10 Open Education Resources You May Not Know About (But Should)

| May 5, 2011 | 97 Comments
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This week, the OCW Consortium is holding its annual meeting, celebrating 10 years of OpenCourseWare. The movement to make university-level content freely and openly available online began a decade ago, when the faculty at MIT agreed to put the materials from all 2,000 of the university’s courses on the Web.

With that gesture, MIT OpenCourseWare helped launch an important educational movement, one that MIT President Susan Hockfield described in her opening remarks at yesterday’s meeting as both the child of technology and of a far more ancient academic tradition: “the tradition of the global intellectual commons.”

We have looked here before at how OCW has shaped education in the last ten years, but in many ways much of the content that has been posted online remains very much “Web 1.0.” That is, while universities have posted their syllabi, handouts, and quizzes online, there has not been — until recently — much “Web 2.0″ OCW resources — little opportunity for interaction and engagement with the material.

But as open educational resources and OCW increase in popularity and usage, there are a number of new resources out there that do offer just that. You probably already know about: Khan Academy and Wikipedia, for example. But in the spirit of 10 years of OCW, here’s a list of 10 cool OER and OCW resources that you might not know about, but should know:

  1. P2PU: The Peer 2 Peer University is a grassroots open education project in which anyone can participate. Volunteers facilitate the courses, but the learners are in charge. P2PU leverages both open content and the open social web, with a model for lifelong learning.
  2. OpenStudy: OpenStudy is a social learning network where independent learners and traditional students can come together in a massively-multiplayer study group. Through OpenStudy, learners can find other working in similar content areas in order to support each other and answer each others’ questions. OpenStudy supports a number of study groups, including those focused on several MIT OCW courses.
  3. NITXY: NIXTY is building a learning management platform that supports open education resources. Rather than an LMS that closes off both academic resources and academic progress, NIXTY is designed to support open courses so that schools, teachers, and students’ work is not necessarily closed off from the rest of the Web.
  4. OER Glue: Still under development, OER Glue will be a site to watch. The Utah-based startup is building a browser-based tool that will allow students and teachers to “glue” together OER resources online. Rather than having to copy-and-paste resources into a new setting, OER Glue will reuse and integrate resources.
  5. iUniv: iUniv is a Japanese startup that is building web and mobile apps to support and make social video and audio OCW content. Resources can be shared to Twitter, Facebook, and Evernote so that students can actively engage in discussions around OCW content.
  6. OCWSearch: OCW Search is a search engine dedicated, as the name suggests, to helping learners find OCW content. The project is, unfortunately, no longer under development, but it does index ten universities’ OCW content, including MIT, Notre Dame, and The Open University UK.
  7. Smarthistory: Smarthistory is a free and open multimedia website that demonstrates how very heavy, pricey, and obsolete the traditional art history textbook is.
  8. CK-12: The CK-12 Foundation’s Flexbook platform provides free, collaboratively-built and openly-licensed digital textbooks for K-12. Much of the content is standards based.
  9. Flat World Knowledge: This is a college textbook publisher whose books are published under an open license. This allows professors to customize the books they order – edit, add to, mix-up – or use as-is. Students can access the books online for free or can pay for print-on-demand and audiobook versions.
  10. Connextions: Connextions is a repository of educational content, containing over 17,000 openly licensed learning modules.

If you know of any other great OER and OCW resources, please let us know in the comments!

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  • Yaco

    Great list!
    You should add the Free Technology Academy to your list!: http://ftacademy.org

    • Gage

      For an open source math and science online homework system take a look at WeBWorK, supported by the Mathematical Association of America at http://webwork.maa.org.

  • Ed

    Thanks so much for the mention of Connexions. A couple of minor corrections: Connexions is spelled without a t and the URL should be http://cnx.org.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, Ed. The spelling is corrected.

  • http://twitter.com/lmclaug Lisa_McLaughlin

    Recommend adding OER Commons http://oercommons.org to this list

  • http://blog.majesticseacreature.com sandal

    We’re building a free online school for software developers at Mendicant University: http://university.rubymendicant.com/

    We’ve built over 25 exercises and our students have made 40 new open source contributions within the last 6 months.

  • JZ

    Online flash card and notes at Study Blue http://www.studyblue.com/

  • Anonymous

    memorize.com has alot of great study material that is public and editable

  • http://twitter.com/vocabgenii Genii

    Fantastic list and discussions!

  • http://profiles.google.com/dlynam Dave Lynam

    This is great information! I am a developer for WordStash (http://wordstash.com) which is a flash card based study tool and also a great learning resource.

  • Derek

    ForgetTheTextbook.com

  • Jon Fila
  • Jpinto

     In K-12, where growth is in class sizes, not budgets, teachers value the support that comes from OER communities like Curriki. Curriki is an online community for creating and sharing curricula and teaching best practices. curriki.org

  • Aiman Azri

    Excellent list!

    There’s of course still lots more resources that can be added.  I work at http://www.gnowledge.com so I’m naturally partial to that (online engine for creating, sharing and learning using tests/exercises).

    I’m also sure that there’s many other awesome resources, as evidenced by the comments here.  Perhaps another round of lists is needed? ;)

    • Mallikvanga

      Is this a free site or any subscription is there?

      • Aiman Azri

        It’s free, you only need to sign up to use it. :)

  • Kristin

    http://www.teachfind.com is a search engine which has indexed all of the big UK education sites (e.g. Teachers TV) and will shortly be offering a massive range of classroom resources. Built on open source software as well as being completely free.

  • http://opencontent.uct.ac.za ShihaamD

    The University of Cape Town has a fantastic OER site at http://opencontent.uct.ac.za. There are a range of resources from video lectures to presentations to complete books available for download. 

  • http://www.showmeapp.com Ling

    Great list of resources! I’ve always been of the mindset that education should be freely shared, and it’s great to see highly esteemed institutions like MIT participating in open course ware. 

  • http://freevideolectures.com AnkammaRao

    You can also add http://freevideolectures.com, which has more than 19k video lectures and close to 900 free online courses.

  • Sheelareddy

    Exceptional resources unknown to many!!

  • Anonymous

    Good resource.

  • http://twitter.com/invpartnership Louise Woodbury

    Exceptional list, Audrey! OCW is indeed changing the face of education. Now with such a plethora of educational resources becoming more streamlined and more effectively disseminated, high cost institutions are going to find it harder to compete. We have written a series of ‘Invisible’ publications to aid entrepreneurial-minded people, even married couples who are in business together. We started with The Invisible Entrepreneur, followed by The Invisible Partnership last year. Our newest edition, due out this September is The Invisible Branson. This book will be focused on business branding wisdom, seeking to assist entrepreneurs and small businesses to grow into ‘rock star’ status. You could say we have a focus on the post-education process… providing on the job mentoring and resourcing.

    http://www.quantumpublications.com.au/

  • Cathy

    Don’t forget about MERLOT – http://www.merlot.org with over 30,000 learning materials

  • Rob

    http://www.khanacademy.org/

    The best online instruction I have seen yet.

    • Anonymous

       Yep. Love it!

    • Anonymous

       Yep. Love it!

  • Claudia LAmoreaux

    I recommend Hippocampus.org. They just launched the new HippoCampus Beta site with some great new features like customizable playlists at http://beta.hippocampus.org. Khan Academy is included in collections with additional features for ease of use in the classroom.

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  • http://www.m-hotel.es Rubén – motor de reservas

    Thanks for the list. Great resource ;)
    Regards

  • Pedrodago

    Que interesante su artículo, la felicito por su muy clara explicación de hacia donde se dirige este campo educativo.

  • C K kumar

    Very useful list. Thank you

  • http://www.englishbanana.com Zoe

    At englishbanana.com you can access 100s of free printable worksheets and books – all under an open licence to print, copy, and even sell to make a profit… :o)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Christo-Ahchieeff/100002886288317 Christo Ahchieeff

    This list ist awesome! Thanks and greetings from Bulgaria!:)

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  • Peter

    Good list of top open education tools. Info about many other high quality open source Education software, tools, and resources are also listed on the non-profit COSI Open Education web site at http://education.cositech.net  Feel free to share and use whatever you see on the site.

  • Dee

    Dee
    Great resources unknown to many!! I will add them to  http://www.collegeyak.com
    Thanks for the great resources.

  • Tanimola

    Great resource, especially for developing countries where access to education is still limited and standards in several of the existing institution need improvment. I will really like you to refresh your original list to include all of the other sites mentioned in the comments. Please let me know when you do. God bless

  • Chloe

    Elite Editing offers free advice to students about thesis writing; they are not just an editing service http://www.elitediting.com.au/thesis-editing.aspx

  • Trjmarr

    I like the sound of OER Glue, just what I need. Thanks for the list.
    Troy.

  • Midlife-Crisis1

    You’ve missed out on real gem… TES Teaching Resources  http://www.tes.co.uk/teaching-resources/   88,000 free teaching resources… All FREE! I’ve haven’t written a lesson plan from scratch since I discovered this site. All age groups are covered and the revision guides and Harvest Festival ideas are superb.

  • Principalmalik

    excellent service and quality focus for positive scholastics.

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    Person with knowledge of the life and death does not, of meat do not eat. Knowledge of man to find. Knowledge, anywhere else, no man’s corner in the center of the magneticcaktipe light is that which can be contacted by the real knowledge is revealed. Thearivutan facts to report. All that contact. That’s the last power available to man.’ll get totry.

  • Kimberly Fujioka

    Wow! This is great info. all compiled in one area. I do research for my work so I need this kind of open content. I am a professional editor. http://www.englishwritinghelp.com

  • Hamsinah Dahlan

    I very . . . very appreciate to the ten types of open education.  What a wonderful effort in education is. May success always with the most greatful work.  

  • Nichole_ezell

    IDEA is an organization that promotes open, democratic, and any education that works for students. http://www.democraticeducation.org

  • Aurora4

    For open learning resources in multiple languages for the K-12 sector see: http://lreforschools.eun.org/web/guest

  • Carine

    We have a South African based Open Educational Resource project. View http://siyavula.com/ for a series of FET Maths and Science WebBooks ( A curriculum aligned textbook with rich media embedded at relevant places). And view http://www.fullmarks.org.za/ for an community run online assessment bank.

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  • http://dedication2education.com/wordpress Lucy

    Great concise list, yet it speaks volumes to those looking for OCW and didn’t even know where to begin!  Thank you!

  • Helenk2011

    Order Department?

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    Tips and Tricks on Information Technology Basics. Computers are all around us in the modern world
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  • VSA

    Interesting. Thank you for the research. Please have a look at http://awareNet.org.za/ or http://awareNet.eu/ for an online educational free social network for learners: includes features for blogging, discussion, video and picture galleries, calendar, personal messages, chat, and most importantly collaborative content creation = project work! 

  • VSA

    Interesting. Thank you for the research. Please have a look at http://awareNet.org.za/ or http://awareNet.eu/ for an online educational free social network for learners: includes features for blogging, discussion, video and picture galleries, calendar, personal messages, chat, and most importantly collaborative content creation = project work! 

  • TheCountessVonCount
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  • Vshanmugavel

    CampusBookHound.com,
    comes in as  an online marketplace for students to buy and sell
    textbooks locally.  CampusBookHound allows students to search for the
    books they want to buy and place a free bid or submit an ad for the book
    that they want to sell for just $1 per book.  Connecting students with a
    local marketplace to buy and sell textbooks empowers students to take
    back control of the textbook industry.
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    can take the power of pricing away from the book publishers and
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    To learn more visit http://www.CampuBookHound.com.

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    OF INDIAN DEMOCRACY. THE LATHI CHARGE CONDUCTED UPON 4000 PEOPLE SLEEPING IN
    THE TENT AND THERE AFTER THE AMMONIA SHELL EXPODED IN THE CLOSE CANVASS WHERE
    THE INFIRMS, WOMAN AND CHILDREN WERE ASSEMBLED TO HEAR THE MASSAGE OF BABA RAM
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  • yogesh saxena

    Yogesh
    Saxena General Secretary All India Bar Association, Advocate Supreme Court
    & High Courts, Mobile Numbers 9792131584, 7800888892, 9415284843 reacts on
    this message in different manner. Indian National Congress from the very beginning
    was dragging the Indians in slavery. The Britishers were fully aware that the
    respect is commanded from heart, not demanded by the recipients. In the western
    culture, even the marriage was the contact, what to say about relationship.
    Islam considered the woman folk subjected to be used for sex orientations or
    for production of their children. The freedom to the woman is not at par with
    the man in these two religion. Both these religions were considering that
    “TO DAY WE LIVE, TOMORROW WE DIE”. Thus enjoyment even at the cost of
    power intoxication without any reference to compassionate aspect to the woman
    folk and their Children became the part of their culture and they have
    completely lost the Social Co ordinations amongst the people and gradually the
    concept of ruling over the world became materialistic and conservative to the
    larger extend. For accepting this philosophy, one has to compare the Vedic
    traditions followed by their disciple, who were worshiped like the god by the
    followers of Hindu traditions. Lord Ram is worshiped on account of the fact
    that it denounced every thing at the mere desire of her step mother, who came
    from Iran namely KEKAI, being guided by MANTHARA, and was more possessive due
    to demo graphical approach and therefore demanded desertion to lord RAM and
    crown to prince BHARAT. She had forgotten that blood in the veins and Arteries
    of BHARAT is belonging to KING DASHRATH and thus she could not get her
    hypothetical perception to become the mother of the king being fulfilled.
    BHAGWAN RAM on the other hand was reversed to the nature as he started 
    sharing his life with downtrodden section of Society like KEWAT, PASI, KOL , B
    HEEL, and other TRIBALS. AYODHYA was the place, where no YODHYA could have been
    traced. AVADH was the place where VADH Slaughtering was prohibited and thus the
    effect of demographic ideology was the maximum at both these places. Thus
    Bhagwan Ram, even after giving defeat to Ravan had given back the entire
    kingdom of Lanka to BHIBHISHAN, after winning the battle with the help of KOL JAMWANT
    and BHEEL HANUMAN JI. ANGAD was the KOL and was the tribal and as such he was
    having tremendous power , even enough to sake the pride of RAVAN, when he was
    send as messenger to convey the warning of BHAGWAN RAM. Coming to the Culture
    of BHAGWAN KRISHNA  as the KARM YOGI,
    when the PANDAV conquered the battle of MAHABHARAT, LORD Krishna told to ARJUN
    to pour the GANGA JAL in the mouth of DONAR  KARAN, and when objected by
    PANDAV to do so than the truth was revealed that KARAN was their eldest
    brothers and the mother of PANDAV had taken away the KAWACH of KARAN , having
    the shield of protection given by the SUN as KARAN was born through the
    blessing of the SUN at the premarital stage and KUNTI, the mother of PANDAV
    denounced him. IT WAS DURYODHAN, WHO HAD GIVEN HIM THE HONOUR AND PRESTIGE
    amongst the other RULERS at the relevant period.

  • yogesh saxena

    BRAHMINS WERE BEGGARS AND BEGGING THE ALMS FROM THE DONORS
    AND DISTRIBUTING IT AMONGST THE FOLLOWERS OF THE RELIGION. KSHATRIYA WERE THE
    DONORS TO THE CITIZENS. BANIA WAS PROVIDING THE FEEDING TO THE SOCIETY. AND
    SUDRAS WERE SERVING AND FULFILLING THE REQUIREMENT OF THE NEEDY. WE HAVE
    GENERATED THE CONCEPT OF SUPERIORITY on account of being the representatives of
    the people, WHICH IS A FALSE CONCEPTUAL PHENOMEMNON. THUS POWER OF ALL THE
    INSTITUTIONAL CONSTITUTIONAL BODY AND INSTRUMENTALITY OF STATE HAS BEEN TAKEN
    AWAY. THE BEST LAND IN PUNJAB WAS GIVEN TO PAKISTAN AND IT HAD STARTED BEGGING
    BEFORE AMERICANS. WHETHER MAN MOHAN SINGH AND SONIA GANDHI WANT TO GET INDIANS
    AS SLAVE DYNASTY, THE DAY IS NOT VERY FAR, THEY WILL SUCCEED , IF THE PEOPLE ALLLOWED
    TO REMAIN IN POWER. WE MUST GET SOME PLAUSIBLE MEANS TO HUMILIATE THEM MORE AND
    MORE, TILL IT IS NOT VERY LATE FOR INDIANS.

  • http://twitter.com/siriesal si.riesal

    great resource tips, but how about another online scholarships website like http://studentsaid.net ?

  • GybeO77

    http://www.khanacademy.org/ An absolutely amazing learning site - Their byline: Watch. Practice.Learn almost anything for free.With a library of over 2,600 videos covering everything from arithmetic to physics, finance, and history and 268 practice exercises, we’re on a mission to help you learn what you want, when you want, at your own pace.

  • GybeO77

    Also, go to BBC for the most amazing LANGUAGE learning site in the world..Everything imaginable…French, Gaelic, Chinese…and on and on…Probably the best language learning site in the world!

    • Anonymous

      Excellent, thanks. Can you include the link to the language learning site on bbc.co.uk?

  • Mohamed Abdel Maksoud

    for language learning, the colegioo schools network is there:
    http://spanish.colegioo.com
    http://arabic.colegioo.com
    http://greek.colegioo.com
    … etc

  • http://bbakeca.com/ BBakeca

    Great list…thanks for sharing!

  • Anonymous

    http://www.codecademy.com is worth a mention!

  • Jdpsaratoga

    http://www.mathopenref.com
    Math Open Reference is a site with hundreds of interactive applets designed for students to experiment and teachers to use in the classroom.

  • http://twitter.com/PZuppo Pamela Zuppo

    http://www.udemy.com offers many free classes

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    I benefited a lot from visiting your site. Thank you very much for him. But also provide advice on a topic – it is, try to do better in the future. Thank you.

  • Anonymous

    If going to college, you might want Easy Scholarships to help pay for your education:

    http://easyscholarshipsnow.com

  • http://twitter.com/AidScholarship Monica L. Matthews

    These are great resources for every level of student.  I love the options for digital textbooks, that’s the future of textbooks coming true!  :)  M.M., http://how2winscholarships.com

  • Marla

    they offer several CS courses…you can get a certificate at the end –> maybe you’ve heared about Sebastian Thrun professor of Stanford

    http://www.udacity.com

  • Anonymous

    When you can think of yesterday without regret and tomorrow without fear, you are near contentment.

  • Sandra Baxendell

    http://www.alison.com is my favourite – it is UK based and while it has lots of relevant advertisments, for a small fee you can stop them 

  • http://startupbusinessideas.info/ Nenita Deliberato

    Some great startup ideas with excellent information. My favorite is of course the blog business, but that’s how I make a lot of my money so my opinion is biased. Thanks.

  • Grant

    Good source of sites, Openstudy is a really good one I just tried out. Another good resource for college students is http://grants4college.com 

  • Anna

    These resources are great ways for students to collaborate on tasks and greatly improve what they’re able to accomplish. Simple places like http://easyscholarships.biz will propel their studies too.

  • Jason

    http://www.quizmeonline.net is a great resource too. It allows students to join study groups and create and share flashcards, quizzes, notes, and study guides.

  • Jeffrey Thomas

    This article was very helpful for me! I also came across a good blog for notes:
    blog.burrowsapps.com/p/notes.html

  • Aisha

    coursera.org is also a wonderful resource.

  • http://www.facebook.com/camielle.swenson Camielle Swenson

    SkillShare is another good one that may be a little less academic but fully Web 2.0.

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  • http://www.adichemistry.com/ adianadiadi

    I would like to add another great resource of chemistry: http://www.adichemistry.com

  • narra vamsi krishna

    have a look on wikichemi.com

  • Ryan Scott

    http://sparkon.com is another web-based EdTech company. We’re more focused on helping apply education to life rather than on education itself.

    There’s an entire area of education and training that most EdTech companies are missing and that is using the great stuff we learn in real life.

    SPARKON is engineered to bridge great learning of academic nature to great learning of real-life application for success.

  • Shalini Garg
  • kumarovski

    There’s also http://knowmia.com

  • Stefan

    Can also recommend http://www.theglobaleconomy.com/ for global learning.

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  • AndreaLeyden

    Another great example is http://examtime.com/ where you can create, discover and share study notes such as Mind Maps, Flashcards and Quizzes.