Open Educational Resources

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials, such as instructional videos, images and even simulations, that you may freely use and reuse at no cost. Unlike heavily restricted copyright protected work ("all rights reserved"), OERs have been created by an individual or organization who choose to retain few, if any, rights.. This done in the spirit of open, accessible education to create a better shared humanity.

New at SeattleU: Check out the the Open Education Task Force which explores opportunities for open education and open educational resources (OER) at Seattle University, identifies actions to support those opportunities, and advocates for open education on campus.

horizontal ruleIndicators of "Open"

When looking for free, open access content there are two primary indicators of the rights you have to use that work. Two of the most simple and powerful indicators are the Creative Commons licensing system, and all works in the Public Domain.

Creative Commons are a set of simple copyright licenses built with the inherent notion that knowledge should be shared freely and openly around the world. Read about Creative Commons Licenses and use the resources below to find free content for your courses.

All works published before 1923 are automatically in the public domain, meaning you can use them however you like. Works published after 1923 are a little more complicated. Check out the Digital Copyright Slider to evaluate individual works.

horizontal ruleOpen Educational Resource Finders

There are many websites dedicated to helping you find freely available resources for building course materials, activities and assessments. Click on any of the links below for more information.

OER Commons
National Science Digital Library
Saylor Academy
Khan Academy
PBS Video
PBS LearningMedia


horizontal ruleOpen Books / Journals

The Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) and the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) are both fantastic and powerful search tools for finding Open Access book and journals. Both DOAB and DOAR tap into met-data from numerous sources thus providing some of the most comprehensive resources for finding Open Access content. Many books and journals are available for download in PDF or to read directly online.

Directory of Open Access Books

Directory of Open Access Journals


horizontal ruleFree Images (videos and music too!)

In addition to the freely available resources explicitly shared for teaching and learning, you may also be looking for open access content (images, videos and music) that you are free to use in your course materials. Creative Commons Search is arguably the most powerful tool, as it brings together many different websites for your search. The writers at Medium have compiled a list of freely available (and artistically rich!) photos that you can use in your course content. Lastly, the Canvas Flicker Creative Commons search bar gives you a way to easily embed openly licensed images.

Seattle University Services

Some of the most knowledgeable people on campus who are ready and waiting to help you find free content for your classes are our wonderful Library Liaisons. Check out which librarian covers your subjects and feel free to reach out to them! The Copyright Compliance Coordinator is a fantastic resource on campus for determining public domain or the copyright status of any work you might have.