Open Source Education Resources: Overview

Discover how open sourced education resources can benefit both students and instructors.


Welcome! This guide will assist you in locating and assessing Open Source educational resources.

What is "Open Source" ?

Per the Dictionary of Communication & Media Studies, Open Source is a concept that "works on the principle of free access to information, including computer software and the practice of user participation – a classic example of online open-source being Wikipedia, which allows users to write their own definitions and make adjustments or alterations to existing entries without prior clearance."

Examples of Open Source resources include:

  • Textbooks
  • Courses & lesson plans
  • Educational games
  • Quizzes & tests
  • Homework assignments
  • Lectures
  • Multimedia

OER - Open Education Resources



OER Commons is an extensive instructional resource toolkit that includes lesson plans, data sets, games, syllabi and much more. Choose by subject discipline or academic level. They even offer training on how to integrate Open Education Resources into your instruction!

How Can Open Educational Resources Be Used?

  • Students can access OERs online for zero cost, download and keep a digital copy, and print or purchase a low-cost hardcopy.
  • Educators can curate, tailor, and share OERs to perfectly suit their curriculum, and share their innovations freely.
  • Academics can disseminate their work to a worldwide audience while still receiving attribution.
  • Institutions can leverage OERs to reduce student out-of-pocket costs.

Source: Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) Open Education Fact Sheet.

Why Use Open Educational Resources?

The Impact of Open Education Resources

Studies conducted at Virginia State University and Houston Community College found that students who used open textbooks often achieved higher grades and lower withdrawal rates than their peers who used traditional textbooks.




Hilton III, J., & Laman, C. 2012. One college’s use of an open psychology textbook. Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning, 27(3), 265-272.

Feldstein, A., Martin, M., Hudson, A., Warren, K., Hilton III, J., & Wiley, D. 2012. Open Textbooks and Increased Student Access and Outcomes. European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning (2).

Understanding OER in Ten Videos

Instructor Librarian

Profile Photo
Lisa Iannucci
One-on-one Zoom appts. available. Email me for more information.
Instructor Librarian
Monmouth University Library
400 Cedar Avenue
West Long Branch, NJ 07764

(732) 571-7560

Subjects: Gender Studies

The High Cost of Textbooks

  1. U.S. PIRG Education Fund and the Student PIRGs. 2014. Fixing the Broken Textbook Market.
  2. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2014. Consumer Price Index Databases.

Graphic: Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) Open Education Fact Sheet.


Creative Commons License
This guide is adapted from the Lansing Community College (LCC) Library Research Guide on Open Educational Resources (OER) by Regina Gong, and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.