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Open Educational Resources (OER)

A guide to educational material that are freely available to use, adapt, share, and reuse.

Openly Licensed or Free Tools

Featuring: Inclusive Images


Other sites with free or openly licensed images


Remember the one condition of open licenses: You must provide attribution.

Ideal attribution for images should include Title + Author (linked to their profile when possible) + Source (linked to it in the title) + License (link to license deed). As example, these are the attributions for images included in this page:


Software for creating your own images

  • GIMP is a full-featured and open source image editing application with somewhat of a learning curve | GIMP tutorials.
  • GIMPSHOP, also open source and built using GIMP code, is an image editing application resembling Photoshop.
  • Greenshot is a free, open source tool for taking, editing, and annotating screenshots.


Creating good audio files will require an external microphone as opposed to the one that came with your desktop or laptop. UVA users can utilize the equipment available at the Robertson Media Center on the third floor of Clemons Library. 


Non-proprietary tools for

Audio Editing
  • Audacity is an open source audio editing software. Audacity comes with a learning curve.  If you are unfamiliar with it, you may benefit from accessing these tutorials. Also, note that Audacity won't save your work as an MP3 file until you download and install the LAME codec.  
  • GarageBand is a line of digital audio workstations for macOS and iOS that allows users to create music or podcasts. 


Video Production
  • Screencast-o-matic records and allows for editing of videos of your computer screen.
  • Softchalk can be used to create interactive tutorials and mashup text/video.


Publish with tools that are non-proprietary and produce formats that are easy to:

  • Navigate
  • Access on different devices
  • Accessible off-line (i.e., in portable formats) as this is requirement for inclusion in the Open Textbook Library

PDF format is ideal for text OER. Other alternatives include open source word processing applications, odt format (the open version of .doc/.docx), or an HTML web page. 


Non-proprietary tools for

Documents and presentations
  • Inkscape: This open source application creates and edits PDF files. Includes a vector drawing and graphics tool and is a great option if your document is image-heavy.
  • LibreOffice: An open office suite of tools (ala Microsoft Office) that includes word processing, PDF editor, spreadsheets, presentations, small database, images, and more.
  • Open Author (from OER Commons): An editing, cloning, and publishing interface all in one that allows for the creation of courses, units, lessons, activities, and presentations. Note that it is not currently capable to produce portable formats like ebooks and PDF files.


Publishing Platforms
  • Pressbooks: Open source software, it is an editing, cloning, and publishing interface all in oneAllows for easy creation of portable formats like typeset PDF files (i.e., structured to improve the reading experience) and ebooks. Local hosting of most themes is available with its free version; proprietary hosting, themes, and tech support are available for a fee.
  • Rebus Community: An online platform for collaborative authoring and reviewing open textbooks. Another editing, cloning, and publishing interface all in one.   

Making your work discoverable

Free Hosting Options

Images & Audio Files
  • Flickr is a free image hosting service (up to one terabyte) that allows you to create galleries and slideshows as well as mark your content as Creative Commons. 
  • PodBean provides easy uploading and publishing tools, templates, custom domains, social & promotional tools, embeddable podcast player, and more.

  • Podomatic allows you to create your own podcast website.  Anyone can listen, share and download MP3s of your episodes.


  • YouTube is perhaps the most popular spot for hosting video; however, unless you direct the learner to your specific video(s), they may get lost attempting to navigate the millions of search results.  
  • Vimeo functions similar to YouTube but with a smaller user-base, less clutter from lower quality videos, and no advertisements. 
  • School Tube is created for K-12 students.  The content is both educator and teacher created and a valuable tool for education majors.  School Tube screens content in order to protect children from harmful content and invasions of their privacy.


Print & Presentations
  • Scribd allows the upload of Word documents that can be embedded into blogs, web pages, or online courses.  Note: Scribd has shifted focus to selling subscriptions to their ebook collection.
  • SlideShare allows the upload of PowerPoint presentations that can be embedded into blogs, webpages, and online courses.  You can mark your content as Creative Commons.
  • Google Drive allows for the upload of Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint slideshows that can be linked but not embedded.


  • Learning Management Systems (LMS) are great places to keep copies of your OER for your courses; however, since they do not allow public access, you may need to provide access via downloads or streaming.
  • The University offers open courses through Coursera.  
  • LibraOpen is affiliated with the University of Virginia Library and all materials become part of the Library's catalog.  Note: Users will need to NetBadge in to access the link.  


  • Team collaborations to divide and conquer
  • Note the copyright terms of the images and videos you will need before starting your project
  • Share your work openly on a platform that others can access   


Guides for Authoring OER

  • BC Campus Self Publishing Guide - Serves as a reference for individuals or groups wanting to write and self-publish an open textbook.  It provides details on the preparation, planning, writing, publication, and maintenance of an open textbook.  Copyright, open-copyright licenses, and the differences between citation and attribution are discussed as well as the importance of copy editing and proofreading.  Checklists and templates are also provided. 

  • Authoring Open Textbooks by the Open Textbook Network - Content includes a checklist for getting started, publishing program case studies, textbook organization and elements, writing resources and an overview of useful tools.

  • Guide to Making Open Textbooks with Students - A handbook for faculty interested in practicing open pedagogy by involving students in the making of open textbooks, ancillary materials or other OER.

  • WikiEducation - Information on teaching and learning with Wikipedia.

  • Software Tools for Editing and Authoring - A guide to authoring tools focusing on whether tools are free, allow collaboration, can create multiple kinds of outputs, and other important logistical questions.

  • 80 OER Tools - Includes 80 online resources that you can use to learn how to built or participate in a collaborative educational effort that focuses on publication and development of those materials. 

  • BC Campus Open Education Accessibility Toolkit - The goal of this accessibility toolkit is to provide resources for each content creator, instructional designer, educational technologist, librarian, administrator, and teaching assistant to create a truly open textbook--one that is free and accessible for all students. 

  • Creating and Modifying Open Educational Resources - Step-by-step guide to creating and modifying content.  Created by Affordable Learning Georgia.

  • Marketing Open and Affordable Courses - This collaboratively authored guide helps institutions navigate the uncharted waters of tagging course material as open educational resources (OER) or under a low-cost threshold by summarizing relevant state legislation, providing tips for working with stakeholders, and analyzing technological and process considerations. The first half of the book provides high-level analysis of the technology, legislation, and cultural change needed to operationalize course markings. The second half features various case studies.  

Copyright and Licensing

Accessibility Resources



The goal of the Accessibility Toolkit - 2nd Edition is to provide resources for each content creator, instructional designer, educational technologist, librarian, administrator, and teaching assistant to create a truly open textbook—one that is free and accessible for all students.




The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international community that develops open standards to ensure the long-term growth of the Web. Web Accessibility Principles Easy Checks  |  Tips for Designing for Web Accessibility


WebAIM is an organization within the Center for Persons with Disabilities (CPD) at Utah State University.