Open Educational Resources and Biology

The curated list of resources that follows is organized by C-ID designation. Resources for courses without a C-ID designation are organized by course title following those with a C-ID.

This collection was curated by an ASCCC OERI discipline lead. A comprehensive list of current discipline leads is available.

This page is currently in draft form. Please let us know if any corrections – or additions – are needed.

Archived Biology Webinars

Human Anatomy with Lab (C-ID BIOL 110B)

Lecture Materials

Laboratory Materials

Human Anatomy and Physiology with Lab (C-ID BIOL 115S)

This descriptor is a sequence composed of at least two courses. OER for this course may be applicable to BIOL 110B and/or BIOL 120B, or vice versa.

Lecture Materials

Laboratory Materials

Human Physiology with Lab (C-ID BIOL 120B)

Lecture Materials

  • Human Physiology (Young et al., n.d.) – WikiBooks  (CC BY-SA)

    A wiki-style textbook that contains many common topics in Physiology. The text was created as a class project by undergraduate students, and it is not clear if the text has been reviewed by physiology educators. PDF and printable versions are available for instructors who want stability in the material as the Wiki aspect means that anyone can edit the original material.

Laboratory Materials

Organismal Biology, Ecology, and Evolution (C-ID BIOL 130S)

See “Biology Sequence for Majors”

Biology Sequence for Majors (C-ID BIOL 135S)

This descriptor is a sequence composed of at least two courses. OER provided below are applicable to the sequence as a whole, and may be usable in individual courses (e.g., BIOL 190, BIOL 155, etc.). OER related only to a specific course is also provided in a separate section of this page, and those materials may, in turn, be applicable to this C-ID.

Lecture Materials

  • Biology 2nd Edition (Clark et al., 2018) – OpenStax (CC BY 4.0)

    Perhaps one of the closest examples to a “turnkey” open education solution for the major’s biology sequence. This text is in a similar vein to mainstream publisher offerings such as Campbell Biology and Mader’s Biology. The organization is consistent with those texts, and can easily replace them. Likewise, instructor materials such as lecture slides, end-of-chapter answer keys, etc., are available. With many contributing authors though, the level of content varies depending on section. For example, biological diversity of invertebrates is fairly shallow with the text organizing groups by superphylum rather than discussing each phylum individually and in detail. Instructors may benefit from remixing the book with chapters from OpenStax’s non-major’s biology textbook Concepts of Biology. This will allow for fine-tuning of the course content depending on the course prerequisites (i.e., whether students have taken chemistry).

  • Biofundamentals (Klymkowsky and Cooper, 2021) – LibreTexts (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

    Diverging from traditional biology texts, Biofundamentals fills in many of the “gaps” that these texts leave. Perennially misunderstood concepts such as the Scientific Method and nature of science, and Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium are addressed with careful consideration for comprehension. The text is also organized in an engaging manner that starts with fundamental questions of biology (e.g., How did life arise? How did life diversify, etc.) rather than the abstractness of chemistry and macromolecules. Instructors following Vision and Change guidelines may appreciate the structure of this text. However, the text as a whole suffers from a distinct lack of media. Occasional images and videos are provided, but these are far and few between. Visual processes such as membrane transport are described almost exclusively in text. The text content also does not fulfill the course descriptor due to missing content mainly related to biodiversity, anatomy, and physiology. Despite this, the text might serve as a good starting point for remixing, or as a supplement to another one.

  • Boundless Biology (Boundless, n.d.) – LumenLearning (Licenses vary.)

    Incorporates many elements from Biology published by OpenStax. It augments that with other resources such as Wikimedia and its subsidiaries (e.g., Wikipedia, Wiktionary, etc.). The organization of this text might be more palatable for students. For example, LumenLearning provides the text split by semester (e.g., Biology I and Biology II). Content in Boundless Biology is collected from various sources with their own licensing type, which may not be open; care needs to be exercised when remixing content to ensure that only OER content is being used in the newly created content.

Laboratory Materials

Organismal Biology (C-ID BIOL 140).

See “Biology Sequence for Majors”

Zoology/Animal Diversity and Evolution (C-ID BIOL 150)

Lecture Materials

    No resources identified.

Laboratory Materials

Botany/Plant Diversity and Ecology (C-ID BIOL 155)

Lecture Materials

  • Inanimate Life  (Briggs, 2021) – Milne Open Textbooks (CC BY-SA)

    A well put together overview of botany. The text is not ordered in the more “traditional” phylogenetic manner. However, this enables the text to show cross-cutting concepts more clearly as a result. The text includes organisms outside of plant phyla such as fungi and algae.

  • Botany (Ha et al., 2021) – LibreTexts  (CC BY-NC) 

    This text takes a more phylogenetic approach to the field of botany. After a chapter covering an introduction to the field, 7 chapters discussing plant (and other organismal groups) is provided. After, plant structure and function are covered, with ecology and conservation being the last section of the book.

Laboratory Materials

  • Botany Lab Manual (Morrow, 2020) – ASCCC OERI (CC BY-NC) 

    A collection of 21 labs relevant to a botany course. Google docs are provided, so editing of material can be done easily. Illustrations by Nikki Harris are excellent, and help to maintain a cohesiveness to the visual presentation. All visuals are in black and white, and many are intended to be colored in by the student.

Cell and Molecular Biology (C-ID BIOL 190)

Lecture Materials

  • Principles of Biology (Bartee et al., n.d.) – Open Oregon  (CC BY 4.0 International)

    While intended for a 3 quarter (2 semester) major’s biology sequence, this text focuses much more heavily on cellular and molecular biology. In turn, it makes for a good text for BIOL 190. The inclusion of some chapters on evolution ensure that the text meets the C-ID descriptor’s content requirements.

  • Basic Cell and Molecular Biology 4th edition (Bergtrom, 2020) – University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (CC BY 4.0 International)

    While billed as a “basic” overview of the topic, the text is quite advanced and covers the content of BIOL 190 thoroughly. The updated text means that newer topics such as CRISPR are included. However, the advanced nature of the text means that there are topics that may go beyond the scope of BIOL 190 (e.g., mechanisms of retrotransposon copying, enzyme kinetics, etc.). Curation of the text content may be necessary. One critical feature of the text is its focus on experimental history in cellular and molecular biology; this might make it well-suited for instructors who focus heavily on scientific thinking.

General Biology

Lecture Materials

  • Concepts of Biology (Fowler et al., 2013) – OpenStax (CC BY) 

    The non-major’s equivalent to OpenStax’s Biology 2nd edition. An easy-to-use textbook that is similar to mainstream publisher efforts. Of note is a comprehensive “instructor resources” section that contains helpful tools for adopting the text (e.g., syllabus language, lecture slides, etc.).

Laboratory Materials

Human Biology

Lecture Materials

Microbiology

Lecture Materials

Laboratory Materials

Introduction to Environmental Science (C-ID ENVS 100)


Using an OER resource that is missing from the list above? If so, please let us know.

This page last updated on January 12, 2024.