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Open Educational Resources

16 Open Learning Resources that Go Beyond the Textbook

The concept of "open learning" encompasses far more than what's found in a textbook. These sources provide other kinds of resources that will boost your students' learning.

student working on laptop

BioDigital
An interactive 3D model of the human body, which can be viewed through a browser or a virtual reality headset.

Boulevard
Leading museums share their collections through virtual, augmented and mix reality.

Carnegie Mellon University Open Learning Initiative
Dozens of free and low-cost college-level courses with classroom-tested materials and an interactive online environment. The $25-per-academic-course version includes all resources, along with free instructor tools, such as LMS integration, a learning dashboard and gradebook, and content sequencing and combining.

Digital Commons Network
Free, full-text scholarly articles from hundreds of universities and colleges around the world. The network includes peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, dissertations, working papers, conference proceedings and other scholarly work.

Engineering Technology
Simulations for learning, which can be embedded into online courses or used in the classroom, developed by Eastern Iowa Community Colleges.

HippoCampus.org
Videos in 13 subject areas, including math, natural science, social science and humanities; one of the NROC Project programs (covered below).

Khan Academy
Concise video lectures on math, science and, increasingly, other subjects, including computing, arts and humanities, and economics and finance.

Mathispower4u
Six-thousand-plus ad-free "mini-lessons" and videos for math, developed by Phoenix College math instructor James Sousa.

The NROC Project
A collaboration of member institutions provides tools and courses for developmental English and math, managed out of the Monterey Institute for Technology and Education. NROC stands for "network," "resources," "open" and "college and career." (It doesn't get much more relevant than that.)

Open Data
Square one for finding and properly using publicly available data in student projects.

Open Heritage
Part of Google Arts & Culture, allowing students to explore iconic locations in 3D.

OpenLearn
Free resources, including complete courses, made available by Open University — definitely MOOCish before MOOCs were cool.

PhET
Interactive math and science simulations, created in open source and vetted by experts at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL)
The ultimate go-to for resources and instruction on writing.

UCI Open
A service of University of California, Irvine faculty, this collection offers a full curriculum of recorded lectures for multiple subjects; among the most popular is OpenChem, which contains video lectures and other materials for nearly every course needed to achieve an undergraduate chemistry degree.

Why U
Animated tutorials covering math concepts for higher ed and K-12.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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