OER Research

The use of open educational resources (OERs) in art history courses is relatively new, and a largely unresearched topic, especially related to effectiveness of knowledge acquisition in direct comparison to traditional textbook instructional strategies. This page is a growing compilation of references and resources that is meant as a starting point for those interested in the topic of OERs and in future research of this topic. 

There have been several different approaches to compiling and sharing OERs at colleges, two of which are compiling them within specific courses and shared through the institution LMS, and the other is through topical library pages. The former concept makes access to these compiled resources difficult, if not impossible for those replicating efforts outside of the institution. The later may provide general coverage, often with an over-abundance of material, requiring curation from faculty to narrow down and target reading to support lessons. 

What is provided below is a growing list of locations to find material that is open for instructors teaching art history and research related to the study of OERs informing study of teaching and learning (SOTL) research: 


Open Textbook Collections

  • Lumen Learning - Art History

    Online open textbook covering prehistoric to 20th-century art across the world.


    MERLOT is a curated collection of free and open online teaching, learning, and faculty development services contributed and used by an international education community.

  • OER Commons

    OER Commons provides a curated collection of Art History, Graphic Arts, Performing Arts, and Visual Arts.

  • Open Textbook Library

    Browse a wide selection of textbooks on topics related to art.

  • Project Gutenberg - Art Bookshelf

    This list highlights selected art books and books about artists, including practical methods and specialties, as well as general works on art and art history, plus visitor guides to art expos, galleries, and museums.

Courses and Videos

  • Architecture Courses - edX

    Learn about urban design, vernacular architecture, the history of building and more from the best universities and institutions around the world.

  • Art & Culture Courses - edX

    Find free online courses in poetry, art history, world cultures, classical art, modern art and European painting from top universities worldwide. Learn the Cultural Geography of the World from Peking University or immerse yourself in Harvard University’s popular Poetry in America series.

  • Coursera

    Every course on Coursera is taught by top instructors from the world’s best universities and educational institutions. Courses include recorded video lectures, auto-graded and peer-reviewed assignments, and community discussion forums.

  • Design Courses - edX

    Learn about design and more from the best universities and institutions around the world.

  • Future Learn - Creative Arts & Media Courses

    Explore film, music, journalism, photography or theatre. Join online art courses from renowned film schools, universities, cultural institutions. Learn from the experts in creative arts and media.

  • Open Learn - History & the Arts

    Explore culture, conflict, and the things that make us human. Art courses include "Visions of protest: Graffiti," "Art in Renaissance Venice," and "Dutch painting of the Golden Age."

  • Open Yale - History of Art

    The Department of the History of Art at Yale offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses in art, architecture, and visual culture in their social and historical contexts.

  • Smarthistory: Art History on Khan Academy

    Smart History is a leading resource for the study of art and cultural heritage. The growing collection of videos and essays are designed to be engaging and conversational and cover art that ranges from the Paleolithic to the present across Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceania.

  • YouTube EDU - The Arts

    A collection of educational videos posted on YouTube.

Additional Resources


Adams, A., Liyanagunawardena, T., Rassool, N., & Williams, S. (2013). Use of open educational resources in higher education. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44(5), 149–150. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjet.12014

Al Abri, M., & Dabbagh, N. (2018). Open Educational Resources: A Literature Review. Journal of Mason Graduate Research, 6(1), 83–104. Retrieved from: https://journals.gmu.edu/jmgr/article/view/1952/1473

Bonk, C. J. (Ed.). (2015). MOOCs and open education around the world. New York: Routledge.

Conole, G. (2012). Fostering social inclusion through open educational resources (OER). Distance Education, 33(2), 131–134. https://doi.org/10.1080/01587919.2012.700563

Green, T. D., & Brown, A. (2018). The educator’s guide to producing new media and open educational resources. New York, NY: Routledge.

Hu, E., Li, Y., Li, J., & Huang, W.-H. (2015). Open educational resources (OER) usage and barriers: a study from Zhejiang University, China. Educational Technology Research & Development, 63(6), 957–974. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-015-9398-1

Iiyoshi, T., & Kumar, V. (n.d.). Opening Up Education: The Collective Advancement of Education through Open Technology, Open Content, and Open Knowledge. Cambridge  Mass.: MIT Press. Retrieved from https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/opening-education

Kaatrakoski, H., Littlejohn, A., & Hood, N. (2017). Learning challenges in higher education: an analysis of contradictions within Open Educational Practice. Higher Education (00181560), 74(4), 599–615. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-016-0067-z

Langlois, L. (2017, November 14). Using Open Educational Resources in Art History Courses: Asian and Islamic Arts. Retrieved January 20, 2019, from http://arthistoryteachingresources.org/2017/11/using-open-educational-resources-in-art-history-courses-asian-and-islamic-arts/

Martinez, M. (2010). How a New Generation of Teachers Will Change Schools. The Phi Delta Kappan, 91(7), 74–75. Retrieved from: https://www.jstor.org/stable/25655247

Orr, D., Rimini, M., & Damme, D. van. (2015). Open educational resources: a catalyst for innovation. Paris: OECD Publishing.

Shank, J. D. (2014). Interactive open educational resources: a guide to finding, choosing, and using what’s out there to transform college teaching (First edition). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, A Wiley Brand.

Sharma, G. (2014). Open educational resources for teacher education: A Participatory Action Research. LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing.

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