projects and companies offering educational software. Materials are submitted by users and reviewed and catalogued by on-site staff. Humbal also maintains a Virtual Training Suite of subject-based self-learning Internet skills tutorials.
Resources for 33 humanities subjects; 10 online tutorials

Part of the US National Science Foundation's National Science Digital Library Project, iLumina is a digital library of sharable undergraduate teaching materials for chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics and computer science. Resources range from small learning objects, such as individual images and video clips, to entire courses and several virtual collections. Metadata captures both technical and education-specific information about each resource. Users may contribute their own resources. iLumina was developed by the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Collegis, Inc., Virginia Tech, Georgia State University, Grand Valley State University and the College of New Jersey.
Over 1,500 resources for science, mathematics and computing

NEEDS (National Engineering Education Delivery System)
A digital library of learning resources for engineering education. NEEDS provides web-based access to a database of learning resources where learners and instructors can search for, locate, download and comment on resources to aid their learning or teaching process. It is possible to search for resources suitable for mobile devices (so-called "Learning Everywhere" resources). NEEDS also supports a multi-tier review system for resources, from an industry-sponsored national award competition, to user-based reviews of individual learning resources.
1,220 resources for science, engineering and mathematics at the higher education level
N.B. Users will be charged a fee to access some content

NSDL (National Science Digital Library)
Created by the US National Science Foundation to provide organized access to high quality resources and tools that support innovations in teaching and learning at all levels of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. NSDL provides an organized point of access to content that is aggregated from a variety of other digital libraries, NSF-funded projects, and NSDL-reviewed web sites. It also provides access to services and tools that enhance the use of this content in a variety of contexts. NSDL is designed primarily for school-level educators, but anyone can access and search the library at no cost. Access to most of the resources is free; however, some content providers require a nominal fee or subscription to retrieve their specific resources.
Resources for science, technology, engineering and mathematics in 554 collections
N.B. Users will be charged a fee to access some content

SeSDL (Scottish electronic Staff Development Library)
A web-based resource centre designed to encourage the sharing and reuse of staff development materials. The main focus of the materials is the use of ICT in teaching and learning. Staff developers can assemble components in order to build customised courses. Tools are being provided which can be used to customise material in the Library to the specific "look-and-feel" of individual institutions. Users can also add materials to the Library. The SeSDL is a collaborative project of the Universities of Edinburgh, Paisley and Strathclyde.
298 staff development materials
N.B. Access to materials restricted to staff of Scottish Higher Education institutions; other users may browse material descriptions

SMETE Digital Library
A dynamic online library and portal of services from the US SMETE Open Federation for teachers and students. Users can access teaching and learning materials, as well as join an expanding community of science, math, engineering and technology explorers of all ages and levels of education. Students have access to resources for independent study, while instructors can find learning materials to use in the classroom.
15,885 resources for science, technology, engineering and mathematics

Regional and institutional repository initiatives

CAREO (Campus Alberta Repository of Learning Objects)
A project supported by Alberta Learning that has as its primary goal the creation of a searchable, Web-based collection of multidisciplinary teaching materials for educators in Alberta Province and beyond. The collection is made up of materials submitted by project members and reviewed by an editorial board.
4,132 resources

CLOE (Co-operative Learning Object Exchange)
A collaboration betweeen Ontario univeristies and colleges for the development, sharing and reuse of multimedia-rich learning resources. CLOE is developing a "virtual market economy" for learning objects. The virtual market encourages collaboration across institutions to pool ideas and co-ordinate development: the most successful resources - those re-used the most - provide the most exchange credit for the institutions developing them. Resources only used by the original developers do not accrue exchange credits, thus providing a substantial incentive for collaboration. Metadata are created by submitting users.
Materials available under Creative Commons licences
N.B. Restricted to staff and students of publically funded Canadian universities

Fathom Archive
Fathom Knowledge Network Inc., founded by Columbia University, launched in the spring of 2000 with the goal of providing high quality educational resources to a global audience through the Internet. The Fathom academic consortium grew to include 14 leading educational and cultural institutions. The website ceased operations in March 2003, as part of a reorganization of Columbia's digital media activities. The Fathom Archive enables users to continue to access the complete range of free content developed for Fathom by its member institutions, including lectures, articles, interviews, exhibits and free seminars.
Resources include 96 seminars, generally Copyright''
N.B. Users must pay to access some resources

IDEAS (Interactive Dialogue with Educators from Across the State)
Created for educators in the State of Wisconsin, but available to all, the collection is made up of high quality web-based resources, including lesson plans, teaching resources and professional development resources, sorted by grade/level of education and subject, selected by teams of Wisconsin educators and aligned to State educational standards.
510 resources at the higher education level

Maricopa Learning eXchange
An electronic warehouse for the exchange of ideas, examples and resources (represented as "packages") that support student learning at the Maricopa Community Colleges. Anyone from anywhere can browse and search the warehouse. Each "package" is represented by a descriptive "packing slip" that includes the name of the package creator, college(s) that were involved in developing it, contact information, a description, links to web sites associated with the package, and a collection of media attachments that include images, documents, spreadsheets, movie clips, etc.
1,355 "packages", available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial licence

University of Mauritius VCILT (Virtual Centre for Innovative Learning Technologies) Learning Objects Repository
A project to build a web site where learning resources from the University of Mauritius and from the Internet are gathered for later use. Permanent University lecturers are automatically registered in the LOR and can submit resources. Resources are available in English and French.
476 resources

University of California eScholarship Repository
A repository of academic research output, including working papers and postprints of previously published, peer-reviewed articles, and seminar materials, selected and deposited by individual University of California units and faculty. The repository is a service of the California Digital Library and is powered by the Berkeley Electronic Press. The repository is Open Archives Compliant.
10,810 papers

Wisc-Online (Wisconsin Online Resource Center)
A digital library of objects developed primarily by faculty from the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) and produced by multimedia technicians who create the learning objects for the online environment. Objects are freely accessible to all WTCS faculty for use in classroom or online applications. Other colleges, universities and consortia around the world may apply to use the library.
2,041 resources, Copyright Wisc-Online
N.B. Users outside the Wisconsin Technical College System need to apply for permission to access resources

Subject-specific regional and institutional repositories

A project of Brown University's Computer Graphics Research Group to create a set of exemplary Web-based learning objects (Java applets) that teach concepts in introductory computer graphics at the college and graduate level. Learning objects are characterized by their flexibility, interactivity, hypertextual curriculum frameworks, and use of explorable 2D and 3D worlds. Users can download complete Java applets, or build their own from the components collection. The project also publishes the results of its research into creating useful learning objects, and is working toward the creation of a complete Design Strategy Handbook.
71 java applets for science and mathematics

GEODE (Global Education Online Depository & Exchange)
Maintained by the University of Wisconsin System's Institute for Global Studies, GEODE provides users with access to multimedia instructional resources for Global Studies. Users can search by country, region, file format and language, as well as key word. They may also submit their own resources.
Over 130 resources for global studies

LoLa Exchange
The aim of the LoLa project is to help staff at Wesleyan University keep track of the Learning Objects that they are developing, and to present them in a common environment. LoLa will allow staff to discover materials developed by other faculty, and provide opportunities for collaboration within the academic disciplines on the Wesleyan campuses that have begun to develop and use Learning Objects. LoLa is also the home to a collection of Information Literacy Learning Objects that are being developed as part of a collaborative Information Literacy Project that Wesleyan, Trinity, and Connecticut Colleges are working on.
42 resources, with a particular bias towards information literacy

Individual repository initiatives

A Learning Objects Repository focused on development and cooperation for development, with a strong commitment to Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D), created by Ismael Pena of the Open University of Catalonia.
5 learning objects for ICT4D, available under a Creative Commons licence

Back to top

OER development and publishing initiatives

Institutional initiatives

Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative (OLI)
A collection of “cognitively informed”, openly available and free online courses and course materials that enact instruction for an entire course. The project adds to online education the crucial elements of instructional design grounded in cognitive theory, formative evaluation for students and faculty, and iterative course improvement based on empirical evidence. A primary objective is to build a community of use that will play an important role in ongoing course development. The courses are developed in a modular fashion to allow faculty at a variety of institutions to deliver the courses as designed, or to modify the content and sequence to fit their needs.
8 courses, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial licence

Open University (UK) OpenLearn
A project to make a selection of the UK Open University's learning materials available free of charge to educators and learners around the world. The OpenLearn web site was launched in October 2006. The Open University has drawn on its experience in supported open learning to provide an environment that contains high quality learning materials, together with a range of learning support and informal community building tools, including online discussion forums. The site has two parts:
LearningSpace: Provides a first selection of Open University learning materials that are freely available for learners to use for their own study, away from any formal teaching environment. Learning materials cover academic subjects, professional development and study skills development.
LabSpace: Described as "the experimental zone for OpenLearn", LabSpace is designed as a community-led site, primarily for educators, providing a range of online tools to foster the concept of sharing and re-use of materials.
19 units in 11 topics, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence

Sofia Open Content Initiative
An open content publishing initiative launched by the Foothill - De Anza Community College District, which promotes faculty and institutional sharing of community college-level course materials. Faculty from community colleges and four-year universities who have developed exemplary course materials, and are willing to share it openly with others, are encouraged to contribute content to Sofia.
8 courses, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence

Subject-specific institutional initiatives

Website of the alumni of ArsDigita University (ADU), a one-year, intensive post-baccalaureate program in Computer Science based on the undergraduate course of study at MIT. The programme was forced to shut down in 2001, but the course materials are available on the site for free use.
13 computer science courses, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike licence

Berklee Shares
An electronic publishing initiative of Berklee College of Music. Berklee Shares' goal is to provide free access to faculty-authored Berklee music lessons designed for musicians, music students and music educators. The Berkleeshares.com web site is a library of free music lessons that are available for downloading, listening, viewing or reading.
Music lessons for 5 topics and 8 instruments, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives-NonCommercial licence

PhET (Physics Education Technology)
A suite of Java or Flash simulations for teaching and learning physics from the Physics Education Technology project of the University of Colorado. The simulations are animated, interactive and game-like environments in which students learn through exploration. They emphasise the connections between real life phenomena and the underlying science and seek to make the visual and conceptual models of expert physicists accessible to students. Findings from prior research and student testing are incorporated into the design. The simulations run directly from the website. Users can also download and install the entire website on to any local machine for use offline. A guide details how the simulations can be best used to support both in-class teaching and individual learning. Simulations are also available in Spanish.
49 simulations for physics

Virtual Courseware Project
A project of the US National Science Foundation and California State University to create interactive, online simulations for the life science laboratory or for earth science field studies. The activities are designed to enhance an existing curriculum and include online assessments. They can be used by school and college level students.
18 labs and simulations for the life and earth sciences, Copyright Virtual Courseware Project, All rights reserved

Open courseware initiatives

Fulbright Economics Teaching Program OpenCourseWare
Fulbright Economics Teaching Program OCW will provide access to course materials (syllibi, lecture notes, reading lists, problem sets etc.) in English and Vietnamese for all FETP courses. FETP is a partnership of the University of Economics, Ho Chi Minh City and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. FETP is regarded as Vietnam’s leading public policy teaching centre. Its programmes incorporate economics, management, technology and law.
37 economics courses, available under a Creative Commons FETP Licence (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike)

John Hopkins School of Public Health OpenCourseWare
JHSPH OCW provides access to course materials (syllibi, lecture notes, reading lists etc.) for John Hopkins' most popular courses. Courses are also being translated into simplified and traditional Chinese by OOPS.
17 public health courses, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence

Keio University Open Courseware
A member of the Japan OCW Alliance, Keio Open Courseware is openly available educational content from Keio University’s courses, including syllabi and lecture notes, in both English and Japanese.
12 courses, Copyright Keio University

Kyoto-U OpenCourseWare
A member of the Japan OCW Alliance, Kyoto University OCW is a free and open publication of course materials in both Japanese and English. The goal of the OCW@KU Project is to transmit educational information from Kyoto University to the rest of the world, and through this, contribute to the improvement of educational environments not only in Japan but also throughout the world. Kyoto-U aims to provide support to universities, particularly those in Japan, starting up similar projects.
44 courses, Copyright Kyoto University

MIT OpenCourseWare
The first OpenCourseWare initiative. MIT OCW is a free and open website offering high quality teaching and learning materials, organized as courses, and created by Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty for their own classroom teaching. For any given course, the materials convey the parameters of the course’s subject matter and pedagogy, ideally representing a substantially complete set of all the materials used in the course. Some courses also have video lectures. The OCW initiative has two goals:
provide free, searchable, access to MIT's course materials for educators, students, and self-learners around the world;
extend the reach and impact of MIT OCW and the “opencourseware” concept.
Mirror sites make MIT OCW available to users in Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese.
1,265 courses, available under the Creative Commons MIT OCW licence (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike, with some exceptions)

Osaka University Open Courseware
A member of the Japan OCW Alliance, Osaka Open Courseware is a collection of Osaka University's educational materials used in the courses taught at the University. Courses available reflect the University's bias towards the sciences and are available in Japanese and English.
30 science, technology, engineering and mathematics courses, Copyright Osaka University

ParisTech OpenCourseWare
A collection of teaching and learning materials, created by the faculty of the 11 French engineering schools that make up the ParisTech consortium, and used for their own classroom teaching. The research and teaching at the 11 institutions is complementary and cover virtually all sectors of the various engineering sciences. Course materials are mainly in French, although the site interface is also available in English and Spanish.
1,152 resources, mainly for engineering; no standard copyright licence for all materials

Rai CourseWare
A collection of educational materials used in the courses taught at the 21 Indian campuses of the Rai Foundation.
58 courses
N.B. There is no copyright information on the materials. The site asks that educational institutions wishing to use Rai CourseWare for their students can do so but must publish an acknowledgement to Rai Foundation Colleges as "Source".

Tokyo Tech Open Course Ware
A member of the Japan OCW Alliance, Tokyo Tech OCW is a platform maintained by Tokyo Institute of Technology for providing free access to course materials in English and Japanese for users around the world. The initiative aims to release Tokyo Tech's high-level science and technology educational resources as the world's public property.
Courses in 58 science, technology and engineering subjects, Copyright Tokyo Institute of Technology

Tufts University OpenCourseWare
Tufts OCW provides access to course materials, including syllibi, lecture notes and reading lists. The initial offering relects the University's strength in the life sciences, and demonstrates a multidisciplinary approach and international perspective.
15 courses, with a particular bias towards life sciences, available under the Creative Commons Tufts OCW licence (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike, with some exceptions)

University of Tokyo OpenCourseWare
A member of the Japan OCW Alliance, University of Tokyo OCW is a free and open publication of course calendars, syllabi, educational notes and texts, in both Japanese and English. UT OCW plans to add 10 new courses every year.
13 courses, available under a custom open licence, similar to Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike, although with some restricted materials

Utah State University OpenCourseWare
A free and open educational resource offering high quality materials that are used in the teaching of undergraduate and graduate subjects at USU. Materials are available on the Internet, free of charge, to any user anywhere in the world. The initial offering has focused on content that enables users to build local capacity in key areas, including irrigation engineering, instructional design and agriculture. The initiative also aims to catalyze the growth of communities of learners around USU's OpenCourseWare.
23 courses, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence

Waseda University OpneCourseWare
A member of the Japan OCW Alliance, Waseda OCW is a collection of Osaka University's educational materials, in both Japanese and English, used in the courses taught at the University. Users can also access the archives of the Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum and that of Aizu Museum.
14 computer science and asian studies courses, available under a Creative Commons licence

University of the Western Cape open courseware - under development
The South African University of the Western Cape's open coursware initiative will provide access to course materials (syllibi, lecture notes, exam papers etc.). The model is slightly different to the rest of the open courseware initiatives in this section: the principal target audience will be the university's own staff and students, and funding for the project will have to be covered in the university's budget.
Courses will be available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike licence

Videos and podcasts

Berkeley on iTunes U and webcast.berkeley
The University of California at Berkeley has maintained a public podcasting site for several years (webcast.berkeley), and has been podcasting courses since last fall. Lectures will now also be available on iTunes. Users can download lectures individually to subscribe to a semester of podcasts. Berkeley is the first university to distribute all materials through iTunes to the general public, rather than restricting them to students and alumni.
38 webcasts and podcasts on webcast.berkeley from the Spring 2006 semester, with archived material going back to Fall 2001; lectures from almost 30 courses on iTunes

Stanford on iTunes
Free access to a wide range of Stanford-related digital audio content via the iTunes Music Store. The project includes two sites:
a public site, which includes Stanford faculty lectures, learning materials, music, sports reports etc.
a restricted-access site for Stanford students, delivering course materials and support content.
N.B. Course content generally restricted to Stanford community

University of Arizona Searchable Video Library (SVL)
Designed to increase accessibility of course content for University of Arizona staff and students, this web site is also available to the general public. The SVL provides access to video presentations and taped class lectures. Videos are transcribed by state-of-the-art voice recognition or closed-captioning so that the spoken text of the presentation can also be searched.
41 courses, Copyight University of Arizona
N.B. Some courses password protected at request of instructor

Individual initiatives

Founded in 1997 by David L. Heiserman to provide free, quality course materials over the Internet for a global audience of self learners, covering areas of professional need, as well as critical academic areas. Courses are built from materials that are readily available elsewhere on the Web as open content.
Approx 100 courses, Copyright Free-Ed.Net, All rights reserved

Light and Matter physics and astronomy resources
Created by Benjamin Crowell, physics and astronomy professor at Fullerton College in southern California, the site offers a series of introductory physics textbooks, free to download, some astronomy learning objects, and some course materials for Dr Crowell's astronomy and physics own courses. Some resources have partial French translations.
8 physics textbooks, 3 astronomy learning objects and materials from 5 physics and astronomy courses, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike licence

Managing the Digital Enterprise
An educational site created by Michael Rappa, Professor of Technology Management and Director of the Open Courseware Laboratory in the College of Management at North Carolina State University. The site surveys the many opportunities and challenges managers face in an increasingly digital world, and is open to students and instructors alike. The site is divided into fifteen discussion topics, or “modules”. Each module has the same basic structure: a description of the topic that highlights the issues at hand, plus several sub-sections with links to a variety of educational resources. The modules are updated continuously throughout the year, with new resources added. The site contains over 120 web pages and over 1,200 external links to openly available resources on the Internet.
1 course on technology management, Copyright Michael Rappa

PEOI (Professional Education Organization International)
Created by John Petroff, a retired economics professor, PEOI is a volunteer-based project that aims to provide online course content for professional university-level education to improve the skills of aspiring professionals. Anyone can use PEOI course content free of charge. PEOI also offers a range of services such as testing, grading, grade maintenance and attestation of course completion, for a fee to cover costs. Content is available in a range of languages, including English, French, Spanish, Russian, German and Arabic.
7 completed courses (not all available in all languages), available under a custom open licence - Education Material Universal Common Licence

Collaborative development projects

The Connexions project at Rice University has created an open environment for collaboratively developing, freely sharing, and rapidly publishing scholarly content on the Web. Connexions hosts a “Content Commons” of electronic course material divided into small “knowledge chunks” – modules – that connect into larger courses. Anyone is free to contribute materials, or take existing materials, adapt them to their needs and contribute them back to the Content Commons. Materials exist in English, Chinese, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish and Thai.
2,700 modules and 115 courses, available under a Creative Commons Attribution licence

EOE (Educational Object Economy)
A community of educators, developers and businesses working together to use, create and collaborate on educational Java objects on the web. Includes a library of Java applets, sorted by subject.
3,312 Java applets

Free Curricular Center
Aims to be a focal point for the development and sharing of textbooks, instructor guides and other educational materials. The Center helps its participants work together to create materials for the subjects in which they have expertise. They do this by providing online tools to help educators collaborate successfully and by providing a space on the Internet where students can have free access to their finished products. FCC works on a system of academic subject committees, made up of subject-specialist volunteers. A committee may write a textbook chapter by chapter, after first devising a table of contents. Alternatively it may take a classic work in the subject that has entered the public domain, format and annotate it to produce a "Twenty-First Century Revision" of the work.
7 textbooks (mathematics, philosophy and physics) dedicated to the public domain or available under an open licence

A wiki-based learning community for the creation and use of open content learning materials, courses and textbooks. Wikiversity is currently hosted by Wikibooks, although a formal proposal has been submitted to make it an independent project of the Wikimedia Foundation. The ultimate aim is to build an electronic institution of learning that will be used to test the limits of the wiki model for developing electronic learning resources, for teaching, and for conducting research and publishing results. Wikiversity has portals in 17 different languages.
Courses in 10 different "schools", available under the GNU Free Documentation Licence

Subject-specific collborative development projects

e-LEE (e-Learning Tools for Electrical Engineering)
A project of the European Community SOCRATES programme, the Association for the Promotion of e-Learning Tools for Electrical Engineering aims to develop, disseminate and evalute multimedia learning tools for engineering teaching, especially electrical engineering. The Association currently has four institutional members, in Belgium, France, Portugal and Romania. Materials are consequently available in French, Portuguese and Romanian, as well as English.
4 electrical engineering tutorials, Copyright e-lee.net

Harvey Project
Launched in July 1998 with the goal of empowering individual faculty to create their own physiology courses, using high-quality, peer-reviewed, highly interactive learning objects. The project is an international collaboration of educators, researchers, physicians, students, programmers, instructional designers and graphic artists, and is hosted by Wayne State University.
12 physiology learning objects, available under a custom open licence similar to the GNU Public Licence

Back to top


Tools for OER creation

An open source OER management system, developed by Utah State University's Center for Open and Sustainable Learning and available from SourceForge. eduCommons is designed to support MIT-type open courseware projects. It provides the functionality to develop and manage an open access collection, including a workflow process that leads users through uploading materials into a repository, the copyright clearance process, reassembly of materials into courses, a quality assurance process, and final publication of the materials. The front end of eduCommons is designed to visually align with other OCWs, while the back end architecture allows all resources to be stored as individual learning objects in order to facilitate easy reuse later on. eduCommons now also includes the social software previously distributed under the name Open Learning Support (OLS). OLS seeks to facilitate free and open educational support opportunities that scale to extremely large numbers of learners.
Available under the GNU General Public Licence from SourceForge

Open Courseware Laboratory
Founded at North Carolina State University in 1998 by Professor Michael Rappa, the mission of the Open Courseware Lab is to invent novel ways of using the Internet to promote the open exchange of knowledge within the academic community. This includes the provision of research and course materials that are made freely available for non-commercial use. The Lab also provides assistance to NC State University faculty and staff for the development and operation of open educational Web sites and with conducting research online.
Provides support to 21 open projects at North Carolina State University

A free collaboration platform for educators. OpenCourse.org hosts virtual communities that develop, evaluate and use open, non-proprietary learning objects in their discipline. Anyone is free to join an existing community, start a collobaration of their own or use OpenCourse.org services for their own developer community. OpenCourse.org claims to provide the necessary tools and resources for a group of faculty developers to go from concept to collaboration in half an hour or less.
Hosts 5 collaborative projects, including the Harvey Project; no information about copyright, although all projects must be "open"

A collaborative authoring environment using wiki technology in conjuction with eXe (eLearning XHTML editor) for recontextualising and customising open e-content with the ability to export resources using interoperability specifications (IMS & SCORM). The initiative also aims to provide a practical solution for content authors working on the Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth (VUSSC) initiative to facilitate recontextualisation of materials, and to create an environment to facilitate future development of the import/export functionality between eXe and Mediawiki software. Wikieducator is open for anyone to participate.
Wikieducator content available under a Creative Commons Attribution licence; eXe available under the GNU General Public Licence

Intellectual property and copyright tools

Academic Free License
The Open Source Initiative's open license for original creative works. Works licensed under the Academic Free License (current Version 3.0) may be reproduced, modified to create a derivative work, distributed, and performed and displayed publically.

Creative Commons
Founded by Stanford Law Professor Lawrence Lessig, Creative Commons licenses provide a flexible range of protections and freedoms for authors, educators and artists. It builds upon the “all rights reserved" concept of traditional copyright to offer a voluntary "some rights reserved" approach". Users can choose a between 6 different licenses, with a range of restrictions to use, and written in clear, non-legalistic language.

Fair Use Network
Part of the Free Expression Policy Project (FEPP) at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, the Fair Use Network provides information about copyright and Intellectual Property law by offering a range of basic legal guides. These include introductions to copyright and fair use, and a glossary and index of legal terms.
N.B. It is oriented towards US copyright law

GNU Free Documentation Licence
The Free Software Foundation's open licence alternative to "all rights reserved" copyright, intended for use on manuals, textbooks and other documents. The licence assures everyone the effective freedom to copy and redistribute a document, with or without modifications, either commercially or noncommercially.

Tools for location and retrieval of OER

DLorn (Distributed Learning Object Repository Network)
Aims to be a "one-stop source for learning object syndication". DLorn harvests and stores learning object metadata from across the web.

An information retrieval resource from the University of Michigan's Digital Library Production Service. OAIster harvests digital resource metadata from registered institutions, to create a collection of freely available, previously difficult-to-access resources, easily searchable by anyone.
6,341,619 records from 604 institutions

Stingy Scholar's Wayfaring map of university podcasts, webcasts and OCWs
Created by Wynn Williamson, this map of the world allows users to link to OCW, podcasts and webcasts by locating the institutions offering them in physical space. The map provides an unusual view on the world of OER and alternative to regular listings. Users can add their own "waypoints" (links on the map) to other institutional OCW, podcast and webcast initiatives.
Links to 65 institutions offering OCW, podcasts and webcasts

Learning Object Repository software

Commonwealth of Learning LOR software
Institutions or governments in Commonwealth countries can establish a shared repository of learning content by accessing free open source software from COL's LOR. COL is hosting the software and is collaborating with the African Virtual University, who will upload and make available open source courseware that Commonwealth countries can access free of charge. COL anticipates partnering with other groups as awareness of the LOR grows.
Available under the GNU General Public Licence

Metadata standards

The CanCore Metadata Initiative assists project implementers and indexers in the development of high-quality systems and records to support the use and reuse of digital learning objects, by developing a set of best practice recommendations for using the Learning Object Metadata (LOM) standard. The site gathers documents, presentations and other resources related to the Initiative in both English and French. CanCore is funded by the Multimedia Learning Group of Industry Canada, and supported by TéléUniversité and Athabasca Univeristy.
Best practice recommendations available under a Creative Commons Attribution licence

CETIS (Centre for Educational Technology Interoperability Standards)
Represents UK higher and further education institutions on international learning technology standards initiatives. The site has some useful background articles, including an introduction to learning technology standards, and why they are important. CETIS is home to the UK Learning Object Metadata (UK LOM Core).

Dublin Core Metadata Initiative
The Dublin Core Metadata Initiative is the body responsible for the ongoing maintenance of Dublin Core - an interoperable metadata standard. DCMI is currently hosted by the OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc., a not-for-profit international library consortium. The work of DCMI is carried out by contributors from all over the world. DCMI is organized into working groups to address particular problems and tasks. These working groups are open to all interested parties. The site also has a useful glossary of metadata terms.

IEEE Learning Technology Standards Committee (LTSC)
The IEEE Learning Technology Standards Committee develops accredited technical standards, recommended practices, and guides for learning technology, including the Learning Object Metadata (LOM) standard.

SCORM (Shareable Content Object Reference Model) 2004
A collection of standards and specifications adapted from multiple sources to provide a comprehensive suite of e-learning capabilities that enable interoperability, accessibility and reusability of Web-based learning content. SCORM 2004 was developed by the US Government's Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative.

Translation and localisation initiatives

CORE (China Open Resources for Education)
A consortium of Chinese universities with the mission to enhance quality education in China. CORE has introduced and promoted OER (most notably MIT OCW) in Chinese universities. A major activity is the translation of institutional OCW initiatives into Mandarin, adapting them where necessary, and making them available through Chinese mirror sites. CORE also shares Chinese Quality OCW (CQOCW) with universities internationally through its website.
109 MIT OCW courses available in Mandarin on mirror site under the Creative Commons MIT OCW Licence (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike, with some exceptions)
10 John Hopkins OCW courses available in Mandarin on mirror site under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence
Links to 451 Chinese Quality OCW courses
23 Premier Courseware learning objects

OOPS (Opensource Opencourseware Prototype System) - simplified Chinese and traditional Chinese sites
A volunteer-based grassroots project, created by Lucifer Chu, a Chinese translator, and launched in February 2004. OOPS aims to localize MIT's OCW - and other institutional course publication initiatives - into both simplified and traditional Chinese, so that all Chinese people can access OER.
Simplified Chinese mirror sites for MIT OCW, John Hopkins OCW and Utah State University OCW
Traditional Chinese mirror sites for MIT OCW, John Hopkins OCW and Utah State University OCW
Site for volunteer translators

A consortium of universities that aims to provide leadership in the development of the Information Society in Hispanic university education. Universia has entered into a formal agreement with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to translate OCW courses in Spanish and Portuguese. In addition to translated courses, the Universia OCW portal offers information about OCW in Spanish and Portuguese, translations of MIT's monthly OCW newsletter, information about Creative Commons licenses, and an online discussion forum for Spanish-speaking OCW users.
105 courses on the Spanish site, available under the Creative Commons MIT OCW licence (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike, with some exceptions)
Courses from 29 departments on the Portuguese site, available under the Creative Commons MIT OCW licence

Technology for OER delivery

eGranary Digital Library
Part of the WiderNet Project at the University of Iowa, the eGranary Digital Library provides digital educational resources to institutions in developing countries with little or no Internet connectivity. Through a process of garnering permissions, copying Web sites, and delivering them to intranet Web servers inside partner institutions, the project delivers millions of media rich digital teaching and learning tools can be instantly accessed by patrons over local area networks at no cost.
Over 2.7 million items republished
N.B. Material accessible on Local Area Networks of partner institutions in developing countries (principally at the moment in Africa)

Back to top

Writing on OER

Background articles and papers on OER

Sally M. Johnstone (2005). Open Educational Resources serve the world. In: Educause Quarterly, Volume 28(3), No.3 2005.

Peter N. Materu (2004). Open Source Courseware: a baseline study. The World Bank.

George Siemens (2003). Why we should share learning resources. Available at elearnspace, first published 29 May 2003.

Derek Keats (2003). Collaborative development of open content: a process model to unlock the potential for African universities. In First Monday, Volume 8(2), February 2003.

Anne H. Moore (2002). Lens on the future: open-source learning. In: Educause Review, Volume 37(5), September/October 2002.

Sally M. Johnstone and Russell Poulin (2002). What is opencourseware and why does it matter? In: Change, Volume 34(4), July/August 2002.

Articles and papers on MIT OpenCourseWare

Susan Smith Nash (2003). MIT OpenCourseWare revisited. In: Xplanazine, 10 November 2003.

David Diamond (2003). MIT everyware. In: Wired Magazine, Volume 11(9), September 2003.

Florence Olsen (2002). MIT's open window. In: The Chronicle of Higher Education, 6 December 2002.

Steven R. Lerman and Shigeru Miyagawa (2002). Open Course Ware: a case study in institutional decision making. In: Academe, Volume 88(5), September/October 2002.

William J. Salter (2002). How MIT's OpenCourseWare will change e-learning. In: Learning Circuits, June 2002.

Phillip D. Long (2002). OpenCourseWare: simple idea, profound implications. In Campus Technology, January 2002.

Articles and papers on learning objects and repositories

Susan E. Metros and Kathleen Bennett (2004). Learning objects in higher education: the sequel. ECAR Research Bulletin, Volume 2004(11), 25 May 2005.

Joseph Hart and Bob Albrecht (2004). Instructional repositories and referatories. ECAR Research Bulletin, Volume 2004(5), 2 March 2004.

Susan E. Metros and Kathleen Bennett (2002). Learning objects in higher education. ECAR Research Bulletin, Volume 2002(19), 1 October 2002.

Mike Sosteric and Susan Hesemeier (2002). When is a learning object not an object: a first step towards a theory of learning objects. In: International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, Volume 3(2), October 2002.

Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology (2002). Special issue on learning objects. Volume 28(3), Fall/automne 2002.

David Wiley, ed. (2000). The instructional use of learning objects: online version.

Articles and papers on copyright and intellectual property

Derek Keats (2006). Implications of the NonCommercial (NC) restriction for educational content licensed under a Creative Commons license.

William McGeveran and William W. Fisher (2006). The digital learning challenge: obstacles to educational uses of copyrighted material in the digital age. Berkman Center Research Publication No. 2006-09.

John Sutherland (2006). The ideas interview: Lawrence Lessig. In: The Guardian, 16 January 2006.

Veronica Diaz (2005). Distributed learning meets intellectual property policy: who owns what? In: Campus Technology, March 2005.

Lawrence Liang (2004). Guide to open content licenses. Rotterdam: Piet Zwart Institute.

Rodney Petersen (2003). Ownership of online course material. ECAR Research Bulletin, Volume 2003(1), 7 January 2003.

Jan Newmarch (2001). Lessons from open source: intellectual property and courseware. In: First Monday, Volume 6(6), June 2001.

Robert Ault, Phillip Eddy, Scott Risner, Kyle Robbins and Nick Watt (no date). Creative Commons: an overview for beginners.

Blogs on OER

Open up! Utah State University Center for Open and Sustainable Learning

Back to top

Project Overview  |  Web Publication  |  Forums  |  Links