Skip to main content

Research Guides

Open, Free & Affordable Course Materials

Selective list of major OER repositories, sources of open university courseware, and zero-to-low cost material licensed by the University of Toronto.

Introduction

This is a selective list of major repositories of open educational resources such as open textbooks, open courseware, and other multimedia learning materials that can be used by students and faculty. 

  • OER stands for Open Educational Resources. They take many forms, including open textbooks and other learning content including animations, tutorials, videos, journal articles, and quizzes. OERs can be used for teaching, learning, and research, and are usually available under a Creative Commons license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation, and redistribution by others.
  • Open courseware is an entire course, often at the college or university level, that can be accessed without charge over the Internet.  
  • Open textbooks are mostly peer-reviewed textbooks, at the college or university level, that can be accessed entirely free of charge over the Internet. Often, open textbooks are available to download in modifiable formats that allow instructors to make modifications. The goal behind adapting open textbooks is to significantly reduced student costs.   

 

In order for a resource to qualify as Open Access, users should be able to:

  1. Reuse the content in a wide range of ways (i.e. in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video)
  2. Revise, meaning to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (i.e. translate the content into another language) 
  3. Remix or combine the original or revised content with other open content to create something new 
  4. Redistribute or share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others 
  5. Retain, make, own, and control copies of the content

"The 5Rs of Openness" by David Wiley is licensed under CC BY 4.0

For Students

Use this guide to locate free or lower-cost sources of course materials. For further information on open access repositories, such as OA journal repositories, please see open access support on the Scholarly Communications & Copyright webpage.

For Instructors

Instructors may use this guide to identify free or lower-cost eBooks and course materials for your students. You can then add links to these materials in Quercus, or get in touch with our staff at syllabus.service@library.utoronto.ca for assistance in using UTL's Course Reserves and Syllabus Service

For help creating permanent links to resources you would like to share with students, see this UTL guide.

Note on copyright-protected materials: What if the material you would like to post is copyright-protected? Please refer to the University of Toronto Fair Dealing Guidelines and the Copyright Basics and FAQ that is produced by the University of Toronto legal counsel. These documents provide in-depth information on copyright issues and will help answer questions about if and how much of a copyright-protected work can be shared freely with students or whether permissions should be sought to do so.