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Open Educational Resources for the Health Sciences

A resource for faculty to identify open educational resources for use in health sciences courses.

What are open educational resources?

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that are free to access digitally and have open licensing which allows for unrestricted use, retention, sharing, and editing. Anyone can create an OER, although many OER originate from higher education institutions or open-focused publishers.

OER can be any type of teaching or learning materials, including textbooks, images, videos, slide decks, assessments, syllabi, and whole courses.

How do I use this guide?

This guide is designed as a starting point for faculty to locate open educational resources for use in VCU health sciences courses. Faculty are invited to explore these resources as a way to gain familiarity with OER and to identify potential materials for use in their courses. Just as they evaluate traditional textbooks, faculty are encouraged to evaluate these resources to determine whether they might be a good fit for their courses. 

Generally speaking, there are fewer OER available for the health sciences, particularly for upper-level courses, than there are for introductory-level, general education courses. However, new OER are being published all the time! This guide will be updated as new resources are published, and faculty are always encouraged to reach out to the Open Educational Resources Librarian for help identifying course materials.

How was this guide compiled?

There is no single, central repository for OER; they are available across the open web, sometimes with multiple points of access. This guide was compiled by searching some of the major OER repositories and aggregators. Because open educational resources are constantly being created and updated, this list is not exhaustive. We welcome any feedback about the content featured on this guide or recommendations for new resources to be included.

Where else can I find OER?

These search engines are a great place to start your OER search, especially if you're not tied to textbooks. They search a variety of OER collections, databases, and repositories to make your search a bit easier. 

Provides a centralized search of open content from 84 different sources. Created by SUNY Geneseo's Milne Library.


Mason OER Metafinder (MOM)

Provides a simultaneous search across 20 different sources of open educational materials. Created by George Mason University.

Open Textbooks

Collections of Open Textbooks

Selected Open Textbook Publishers

OER Repositories (including all types of OER)

Other Open Content


This guide was created by Open Educational Resources Librarian Abbey Childs and Research and Education Department Intern Alanna Natanson in spring 2024. The guide is licensed under is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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