Stefanie Sanders

Free and open resources for open education in the humanities

Blog Post created by Stefanie Sanders Administrator on Apr 5, 2016

Some disciplines lend themselves to open education better than others. For example, over the course of my academic career, I've had occasion to take basic psychology courses in three separate (and not consecutive) decades. In the first go-round, the foundation of the course was Freud (yes, it was a long time ago). The second time, behavioral psych came to the fore. More recently, the emphasis has been on advances in the neurosciences. I mention this as an example of how advances in research and changes in disciplinary emphasis make developing open resources more challenging for some fields than for others.


With that in mind, as long as one is willing to look beyond the recent past (meaning the last hundred years or so), the overarching discipline of the humanities, and specifically the subjects of philosophy--where much of our study concentrates on 2000-year-old writings!--and art represent fertile areas for the development of open education resources.


I've compiled a brief and by-no-means-comprehensive list of resources from which I draw to build my courses while using as little publisher content as possible.


ResourceLinkWhat you'll get (description from website)
Film noir archive at archive.orgFilm Noir : Free Movies : Download & Streaming : Internet ArchiveFree and openly-available films noir, described as "Expressionistic crime dramas of the 40s and 50s: tough cops and private eyes, femme fatales, mean city streets and deserted backroads, bags of loot and dirty double-crossers."
Historic American Newspapers, Library of CongressChronicling America « Library of CongressSearch America's historic newspaper pages from 1836-1922 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present.
Internet Encyclopedia of PhilosophyInternet Encyclopedia of Philosophy | An encyclopedia of philosophy articles written by professional philosophers.Peer-reviewed academic resource (the link title says it all).
Project Gutenberg (Arts)Art (Bookshelf) - GutenbergSelected 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.
Project Gutenberg (Music)Music (Bookshelf) - GutenbergMusician biographies; music collections, music history, music literature, and music instruction.
Project Gutenberg (Opera)Opera (Bookshelf) - GutenbergOpera librettos; opera excerpts (recordings); opera plot summaries, history, and commentary; opera fiction;  source texts.
Project Gutenberg (Religion)Category:Religion Bookshelf - GutenbergBookshelves on atheism, Bahá'i Faith, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Latter Day Saints, Mythology, Paganism.
The RSA ArchiveThe RSA ArchiveThe RSA (The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce) archive of Society, Council and Committee manuscript minutes, membership lists, transactions, catalogues, correspondence, artworks, artifacts, books from the early library and audio visual items, photographs, slides, CDs and DVDs.
Smithsonian Learning LabSmithsonian Learning Lab :: Discover. Create. ShareThe Smithsonian Learning Lab is "a major rethinking of how the digital resources from across the Smithsonian’s 19 museums, 9 major research centers, the National Zoo, and more, can be used together, for learning."
Stanford Encyclopedia of PhilosophyTable of Contents (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)Organizes scholars from around the world in philosophy and related disciplines to create and maintain an up-to-date reference work.
Wikimedia CommonsWikimedia CommonsA database of 31,017,562 (this number changes regularly) freely usable media files to which anyone can contribute


For additional resources, please have a look at Susan Nugent's: Opening the Box to the Past and Katie Bradford's Open Content Providers.