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Open Educational Resources (OER)

Textbooks

OpenStax Biology 2e

OpenStax
Biology 2e

Peer Reviews

 

From OpenStax:
" Biology 2e is designed to cover the scope and sequence requirements of a typical two-semester biology course for science majors. The text provides comprehensive coverage of foundational research and core biology concepts through an evolutionary lens. Biology includes rich features that engage students in scientific inquiry, highlight careers in the biological sciences, and offer everyday applications. The book also includes various types of practice and homework questions that help students understand—and apply—key concepts.
The 2nd edition has been revised to incorporate clearer, more current, and more dynamic explanations, while maintaining the same organization as the first edition. Art and illustrations have been substantially improved, and the textbook features additional assessments and related resources." 
OpenStax Concepts of Biology

OpenStax
Concepts of Biology

From OpenStax:
"Concepts of Biology is designed for the typical introductory biology course for non-majors, covering standard scope and sequence requirements. The text includes interesting applications and conveys the major themes of biology, with content that is meaningful and easy to understand. The book is designed to demonstrate biology concepts and to promote scientific literacy."
Peer Reviews
 
Open SUNY Textbooks: Microbiology: A Laboratory Experience

Open SUNY Textbooks:
Microbiology: A Laboratory Experience

From OpenStax:
"Designed to support a course in microbiology, Microbiology: A Laboratory Experience permits a glimpse into both the good and the bad in the microscopic world. The laboratory experiences are designed to engage and support student interest in microbiology as a topic, field of study, and career.

This text provides a series of laboratory exercises compatible with a one-semester undergraduate microbiology or bacteriology course with a three- or four-hour lab period that meets once or twice a week. The design of the lab manual conforms to the American Society for Microbiology curriculum guidelines and takes a ground-up approach — beginning with an introduction to biosafety and containment practices and how to work with biological hazards. From there the course moves to basic but essential microscopy skills, aseptic technique and culture methods, and builds to include more advanced lab techniques. The exercises incorporate a semester-long investigative laboratory project designed to promote the sense of discovery and encourage student engagement. "
OpenStax Microbiology

OpenStax
Microbiology

From OpenStax:
"Microbiology covers the scope and sequence requirements for a single-semester microbiology course for non-majors. The book presents the core concepts of microbiology with a focus on applications for careers in allied health. The pedagogical features of the text make the material interesting and accessible while maintaining the career-application focus and scientific rigor inherent in the subject matter. Microbiology’s art program enhances students’ understanding of concepts through clear and effective illustrations, diagrams, and photographs.
Microbiology is produced through a collaborative publishing agreement between OpenStax and the American Society for Microbiology Press. The book aligns with the curriculum guidelines of the American Society for Microbiology."
Peer Reviews
 
Environmental Biology

Open Oregon:
Environmental Biology

From the Introduction:
"Environmental Biology is a free and open textbook that enables students to develop a nuanced understanding of today’s most pressing environmental issues. This text helps students grasp the scientific foundation of environmental topics so they can better understand the world around them and their impact upon it. This book is a collaboration between various authors and organizations that are committed to providing students with high quality and affordable textbooks. Particularly, this text draws from the following open sources, in addition to new content from the editor:

Biology by OpenStax is licensed under CC BY 3.0
Sustainability: A Comprehensive Foundation by Tom Theis and Jonathan Tomkin, Editors, is licensed under CC BY 3.0
Essentials of Environmental Science by Kamala Doršner is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Environmental Biology is licensed under CC BY 4.0 and was edited and co-authored by Matthew R. Fisher, Biology Faculty at Oregon Coast Community College. If you have questions, suggestions, or found errors in this text, please contact him at matthew.fisher@oregoncoastcc.org."
Concepts of Biology: 1st Canadian Edition

Concepts of Biology:
1st Canadian Edition

From the Description:
"In this survey text, directed at those not majoring in biology, we dispel the assumption that a little learning is a dangerous thing. We hope that by skimming the surface of a very deep subject, biology, we may inspire you to drink more deeply and make more informed choices relating to your health, the environment, politics, and the greatest subject that are all of us are entwined in, life itself.

Ancillary materials, including powerpoint slides, lab manual, and assignments available upon request.
 
NIH The New Genetics

NIH
The New Genetics

From the Description:
"The New Genetics is a science education booklet that explains the role of genes in health and disease, the basics of DNA and its molecular cousin RNA, and new directions in genetic research.

​Please note the publication date of this resource. There may be more recent developments that are not captured here. We are working to update our science education content and encourage you to check our website for new resources in the future."

Introduction to Computational Biology: An Evolutionary Approach

From the About:
"This introduction to computational biology is centered on the analysis of molecular sequence data. There are two closely connected aspects to biological sequences: (i) their relative position in the space of all other sequences, and (ii) their movement through this sequence space in evolutionary time. Accordingly, the first part of the book deals with classical methods of sequence analysis: pairwise alignment, exact string matching, multiple alignment, and hidden Markov models. In the second part evolutionary time takes center stage and phylogenetic reconstruction, the analysis of sequence variation, and the dynamics of genes in populations are explained in detail. In addition, the book contains a computer program with a graphical user interface that allows the reader to experiment with a number of key concepts developed by the authors.

Introduction to Computational Biology is intended for students enrolled in courses in computational biology or bioinformatics as well as for molecular biologists, mathematicians, and computer scientists."

OpenStax:
Anatomy and Physiology

From the Summary:
"Anatomy and Physiology is a dynamic textbook for the two-semester human anatomy and physiology course for life science and allied health majors. The book is organized by body system and covers standard scope and sequence requirements. Its lucid text, strategically constructed art, career features, and links to external learning tools address the critical teaching and learning challenges in the course. The web-based version of Anatomy and Physiology also features links to surgical videos, histology, and interactive diagrams."

Cell and Molecular Biology 3E: What We Know and How We Found Out

From the Summary:
"The 3rd edition of Cell and Molecular Biology 3e: What We Know & How We Found Out (CMB3e) is the latest edition of an interactive Open Educational Resource (OER) electronic textbook, available under a Creative Commons CC-BY license. Like earlier editions (and like most introductory science textbooks), the third edition of the CMB3e iText opens with a discussion of scientific method. CMB3e retains its focus on experimental support for what we know about cell and molecular biology. Having a sense of how science is practiced and how investigators think about experimental results is essential to understanding the relationship of cell structure and function, not to mention the natural world around us.

Instructors and students can freely download the CMB3e Sample Chapter, Basic CMB3e and Annotated CMB3e iText. Instructors can request the Instructors CMB3e iText. All iText users can create their own digital annotations or download and print the text and write in the margins the old-fashioned way!"

Organic Chemistry with a Biological Emphasis Volume I

From the Summary:
"The traditional approach to teaching Organic Chemistry, taken by most of the textbooks that are currently available, is to focus primarily on the reactions of laboratory synthesis, with much less discussion - in the central chapters, at least - of biological molecules and reactions. This is despite the fact that, in many classrooms, a majority of students are majoring in Biology or Health Sciences rather than in Chemistry, and are presumably taking the course in order to learn about the chemistry that takes place in living things.

In an effort to address this disconnect, I have developed a textbook for a two-semester, sophomore-level course in Organic Chemistry in which biological chemistry takes center stage. For the most part, the text covers the core concepts of organic structure, structure determination, and reactivity in the standard order. What is different is the context: biological chemistry is fully integrated into the explanation of central principles, and as much as possible the in-chapter and end-of-chapter problems are taken from the biochemical literature. Many laboratory synthesis reactions are also covered, generally in parallel with their biochemical counterparts - but it is intentionally the biological chemistry that comes first."

Human Biology

From the Summary:
"This textbook has been created with several goals in mind: accessibility, customization, and student engagement—all while encouraging students toward high levels of academic scholarship. Students will find that this textbook offers a strong introduction to human biology in an accessible format."

Courseware

OpenLab Biology OER

OpenLab Biology OER | Open Educational Resources for General Biology I, Molecular & Cell Biology

City Tech's OER Biology Course Site includes:

  • Modules covering Biology Basics, Bio Chemistry, Quantitative Determinations, Osmosis and Diffusion, Cell Division, Cell Differentiation, DNA Analysis, Genetics, Protein Production, Gene Expression, and Bioinformatics, among others.
  • Free software files for use in computational assignments.
  • Downloadable PDFs for all modules.
  • A free Molecular and Cell Biology Lab Schedule containing internal links to the corresponding activities.
Biology | LibreTexts Library

Biology | LibreTexts Library

LibreTexts is "a is a multi-institutional collaborative venture to develop the next generation of open-access texts to improve postsecondary education at all levels of higher learning. The LibreTexts approach is highly collaborative where an Open Access textbook environment is under constant revision by students, faculty, and outside experts to supplant conventional paper-based books."

LibreText Library is funded and produced by the University of California, Davis, the U.S. Department of Education, Merlot, and the National Science Foundation.

LibreText Biology resources include:

Biology | MIT Open CourseWare

Biology | MIT Open CourseWare

Biology | MIT Open CourseWare makes available course packages for both undergraduate and graduate study created by MIT Biology Department faculty, including:

JHSPH |  Open CourseWare

Biostatistics | Johns Hopkins School of Public Heath Open CourseWare

Biostatistics | Johns Hopkins School of Public Heath Open CourseWare makes available course packages for both undergraduate and graduate study created by Johns Hopkins School of Public Heath faculty, including:

Each course includes:

  • Syllabus
  • Lecture Materials
  • Readings
  • Ancillary Resources

Lab Manuals

Laboratory Exercises in Microbiology

CUNY
Laboratory Exercises in Microbiology

From CUNY Academic Works:
"The exercises in this laboratory manual are designed to engage students in hand-on activities that reinforce their understanding of the microbial world. Topics covered include: staining and microscopy, metabolic testing, physical and chemical control of microorganisms, and immunology. The target audience is primarily students preparing for a career in the health sciences, however many of the topics would be appropriate for a general microbiology course as well."
General Biology 1 Lab Manual (BIO1101L)

CUNY
General Biology 1 Lab Manual
(BIO1101L)

The General Biology 1 Lab Manual was produced by CUNY New York City College of Technology professor Jeremy Seto, and acts as a compliment to the OER materials found on City Tech's Open Lab Biology OER.
 
Biology 101-103 Lab Manual

Blue Mountain Community College:
Biology 101-103 Lab Manual

This lab manual is designed to support classrooms without specialized lab equipment. Recommended as a supplement to the Blue Mountain Community College adaptation of OpenStax Concepts of Biology: Concepts of Biology available at https://www.oercommons.org/courses/concepts-of-biology-2.
 

Journals

Evolutionary Biology

Evolutionary Biology

From the Description:
"Now in an exciting new journal format, Evolutionary Biology is dedicated to the view that evolutionary theory is a unifying framework for the biosciences. The journal is a forum in which critical reviews, original research, commentaries, and controversial views are brought together to contribute to greater understanding of the origins and diversity of life.
This vision reflects the original intent of the serial publication Evolutionary Biology, first published in 1967 as a forum in which some of the most important papers in Evolutionary Biology appeared. The topics varied greatly and many of the papers were synthetic in nature. Although some existing journals deal with various facets of evolutionary biology, Evolutionary Biology fills the need for a journal which remains true to the vision and intent laid out by Dobzhansky et al. but that is adapted to today's publication environment. Evolutionary Biology provides a focal point for broad syntheses, in-depth treatment and controversial ideas."
Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology

Frontiers
in Cell and Developmental Biology

About Frontiers:
"Frontiers is a leading Open Access Publisher and Open Science Platform
Our journals are led and peer-reviewed by editorial boards of over 100,000 top researchers. Covering more than 800 academic disciplines, we are one of the largest and highest-cited publishers in the world. To date, our freely accessible research articles have received over 500 million views and downloads and 1 million citations.

Our mission is to make science open.
Research is the foundation of modern society and it’s thanks to advances in science that we enjoy longer, healthier and more prosperous lives than ever before in human history. We want to build on successful science and make it even more powerful by ensuring it is openly available. This way, society will be able to generate more knowledge and accelerate innovation, health and prosperity for all."
Frontiers in Micrbiology

Frontiers
in Microbology

About Frontiers:
"Frontiers is a leading Open Access Publisher and Open Science Platform
Our journals are led and peer-reviewed by editorial boards of over 100,000 top researchers. Covering more than 800 academic disciplines, we are one of the largest and highest-cited publishers in the world. To date, our freely accessible research articles have received over 500 million views and downloads and 1 million citations.

Our mission is to make science open.
Research is the foundation of modern society and it’s thanks to advances in science that we enjoy longer, healthier and more prosperous lives than ever before in human history. We want to build on successful science and make it even more powerful by ensuring it is openly available. This way, society will be able to generate more knowledge and accelerate innovation, health and prosperity for all."
 

Media: Podcasts, Videos, Interactives

Atlas of Plant and Animal Histology

From the About Page:
"This is a web site project dealing with cell biology, histology and organs, both in plant and animals. Our main goal is to provide texts and images that can potentially help students and other people interested in these subjects. More specifically, the goals are:

a) Enhance learning of plant and animal histology by a complete and integrated set of contents.

b) Improve the skills to identify tissue and cell structures. It is important to observe cell and tissue structures to achieve a solid foundation in histology. This will be a major point of this site. Therefore we select high quality images to show salient morphological features of cells, tissues and organs. Furthermore, there are interactive pages and quizzes designed to test the learning process.

c) Cover basic and advance knowledge about cell biology and histology. All sections will have a similar structure. First, there is a set of pages with basic and essential information. From this level it is possible to jump to other pages where more detailed information is provided. Furthermore, images for trainig will be linked to both basic and advanced pages."
Gale Interactive: Human Anatomy

Bioconductor:
Open Source Software for Bioinformatics

From the About Page:
"Bioconductor provides tools for the analysis and comprehension of high-throughput genomic data. Bioconductor uses the R statistical programming language, and is open source and open development. It has two releases each year, and an active user community. Bioconductor is also available as an AMI (Amazon Machine Image) and a series of Docker images."
BrainFacts.org: 3D Brain

BrainFacts.org: 3D Interactive
Brain

From the About Page:
BrainFacts.org. is "a public information initiative of The Kavli Foundation, the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, and the Society for Neuroscience – global nonprofit organizations dedicated to advancing brain research.
Powered by the global neuroscience community and overseen by an editorial board of leading neuroscientists from around the world, BrainFacts.org shares the stories of scientific discovery and the knowledge they reveal. Unraveling the mysteries of the brain has the potential to impact every aspect of human experience and civilization.
This interactive brain model is powered by the Wellcome Trust and developed by Matt Wimsatt and Jack Simpson; reviewed by John Morrison, Patrick Hof, and Edward Lein. Structure descriptions were written by Levi Gadye and Alexis Wnuk and Jane Roskams."
 
The Cell Image Library

The Cell
Image Library

From the About Page:
"This Image Library is a repository for images and movies of cells from a variety of organisms. It demonstrates cellular architecture and functions with high quality images, videos, and animations. This comprehensive and easily accessible Library is designed as a public resource first and foremost for research, and secondarily as a tool for education. The long-term goal is the construction of a library of images that will serve as primary data for research.

The Library effort represents not only the creation of the electronic infrastructure, but also a systematic protocol for acquisition, evaluation, annotation, and uploading of images, videos, and animations. "
Gale Interactive: Human Anatomy

Gale Interactive:
Human Anatomy

From the About Page:
"Human anatomy is known to be a challenging subject to master and teach, but traditional resources and lab materials are often limited, making it difficult for students to comprehend essential concepts. Now you can breathe new life into the study of Human Anatomy with Gale Interactive: Human Anatomy, an innovative learning aid that allows students to examine virtual 3D dissections and immerse themselves in interactive research. These powerful tools can be used for in-classroom demonstrations or help with homework and research assignments.

Students in 1st and 2nd-year Human Anatomy college courses can access a flexible and robust learning experience with Gale Interactive, allowing them to: delve deep into concepts with tools to zoom, rotate, and explore models; experience guided interactive lessons aligned with course curriculum; view relevant reference content from Gale for further study and research; use self-assessments to ensure concept comprehension; access resources on their computer at any time through multiple web browsers. "
HHMIBioInteractive BiomeViewer

HHMI BioInteractive:
BiomeViewer

From the About Page:
BrainFacts.org. is "Biomes are large areas throughout the world with similar climate, vegetation, and animal inhabitants. With BiomeViewer, you can easily see the locations of Earth’s major terrestrial biomes and explore their features. Find the biome of the city or town where you live. Then visit a location across the globe and see how the two biomes compare. How does temperature vary throughout the year? What animals live there? You can download climate data and save all your favorite locations. A separate layer lets you explore the impact of human activities. With BiomeViewer you won’t run out of questions to ask!

BiomeViewer is produced by HHMI BioInteractive."
 
Oxford University Biology: Organisms Lectures

Oxford University
Biology: Organisms Lectures

From the Description:
"A series of four lectures given by Timothy Walker to the first year Biology undergraduates as part of the Organisms course. These lectures cover alternation of generations, flowering plants, conservation and the GSPC, and the importance of plants for Man."
PhET Math Simulations

PhET
Biology Simulations

From the PhET Homepage:
"Founded in 2002 by Nobel Laureate Carl Wieman, the PhET Interactive Simulations project at the University of Colorado Boulder creates free interactive math and science simulations. PhET sims are based on extensive education research and engage students through an intuitive, game-like environment where students learn through exploration and discovery."