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Open Resources Guide

This guide is for Thomas Edison State University students who are interested in exploring free self-study options. Not only can self-study serve as a supplement to your work in one of our traditional online classes, but it can also help you prepare for a prior learning assessment (portfolio, TECEP®, etc.).

The following resources have been divided into two tiers. The first tier includes the most reliable resources, and resources that have been developed by companies and organizations. They tend to have better images, graphs, and interactivity. The second tier resources are good study tools, but are generally incomplete; missing readings, videos, or assessments.

Tier One Resources top of page

These free and open resources were designed to compete with commercial publishing companies, and are of the highest quality.

  • OpenStax College: Provides high-quality open textbooks for a variety of intro-level courses. Textbooks are available in PDF, Epub, or HTML format.
  • Boundless: Provides textbooks and modules for a variety of intro-level courses. There is some topic overlap between Boundless and OpenStax.
  • Saylor Academy Open Textbooks: These are available copies of the Flatworld Knowledge open textbooks. There are over 90 textbooks in topics ranging from Psychology, to Writing, to Business Law. After a licensing dispute, the textbooks were allowed to remain free, but had to remove the "Flatworld Knowledge" brand name.

Tier One Databases/Search Engines top of page

These websites are the largest and best curated open resource and open course databases.

  • This is a database of both MOOCs and Open Course Modules. This is a good option if you want to track your progress over multiple MOOCs from different providers at the same time.
  • CourseTalk: This is a database specifically for MOOCs. Additionally, they offer reviews from students and professors who have participated in each.

These are OER search engines that will allow you to find specific open resources by topic or keyword.

Tier Two Resources top of page

The resources in this section are still of exceptional quality. However, in many cases they are missing some component, (such as images, graphs, videos, etc.). They should be used as more supplementary materials rather than substitutes for commercial or Tier One resources.

  • The Orange Grove: Textbook Repository, with additional content (worksheets, assignments, etc).
  • Connexions: Modules-based open learning. Some modules, however, are actually longer texts that have been broken down.
  • MIT Open Courseware: This is a mixed bag (not every course has a/v lectures, for example), but note that some of the lecture notes are excellent.
  • Open Yale: This website contains for the most part video lectures taped in the back of Yale classrooms. Selected courses are also accompanied by a syllabus and/or readings.
  • University of California Berkeley Webcasts: This website has recorded video lectures from UC Berkeley from the past nine years.
  • College Open Textbooks: Openly-licensed texts, booklets, web books, and learning modules
  • Open Resource Guides: These are course specific resources guides, highlighting open texts, videos and assignments, provided by the Saylor Foundation.
  • Carnegie-Mellon Open Learning Initiative: Openly licensed adaptive learning platform with interactive modules. Please note - it can be difficult to extract modules for reuse in other environments.

Tier Two Database/Search Engines top of page

  • Open Courseware Consortium: This website allows you to search through open course modules from participating institutions, such as Utah State University, Tufts University, and Notre Dame University.