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Suggestions if I can't find OER for my subject

There isn’t open content available for every discipline, course, or learning objective. This page covers what to do if you can’t find open educational resources for your course, or you found something that doesn’t meet your needs (incompatible pedagogy, quality concerns, very different approach to the content, etc).

You might pursue one or more of the following options:

Ask a librarian

It is sometimes difficult to know whether you’re not finding what you need because it doesn’t exist or because you need help searching for it. A librarian can help you with this.


If you are finding usable bits and pieces in various places, you may be able to pull them together into a new resource that meets your needs. You may need to create some original content to fill in the gaps, but you will not be starting from scratch. The open license gives you advance permission to do this as long as you provide attribution to the original source.

Create and share a new open educational resource

If you’ve identified a gap in existing open content for your field, creating and sharing original content will help not just your class but other instructors. This is very labor intensive, so consider finding a team and applying for grant funding to support the project.

Use library resources as course materials

Libraries pay for access to articles, ebooks, and other online content, and students have already paid to access these resources with their tuition and fees. Talk to a librarian about searching for relevant materials efficiently; always let a librarian know if you’re going to use library resources in your class in case there are licensing issues to be worked out ahead of time.

Find a low-cost alternative

If you can’t find open content but can find a low-cost alternative, you can rest assured that your students appreciate getting a break from expensive textbooks. Your bookstore manager is the campus expert on negotiating prices with publishers.