100 Essential Bookmarks for Open Source Enthusiasts

When Whitney Houston sang about children being the future, that’s only because open source wasn’t really much of a thing back in 1986. But it is now, and it’s the future (sorry, kiddos), so teach it well and let it lead the way. The ongoing popularity of free learning resources, classes, certificates, and more has done more to democratize education than anything else since the advent of public schooling. By this point, anyone with Internet access can receive a world-class education on their own terms and, for the most part, at no cost. Thanks to the efforts of the following websites, more and more self-directed learners work independently or in groups to better their minds.


  1. MIT Open Courseware:Whenever any edtech, edupunk, and open source aficionados talk open courseware, they usually point to MIT’s programming, which covers a wide range of technological, scientific, and humanities topics, as an example of doing it right in every way.
  2. edX:MIT, Harvard, Berkeley, and The University of Texas System team up to offer free computer science courses (so far) with the option of taking an official final exam and gaining insight into how effectively they sank into students’ minds.
  3. Coursera:This amazing resource, with participants from some of the world’s top colleges and universities, offers online mini-classes where students enroll (for free!) and interact with professors more than some of the other open courseware programs out there.
  4. Tufts Open Courseware:Download all the necessary course materials for undergraduate and graduate level classes from Tufts’ medical schools, College of Arts and Science, and other departments and get to learnin’.
  5. Connexions:Rice University hosts a massive database of open courses from more than just its professors — others from schools around the world also share their stuff on most of the major academic subjects.
  6. Open Yale Courses:The Ivy League juggernaut focuses largely on introductory-level courses so anyone hoping to experiment with open source education gets things started on one of the highest possible notes.
  7. Stanford Engineering Everywhere:Open source buffs wanting to hone their engineering skills have a few different options at Stanford’s popular repository for free courseware in robotics, computer science, and more.
  8. iTunes U:Students don’t need iDevices to take advantage of the multimedia educational delights, including podcasts and videos, suitable for kindergarten through college levels.
  9. webcast.berkeley:Since 2005, Berkeley has posted full, complimentary courses online for visitors curious to soak up a world-class education in their favorite subjects.
  10. Open Learning Initiative:Presented by Carnegie Mellon University, the Open Learning Initiative exists as one of the most popular open courseware programs because of its easy-to-use modular interface.
  11. JHSPH Open Courseware:Not only does Johns Hopkins University’s open courseware programming cover the usual gratis classes, users may also take advantage of their special collections and image archives when launching their own personalized inquiries.
  12. Utah State University:Unlike some other schools, this one actually lets its own students receive credits for participating in their open course offerings; but it’s still extremely useful for those not enrolled in the university as well, obviously.
  13. The Open University:One of Europe’s most groundbreaking open source colleges pioneered many of the strategies used by other schools devoted to sharing their classes with the world for freesies.
  14. YouTube EDU:Many of the colleges and universities listed here, as well as others (of course), upload partial or full videos of class lectures to YouTube EDU so learners don’t have to dig through 9098347236263 cats and lip syncs to “Call Me Maybe” (or whatever song is all viral and stuff at the time you read this).
  15. Notre Dame OpenCourseWare:The diverse bounty of classes available via Notre Dame’s open source fun-fun times require no registration or enrollment; just pop ‘em open and get going (kind of like beer).
  16. open.michigan:Students, educators, and researchers alike are encouraged to post their learning materials and share what they’ve picked up during their academic journeys.
  17. University of Southern Queensland OpenCourseWare:They only post a few different courses at a time, but still spring for a modest mix of topics hosted in nice, compact, and most importantly, user-friendly models.
  18. OpenCourseWare at University of California, Irvine:UCI’s open courseware largely targets full-time workers who wish to continue their educations but lack the time and/or the fundage to formally enroll somewhere.
  19. Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources:Multiple schools and organizations team up to spread the OER love, with webinars and other resources on the movement; this site proves most valuable when following the latest relevant news.
  20. Open Courseware Consortium:Another essential alliance where hundreds of institutes of higher learning across the planet converge to not only share their classroom resources but discuss best practices and the future of open education initiatives.
  21. Open Course Library:Some of the Washington State University course materials here, which include textbooks, syllabi, reads, and more, do come at a cost, but plenty of freebies (including full classes) are available, too!
  22. BYU Independent Study:Both free and at-cost are available through this world-class university at the middle school, high school, and college levels.
  23. Academic Earth:View full class lectures and even earn a full degree thanks to the Academic Earth consortium; test prep videos can also be accessed for additional help before the most standardized tests.
  24. Open Access Resources:Southern Connecticut State University’s Hilton C. Buley Library presents a showstopping multimedia collection of open source materials for classroom and independent usage.

Textbooks and Journals

  1. College Open Textbooks:Driven self-learners need to bookmark College Open Textbooks in order to follow the most updated stories and trends regarding the past, present, and future of open textbooks .
  2. Directory of Open Access Journals:Search thousands of academic, peer-reviewed articles and journals in multiple languages and covering pretty much every subject.
  3. The National Academies Press:The National Academies Press kindly provides full chapters and books in PDF format at no charge; most of their content covers the STEM fields.
  4. SpringerOpen:Science researchers post their discoveries to SpringerOpen for intensive peer review, and open learning lovers head here for free, expert opinions.
  5. SmARThistory:Khan Academy bought this absolutely stellar example of a multimedia art history textbook in 2011, and it continues collaborating with professionals to present a free, interactive read covering the entirety of human creativity.
  6. bookboon.com:Verified experts write and share entirely free downloadable textbooks on scientific and technological disciplines.
  7. Textbook Revolution:Students run the wildly popular Textbook Revolution, where they allow users to search ebooks, PDFs, websites, and other open source media for their educational pursuits.
  8. e-journals.org:This link archive makes it easy for learners to find academic journals on an impressive array of subjects for freesies on the World Wide Internet Web.
  9. HighWire:Presented by Stanford University, HighWire is proud of its status as the biggest free archive of academic articles on the sciences currently available.
  10. Academic Journals:Promoting and perpetuating open access publishing stands as Academic Journals’ major jam, and their providings don’t discriminate along disciplinary lines.
  11. Open Textbooks: List:Not a textbook or archive, but rather a fabulous little list linking up visitors to the best of the best open source examples around the Web.
  12. CK-12:With sites available for students and teachers alike, CK-12 should be considered an essential stop for finding digital textbooks for kindergarten through twelfth grade.
  13. California Open Source Textbook Project:Keep track of the California Open Source Textbook Project’s ongoing progress on its official site, where fans of the open access concept learn about the future.
  14. The Global Text Project:The minds behind this initiative work closely with textbook authors in order to share completely free textbooks with teachers, students, schools, and independent learners around the world.


  1. Open Culture:Probably the best of the best open access resources around, Open Culture not only serves as a blog tracking the entire movement, but a host for free movies, lessons, courses, textbooks, ebooks, audio, and other media.
  2. Internet Archive:Another absolute necessity; Internet Archive is a groundbreaking online library hosting millions of multimedia delights for the specific goal of educating anyone with a computer and a connection.
  3. Europeana:No less than the European Union itself sponsors this massive online collection of digital resources from its extensive suite of world-class museums, libraries, galleries, and archives.
  4. TED:TED records and posts engaging lectures by some of the planet’s most influential thinkers and doers, covering nearly every topic imaginable with an eye for the future.
  5. Smithsonian Institution, Collections Search Center:Since most people can’t head out to the Smithsonian itself whenever they wish to learn about its arsenal of holdings, its overloaded Internet archive of many different media delivers.
  6. Forum Network:Head here for amazing talks and presentations by industry leaders in the sciences, technology, art, history, and more.
  7. Project Gutenberg:Public domain literary works flood the digital shelves here in a wide variety of formats, including HTML, PDF, and ebook for anyone hoping to soak up some classics.
  8. LibriVox:If audiobooks are more your jam, try LibriVox instead. Volunteers here gather together and record themselves reading public domain works so everyone can enjoy them.
  9. Snag Films:Choose from hundreds of documentaries, interviews, movies, and TV shows and stream them online completely for free, some even hailing from National Geographic and top directors.
  10. National Archives:American history comes alive through records of the people, photos, and documents that shaped the nation, and the National Archives even hosts lesson plans and materials for teachers.
  11. Google Art Project:Some of the greatest museums and galleries in the world “hang” their most beloved, influential works at this digital gallery, where visitors can also curate their own personalized shows.
  12. The Museum of Online Museums:In case it’s not obvious, The Museum of Online Museums is an online museum devoted to showcasing the best of the best in online museums. How meta!
  13. SlideShare:Teachers, students, and other professionals who have to give slideshow presentations upload them here so visitors can learn from their research.
  14. OER Commons:From kindergarten to college, Open Educational Resources stores a vast array of educational resources for teachers, students, and motivated self-learners.
  15. Debatabase:Hone those arguing skills by perusing hundreds of debates and the resources needed to argue both sides effectively.
  16. NGA Images:Art aficionados (or newcomers to the subject) hit up the National Gallery of Art’s huge image archive to research the history of American creativity.
  17. Documentary Heaven:Crack open a beer or soda or one of those La Croix canned waters that are pretty good and get to watching free documentary programming.
  18. The Online Books Page:University of Pennsylvania posts links to over a million examples of free online literature, even including a few specialty lists for differing interests.


  1. Wikipedia:You laugh, but the best Wikipedia articles out there are the direct result of properly-cited academic resources; it’s a great start to a personal education journey.
  2. UCDavis ChemWiki:Part wiki, part textbook, hop on over here for detailed, constantly evolving reading on all things related to chemistry.
  3. Greetings from the World:This award winner collects presentation posters from students across the globe, who upload their hard work and engage in peer-to-peer education experiences.
  4. Investopedia:Consult Investopedia for reliable information about personal finance and the economics lurking behind it.
  5. resourcesforhistoryteachers:Both teachers and students alike contribute to this wiki, which collects all sorts of media for learning more about history.
  6. Open Wetware:Biology and bioengineering professionals gather here to edit articles on every topic related to their respective industries.
  7. Wikiversity:Presented by the Wikimedia Foundation, Wikiversity is exactly what it sounds like in the title – a place for learning communities to form and exchange learning materials.
  8. wikiHow:Head here for detailed how-to guides, both written and video recorded, on pretty much everything imaginable. Within reason, anyways.
  9. Encyclopedia of Life:Taxonomy enthusiasts post photos and information about biological specimens they find while traversing the globe, with contests and communities to round out the scientific fun times.
  10. WikiEducator:Collaboration and development are the name of the game at this wiki, which pushes the boundaries of what open source can do and where it can go in the future.
  11. Wissahickon School District’s eToolbox:Although targeting teachers who want to infuse technologies into their classrooms, self-learners certainly benefit from checking out this wiki chock full of edtech suggestions.
  12. WikiTeach:WikiTeach allows participants to create and download complete lesson plans, so they have quite a bit to offer the open source enthusiast embarking on a solo or collaborative educational project.
  13. Wikisource:Also known as “The Free Library,” Wikisource overflows with Creative Commons, public domain, and other free media for indexing and commenting.
  14. ChoralWiki:This wiki resource collects public domain music, lyrics, translations, and other delights for instruments and the voice alike.
  15. Encyclopedia of Earth:Experts contribute to the Encyclopedia of Earth, which is pretty much an online Encyclopedia of Earth where viewers soak up lessons on the life and environmental sciences.

DIY and Collaborative

  1. Codecademy:The simple, free modules here provide courses in the basics of coding in different languages, suitable for complete beginners to computering.
  2. Khan Academy:Watch videos and sign up for coaching in all the academic fields, covering different levels of experience and even providing assistance for standardized testing.
  3. Udemy:Not every class offered via Udemy is for free, but plenty are and come straight from experts in their field discussing a nicely diverse selection of topics.
  4. eHow:The Internet’s most epic repository for how-to guides covering things some people probably didn’t even know existed.
  5. Crafting Freedom:Engage in an intensive inquiry into African-American history through lesson plans, videos, audio, images, and more, suitable for both teachers and self-learners.
  6. Alison:UNESCO itself praises Alison’s dedication to serving up free online classes and certifications in a self-directed setting.
  7. Worldwide Center of Mathematics:When hoping to embark on a mathemagical time, make a stop at the Worldwide Center of Mathematics for low-cost digital textbooks and free video lectures about the numbers driving daily life.
  8. OpenStudy:Collaborative learning enthusiasts gather at OpenStudy to ask questions (oh, and answer them) and even earn certificates and other honors for their accomplishments.
  9. TheNewBoston:Bucky Roberts hosts an excellent, well-loved series of videos on programming language and writing simple software, though he delves into some other subjects like math, science, robotics, and video games.
  10. Instructables:Love DIY? Head here to hook up with detailed how-to guides and other fans of all things creative, crafty, and hacky.
  11. University of Reddit:Yes, Redditers are good for things other than cats and misogyny. Here, they gather together to share their research and areas of expertise and learn together.
  12. Duolingo:Multilingual learners translate websites from one tongue to another in exchange for lessons in other languages from fellow users.
  13. Project Noah:This super cool social media site asks biology buffs to upload photos of the animals and plants they encounter for identification purposes and sharing with professional scientists looking to track species.
  14. Google Code University:Google employees, professors, and other computer science pros offer free courses in programming, security, and more.
  15. P2PU:At Peer 2 Peer University, edupunks get their group learnin’ on by organizing their own lesson plans, dividing up their tasks, and keeping track of one another’s progress.
  16. Open Planner:Ideal for teachers wanting to network with others in the field and develop their curricula and best practices in an open source environment.
  17. Quora:Write, share, and network with other knowledge junkies around the world — even talk with experts and professionals about absolutely anything.

References and Tools

  1. WolframAlpha:This search engine and mobile app specifically caters to anyone seeking academic information on all the topics.
  2. Dictionary.com:It’s got a thesaurus, a dictionary, a translator, and word games to keep the mind going when things get a little boring.
  3. Purdue Online Writing Lab:With the Purdue Online Writing Lab, anyone who needs to write an academic paper has an easy reference for all the major research formats, like MLA, Chicago, and more.
  4. Creative Commons:Creative Commons allows creators to release their works into the public domain with varying degrees of attribution and editing.
  5. Google Scholar:Rather than compiling research via regular Google, try Google Scholar to call back articles from academic journals.
  6. Questia:Not all of the textbooks, journals, and articles at Questia are necessarily free — though some are — but it remains one of the top resources for finding fast, reliable research materials.
  7. Curriki:Parents, teachers, and students concerned with grades K through 12 stop here to collaborate on and exchange open source learning materials; even self-learning adults new to different topics will likely pick up quite a bit here!
  8. Open Source Initiative:The OSI (no, not the Office of Secret Intelligence, but we thought that, too) acts as a kind of meeting ground where open source enthusiasts, professionals, and organizations gather to discuss and spread the philosophy.
  9. Free Software Foundation:Download free software, and learn more about the culture of open source and open access coding and programming.
  10. SchoolForge:Browse hundreds of free educational games merging technology with self-paced learning, with options suitable for many different grade and skill levels.
  11. opensource.com:Explore how open source is currently changing the shape of education and follow the latest news and trends within the community.
  12. The Gateway to 21st Century Skills:Since 1996, this site has served as a database for educators looking for open access class materials suitable for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.