Finding Open Educational Resources for Teaching

Originally compiled by Gretchen Miller, Wake Technical Community College, and Carol Ormand, SERC, for the 2020 workshop for Early Career Faculty in the Geosciences, with additional resources suggested by Ben Laabs, North Dakota State University

Open Educational Resources (OERs) for college-level geoscience classes are becoming increasingly abundant and have numerous advantages for students and faculty. OERs include open textbooks, open online classes, instructional videos, and a variety of teaching and learning activities. This session discusses the value of OERs in terms of pedagogy, customization, and ease of integration, and provides time to explore how OERs may be used in your own courses. The Science Education Resource Center (SERC) website hosts a vast array of OERs for geoscience teaching and more. The page below provides a brief tour of OERs, as well as a few strategies for searching the SERC collections.

OER textbooks and courseware

Effective online teaching

Many faculty across the US (and the world) made a rapid transition to online teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic. SERC put together a set of web resources to support geoscience faculty making that transition:

For introductory geoscience courses

Developing students' sense of belonging in STEM

On teaching a concept or skill across multiple courses

  • The Math You Need, When You Need It is a set of math tutorials for students in introductory geoscience courses.
  • The InTeGrate project is all about teaching about sustainability across the curriculum, and includes information on how to teach sustainability as well as modules and courses that you can adopt or adapt for your classroom.
  • The Spatial Thinking Workbook is a collection of teaching activities designed to strengthen geoscience students' penetrative thinking skills: the ability to visualize spatial relations inside an object.
  • The GETSI project (GEodesy Tools for Societal Issues) engages students in exploring geodetic data and developing quantitative skills in relation to societally important issues (climate change, natural hazards, water resources, environmental management).

Of special interest for early career faculty

On teaching methods

  • Expanding Your Teaching Toolkit is a page of resources to make your courses more interactive. If you're not sure where to begin, in terms of incorporating active learning pedagogies into your teaching, start here.
  • Pedagogy in Action aims to help faculty put into practice in the classroom what we've learned from research on learning. It includes detailed descriptions of the what, why and how of various teaching methods and has a collection of examples of teaching activities using each method. If you're ready to dive in, these pages are for you.

On teaching in particular situations

Resources from Participants in this Session in 2020

Strategies for searching SERC's collections

Finding OERs -- Discussion  

Do you have an OER resource to suggest? Please paste it below, with a brief description. Thanks!


Share edittextuser=541 post_id=46647 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=14759

Open Global Glacier Model educational resources:


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This site has some good fluid mechanics texts and resources:


Share edittextuser=336842 post_id=46662 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=14759

A very neat geology resource that may not be on the SERC website:
An interactive map/globe that allows you to observe any location on earth over geological time.


Share edittextuser=336852 post_id=46663 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=14759

thank you all; these are fun to see! feel free to keep adding resources here


Share edittextuser=541 post_id=46664 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=14759

I just learned about these Physical Geology "lecture tutorials":

From the website: "These “Lecture Tutorials” are designed as illustrative review of individual lectures, followed with a series of questions aimed at addressing student misconceptions. The general idea is that you lecture for 15-20 minutes, the students work through the lecture tutorials for 15-20 minutes, then the class discusses the answers together. These offer a consistent active learning formative assessment, and also act as study guides for students." There are 36 tutorials available now, with a few more in the works.


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