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Beyond Open Textbooks: Explore the Expansive World of Open Educational Resources for Engineering & the General Sciences

March 2, 2020

By Jay Bhatt, Engineering Librarian

Did you know that there are number of excellent online resources that provide free access to videos, codes, simulations, datasets, games, lecture notes and more? Supplemental resources like these can be powerful tools that encourage life-long learning, increase motivation and help us understand difficult concepts or solve problems.

This week is Open Education Week, and to celebrate the tradition of sharing knowledge and resources, I want to highlight a few key sources of Open (ie: free!) engineering and science resources that may come in handy as you work on your research projects and assigned coursework.

Applied Science Resources


  • Engineering Computations with Python: This project is a collection of learning modules in engineering computations for undergraduate students. The project lead is Prof. Lorena A. Barba at George Washington University’s Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering department. Each learning module is made up of four or five lessons, written as a Jupyter notebook, and addressing an area of application or skills in computing using Python as the programming language.
  • National Science Digital Library (NSDL): The National Science Digital Library provides high quality online educational resources for teaching and learning, with current emphasis on the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Most resources in the library adhere to principles of Open Educational Resource (OER) access, although some resources are restricted to provider site membership, or may have a cost associated with them (indicated in the full record of the resource).


  • PhET Interactive Simulations: 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. Faculty members can assign those chapters in their reading lists and link them in their courses through Blackboard Learn.


  • StatsCasts: StatsCasts are narrated screen video recordings of explanations of statistical concepts. They are produced by Swinburne University of Technology, the University of the Sunshine Coast, and the University of Southern Queensland. They are part of an ongoing collaborative research project to develop high quality resources and investigate the effectiveness of StatsCasts to support statistics learning. They are targeted at prerequisite to first year level, in a range of subjects such as: Engineering, Sciences, Health Sciences and Business