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Open Educational Resources: Home

This guide provides information and discovery resources for OER.

Open Educational Resources (OER)

Open Educational Resources (OER) are "teaching, learning, and research materials in any medium, digital or otherwise, that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation, and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions" (2012 Paris OER Declaration). Open Textbooks are free or low-cost substitutes for a traditional textbook. 

Grant Opportunities

White VIVA block letters over blue Virginia shape.Virginia Academic Library Consortium Open Grants for OERs

VIVA Open Grants

As part of VIVA’s Open and Affordable Course Content Programs, VIVA provides two grant opportunities, the VIVA Open Adopt Grants and the VIVA Open Course Grants. These grants encourage the use of open and affordable course content, including textbooks, software, and other course materials, by providing funding for instructors to adopt, adapt, and create course content that can be made available to students for no or very little cost. Grant details, application and award deadlines, and program information can be found on this site. Applications for VIVA Open Course Grants are due February 23, 2021.

VIVA has an agreement with Pressbooks, a WordPress based authoring platform, for the creation of open educational resources (OER) and other Creative Commons licensed content. The VIVA Pressbooks site containing VIVA OER and publishing information.

Finding Open Resources

Quality of OER Can Be an Adoption Barrier

Critically evaluate a resource before adopting it.  Make sure the resource is right for your purpose.


  • Peer Review available or used.
  • The reputation of the author/institution is transparent.
  • Pedagogical methods are sound.
  • Allows for customization or refinement.


  • The content is accurate.
  • Sources are identified and cited.
  • Some alignment with a learning outcome or course objective.
  • The appropriate reading level for your students.


  • High technical quality (clear visuals, high production value).
  • Clear licensing declaration (Creative Commons License present, in the Public Domain, etc.).
  • Licensed to remix or share again.

OER Evaluation Checklist, Sarah Crissinger, CC BY 4.0

Create an OER

Tips for Getting Started Designing for Web Accessibility: This page introduces some basic considerations to help you get started making your user interface design and visual design more accessible to people with disabilities. These tips are good practice to help you meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) requirements. 


Pressbooks: The Open Book Creation Platform:  Pressbooks is simple book production software, built with the web in mind.  Create interactive web books, PDFs for print and ebooks, all from one place. See VIVA information above.

OER Portal


For more information or questions about Open Educational Resources, contact the Scholarly Communications Department at the Jerry Falwell Library.

Recommended Open Textbooks

These are good resources to find items that are peer-reviewed.  This is a place to start looking for an OER for class use.

VIVA Pressbooks

VIVA Pressbooks are items created within Virginia. 


OpenStax is part of Rice University, which is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit charitable corporation. Generously supported by major philanthropic foundations, allows OpenStax research team to conduct cutting-edge research on student learning and improve student success through their resources. 

  • Openly license, 100% free, and adaptable textbooks.
  • Expert Authors: these open-source textbooks are written by professional content developers who are experts in their fields.
  • Standard Scope and Sequence: all textbooks meet the standard scope and sequence requirements, making them seamlessly adaptable into existing courses. 
  • Peer-Reviewed: OpenStax textbooks undergo a rigorous peer-review process. A list of contributors is available with each book.


Math: Pre-algebra, Elementary Algebra, Intermediate Algebra, College Algebra, Algebra & Trigonometry, Pre-calculus, Calculus Vol 1,2, and 3, Introductory Statistics, and Introductory Business Statistics.

Science: Anatomy & Physiology, Astronomy, Biology, Concepts of Biology, Microbiology, Chemistry, Chemistry: Atoms First, College Physics, University Physics Vol 1, 2, and 3.

Social Sciences: American Government, Principles of Economics, Principles of Macro-Economics, Principles of Micro-Economics, Psychology, and Sociology.

Humanities: U.S. History. 

Business: Introduction to Business, Business Ethics, Principles of Accounting (Financial Accounting), Principles of Accounting (Managerial Accounting), Introductory Business Statistics, Principles of Management, Entrepreneurship, Organizational Behavior, Business Law Essentials.

Partnership with Barnes & Noble (for print books at a reasonable price) and Cengage (online homework for a reasonable fee). 

Can integrate into Canvas and Blackboard LMS. 

General OER and Creative Commons Collections

Creative Commons has items that under copyright but the author has given a license to allow the user to know how they can use the resource .

Creative Commons – a collection of Creative Commons licensed materials.

  1. General OER Searching.
  2. Photo/Image Search.
  3. Video Search.
  4. Audio/Music Search.
  5. General Education Search.
  6. Recorded Lectures & Video Tutorial Search.
  7. Open Textbook Search.
  8. Simulation and Animation Search.
  9. Modular Course Components.
  10. Completed Courses.

Teaching Commons – a collection of OERs available through Liberty University Scholars Crossing Institutional Repository, the Digital Commons platform.

Pressbooks Directory - this directory provides an index of OER books published by faculty and librarians who use Pressbooks in higher education. 

OER Resources

These are sites that have cataloged different OER for use in classrooms.

  • VIVA Open - Virginia's Academic Library Consortium OER resource.
  • OER Commons – a search engine that makes various OERs of different levels discoverable.
  • OpenStax – an initiative of Rice University with support from foundations like Hewlett and the Gate’s Foundation (peer-reviewed).
  • MIT Open Courseware – openly published MIT course content that covers the humanities, social sciences, and sciences.
  • MERLOT – a project of the California State University System, contains links to open textbooks from a variety of sources (peer review indicators).
  • BCcampus OpenEd – a collection of open textbooks created by BCcampus.
  • Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) – a collection of peer-reviewed open access books with Creative Commons licenses.
  • InTech – an open access publisher of books and journals in science, technology, and medicine.
  • Libre Texts – a multi-institutional collection of higher learning textbooks.
  • Open Education Network – an aggregation of openly licensed textbooks.
  • Open TextBook Store – a catalog of open textbooks collected by educators to make open textbooks more easily adoptable in courses.
  • OpenStax CNX– an extension of OpenStax, a repository of open-access textbooks and curricular materials.
  • OpenCourse Library - a collection of expertly developed OER courses for Washington State Community Colleges'.
  • Nordic University Health Hub - OER on Health.

Free Simulations and Virtual Labs

The links below are available to use for class.  Please review the site to see if it fits your needs.

Anatomy and Physiology

Virtual Fetal Pig Dissection - Whitman College Biology Department.


Nebraska Astronomy Applet Project - Undergraduate introductory online labs.

SkyServer DR16 - Sloan Digital Sky Survey

GEAS Project - Distance education laboratory 



Energy 3D - Learning to Build a Sustainable World from a grant from the National Science Foundation.

Flowsquare - Free computational fluid dynamics software.

GNURadio - Free & open-source software to implement software radios.

Scilab - Free and open-source software for engineers and scientists.

Reactor Lab - Interactive simulations of chemical reactors for active learning.

Virtual Labs - Indian Institute of Technology Bombay.

Open Simulation Interface - OSI file format.

Verilator - Verilog/SystemVerilog simulator.

Environmental Science

DataONE - Environment and Earth.


ActivEpi Web by David G. Kleinbaum, 2015.


PhET Interactive Simulations for math and science. 

Teaching Geoscience Online - Finding lab activities online.

Jules Verne Voyager - Map manipulative.

Physical Geology 101 - Richard Harwood 2018.

NOVA interactives through PBS.

Virtual Microscope for Earth Sciences  


Public Health Image Library (PHIL) from CDC.

General Microbiology Labs - Sponsored by the University of Wyoming.


Neuroscience Labs - Modular Digital Course in Undergraduate Neuroscience Education at UCLA.

Allen Institute for Brain Science - open data and resources.

Build Your Own Brain - Use? button for assistance.


Molecular Workbench - Visual, Interactive Simulations for Teaching & Learning Science.

Physics Simulations - Customize and share.

CK-12 Exploration Series - Physics and Chemistry Simulations.

The Physics Classroom - For beginning physics students and teachers.

Open Source Physics 

oPhysics: Interactive Physics Simulations


USGS - Science datasets

WOLFRAM Demonstration Projects - Creative Commons Attribution—NonCommercial—ShareAlike 3.0. 

DATA.GOV - U.S. Government open data.

National Science Foundation - Statistics.