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Georgia State University

Professional quality open textbooks…and more….much more…

CC BY NC 2.0 By Vandy CFT

Locating free, high-quality, online learning materials that are licensed for distribution and adaptation for teaching a course can be a challenge.  Currently, there is a huge focus on open textbooks, but sometimes you need other types of material. Listed below are three websites to make the hunt much more doable, and hopefully, enjoyable too!

MERLOT:  Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching

MERLOT is a digital library that offers many options for instructors to incorporate a variety of online learning materials in their courses.  MERLOT indexes more than 40,000 peer reviewed open education resources.  The types of materials include open textbooks, simulations, tutorials, assignments, quizzes, and more. Many of these materials include a creative commons license that allows for distribution and adaptation.  Check the license for each item to make sure it allows for your use.  Last October, MERLOT launched MERLOT II offering many more features for its users.  Find out more about MERLOT II here.

OCW: Open Courseware Consortium

Open Courseware Consortium publishes high quality educational materials organized as courses. Over 75 Universities worldwide contribute to OCW Consortium. Oftentimes, you will find a course already planned out with everything that you need to teach it. You may find syllabi, videos lectures, assignments, exams, projects and much more. Many of these courses contain a creative commons license that allows you to use all or part of the course or to adapt it.  Check the licensing or terms of use for each course to ensure that you are able to use the material as needed.


Sometimes you need music…even for your course.  Under its press kit, Jamendo states that it is “the world’s largest platform for free music in the world.”  There certainly is an abundance of free music here.  You can limit your search to a variety of creative commons licenses.  You can even limit to CC BY, the most lenient of all CC licenses.  Next, describe the type of music you are looking for, and you will be on your way to incorporating music into your next teaching venture.

Don’t stop here.  There’s a world of open educational resources out there just waiting to be discovered!

Here’s a few more resources available through the library to help you find what you need:

Shank, J. D. (2014). Interactive open educational resources : a guide to finding, choosing, and using what’s out there to transform college teaching / John D. Shank. San Francisco, CA : Jossey-Bass, [2014].

Goldberg, E., & LaMagna, M. (2012). Open educational resources in higher education. College & Research Libraries News, 73(6), 334-337.

Okada, A., Connolly, T., Scott, P. J., & ebrary, I. (2012). Collaborative learning 2.0: Open educational resources. Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.