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Open Educational Resources (OER)

This guide provides resources and tools for faculty wishing to implement open educational resources (OER) in their courses.

Temporary Access to Textbooks

In response to the COVID-19 emergency, publishers have lifted restrictions to copyrighted materials in order to give students access to instructional materials. Please note that free access to these materials are temporary.

eTextbook Platforms (Multiple Publishers)

  • VitalSource: Free access to 7 textbooks per student until the end of Spring 2020.
  • RedShelf:  Free access to 7 textbooks per student until May 25, 2020.

Instructions for searching RedShelf and VitalSource platforms: 

VitalSource Instructions:  

  1. Go to
  2. You may be required to download an app for your phone, tablet or computer. If so, install it.
  3. Sign up for an account. You *must* use your Mt. SAC email account ( for this. For more details on how to sign up for an account, go to this link.
  4. You will receive an activation email. Click the link in the activation email.
  5. Once your account is verified, go into the app and search for the title of your book.
  6. Point at the book you want and click the Borrow button. You may have to click Borrow again on another part of the screen.
  7. Then, click the link to Open or Download the book

RedShelf Instructions: 

  1. Go to
  2. To sign up for an account, click Login. On the next screen, click on Create an Account. You *must* use your Mt. SAC email account ( for this.
  3. You will receive an activation email. Click the link in the activation email.
  4. Back on the Redshelf website, search for the title of your book.
  5. When you find the book, click the title to open its full listing.
  6. Click the Add to Shelf button.
  7. Next, click the green Start Reading button, and the book will open up!


Publisher Platforms

For a more thorough list, go to the Association of American Publishers's COVID-19 page. Here are a selection of popular publishers at Mt. SAC:

  • Cambridge University Press is making higher education textbooks in HTML format freely available until the end of May 2020. Over 700 textbooks, published and currently available, on Cambridge Core are available regardless of whether textbooks were previously purchased.
  • Cengage is offering free access to its unlimited platform for impacted students. Instructors also have access to additional resources. Other publishers underneath Cengage include:
  • McGraw Hill is providing free access, training, and support for the McGraw-Hill Connect and ALEKS digital learning platforms to instructors and students who need to urgently move to an online format for their Spring 2020 courses.
  • Pearson is providing access to its e-book library for the rest of the term at no additional cost for higher ed students in the US, UK and Canada who are already using Pearson courseware.
  • Wiley is making their products, such as WileyPLUS, Knewton Alta or zyBooks, available for faculty. Faculty can request free access for their students for the remainder of the Spring 2020 term. Instructors teaching at impacted institutions can request access to WileyPLUS or Knewton Alta; and instructors can request access to zyBooks. 

Thank you to Pasadena City College for sharing its collection of COVID-19 Resources.

Misc Resources