Open Education Resources (OER)

We all share a concern about reducing the high cost of course materials and ensuring those materials are accessible to our students. Open educational resources (sometimes called "OERs" or "open textbooks") can be an alternative to purchasing textbooks or other course materials.

They are electronic textbooks that are free to use online, print, share, adapt or remix. Usually, the authors offer the textbooks under open licenses (like Creative Commons) or apply public-domain designations or copyright waivers to encourage sharing, adapting and distributing the content. Please feel free to discuss with your Program Director whether the following OERs might work for your course(s), and if so, what the appropriate timing for implementation might be. 

Refer to the UC Berkeley Library’s Guide to Open, Free and Affordable Course Materials.

You can create online syllabi and readers with links to various open educational resources that are licensed by the UC Berkeley Library, including e-textbooks, e-books, e-journals, and other online databases and content.

Here are the top four sites to obtain free (or low-cost) digital textbooks as ranked by Campus Technology in March 2019.

  1. Merlot
  2. Lumen Learning
  3. MIT Open Courseware
  4. OpenStax
Other OER sites worth considering.

Textbook and Course Material Deadline Reminders

Per the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA), all course material information, including but not limited to textbooks, must be posted on the UC Berkeley Extension website at the time when the section opens to enrollment. This is so that students are aware of all costs at the time of enrollment.

Each instructor is responsible for identifying instructional materials for their courses far enough in advance of his/her course so that Extension Disabled Student Services (EXDSS) has adequate time to convert them into an accessible format for students who may need it (i.e., Braille, large print, digital/electronic).

Please be sure to send all course material information in a timely manner after it is requested (either by your Program Coordinator and/or by EXDSS) so that the term's deadline can be met and students have adequate time to prepare.


Best Sources for Free Digital Textbooks and More by Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology, March 25, 2019.

UC Berkeley’s Center for Teaching and Learning

UC Berkeley Library