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OER for ECU Foundation Courses: Natural Sciences (GE:SC)

OERs for the Natural Sciences

This page highlights several open textbooks for courses in the Natural Sciences. The purpose of this list is to provide recommendations to faculty who are considering adopting OERs in Foundation courses at East Carolina University. These resources can complement a course or even serve as the primary textbook. This can page can also serve as a reference for students looking for open resources on topics in the natural sciences. Courses in the General Education requirement for Natural Sciences (GE:SC) can be found here:

Selected Providers of Natural Sciences OERs

Open Chemistry, UC Irvine

Open Chemistry provides recorded lectures and supporting material for undergraduate chemistry. Materials are available for instructors to incorporated into their own courses.

The National Academies Press (NAP)

The NAP publishes books in the sciences, engineering, and medicine that are free to download as a PDF.

UNC System Course Collection Libraries

This website lists collections curated by faculty teams in the UNC System. Collections include slides, virtual labs, educational texts, and assessment tools.

 undefined Open Textbook Library  

"These books have been reviewed by faculty from a variety of colleges and universities to assess their quality. These books can be downloaded for no cost, or printed at low cost. All textbooks are either used at multiple higher education institutions; or affiliated with an institution, scholarly society, or professional organization."

undefined   Lumen Learning 

"Lumen materials aim to deliver an active learning experience. They include text, images, videos, assessments, directed feedback, practice questions, simulations, and other interactives that invite students to apply their knowledge, improve their understanding, and perform better."

undefined    MERLOT 

"MERLOT search engine provides access to curated online learning and support materials and content creation tools, led by an international community of educators, learners and researchers."

undefined Open SUNY Textbooks

Open SUNY textbooks is a publishing initiative established by State University of New York libraries and supported by SUNY Innovative Instruction Technology Grants and SUNY Geneseo. Textbooks are written by faculty experts

undefinedOER Commons

"OER Commons offers a comprehensive infrastructure for curriculum experts and instructors at all levels to identify high-quality OER and collaborate around their adaptation, evaluation, and use to address the needs of teachers and learners."

undefined  BCcampus

Search engine covering major subjects; toolkits available for teachers and authors to adopt and create OERs, respectively.

MIT Open Courseware

MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) is a web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content. OCW is open and available to the world and is a permanent MIT activity.

Biology (BIOL)

BIOL 1050 General Biology and BIOL 1100 Principles of Biology


by J. Choi, M. Douglas, M. A. Clark

Key topics include molecular biology, bioenergetics, cell reproduction, animal reproduction, genetics, biological diversity, evolutionary processes, cell communication, ecology

undefinedRediscovering Biology

Published by Annenberg Media

Features include online chapters, video lectures, and transcripts of interviews with experts; key topics include genomics, proteins, evolution, microbial diversity, cell biology, human evolution, neurobiology, human diseases

undefined   Biology

by J. W. Kimball

Topics include basic chemistry and molecular biology, genomics, ecology, embryonic development and its regulation, metabolism, and gene expression.

undefined  Introduction to Biology

by MIT OpenCourseware

Supplementary material includes exams and problem sets with solutions; Topics cover cell biology, evolution, genetics, biochemistry, immunology, medicine

Anatomy and Physiology

by UNC System Digital Course Enhancement Initiative

The student learning outcomes of these modules are as follows: 1.) Apply proper anatomical language to describe structure and function of body parts and organs of the human body; 2.) Explain and apply the concept of homeostasis and describe homeostatic mechanisms; 3.) Differentiate macro and micro anatomical structures; and 4.) Apply practical laboratory skills to solve physiological problems.

General Biology Course Collection

by UNC System Digital Course Enhancement Initiative

This collection includes assessments, activities, and instructional resources that can supplement a general biology course. Topics include the scientific method, cells, energy, gene expression, evolution, ecology, and biodiversity.



Biology 101 Lab Packet

by L. Bartee & C. Anderson

Topics covered include microscopy, research methods, metabolism, cell biology, osmosis, enzymes, photosynthesis

The biology place

by T. K. Holzclaw

Key topics include dry laboratories to explain basic biological concepts

General Biology Lab Manual

by J. Seto

Key topics include microscopy, organic chemistry, membranes, cellular energy, genetics, gel electrophoresis, DNA fingerprinting, and population genetics.

7.28 Molecular Biology | Biology

by MIT OpenCourseware

This course covers a detailed analysis of the biochemical mechanisms that control the maintenance, expression, and evolution of prokaryotic and eukaryotic genomes. The topics covered in lectures and readings of relevant literature include gene regulation, DNA replication, genetic recombination, and mRNA translation. In particular, the logic of experimental design and data analysis is emphasized.

Experimental Biology & Communication

by MIT OpenCourseware

Materials include recitation notes for biology lab; key topics include genetics, protein biochemistry, recombinant DNA methods, RNA isolation, and etc.

Chemistry (CHEM)

CHEM 1150 General Chemistry

undefinedIntroductory Chemistry

by Pueblo Community College

An introductory textbook that covers chemistry in a survey format. The book is 1,005 pages, divided into 18 chapters – each chapter is hyperlinked. Each chapter is comprised of multiple sections with learning objectives, exercises, and solutions.

undefined  Introductory Chemistry

by J. A. Key & D. W. Ball

This is an introductory course of chemistry; “This survey should give you enough knowledge to appreciate the impact of chemistry in everyday life and, if necessary, prepare you for additional instruction in chemistry.”….two features in every chapter: “Chemistry is everywhere” and “Food and Drink App”

undefinedChem1: Virtual Textbook

by S. Lower

“This virtual/open textbook is composed of 40 chapters covering general chemistry (1st and 2nd semesters) as well as advanced chemistry topics (e.g. advance aquatic chemistry, a survey of environmental geobiochemistry). “

Chemistry I and Chemistry II

by UNC System Digital Course Enhancement Initiative

Modules include instructional materials, assessments, learning activities, and lab resources for first and second semester chemistry courses.


CHEM 1120 Introduction to Chemistry for the Allied Health Sciences

undefinedChemistry for Allied Health

by. A. Soult

This course is comprised of 15 chapters. Topics are introductory and include elements, ions, compounds, structure and function, energy, solids, liquids, gases, organic reactions, amino acids and proteins, and etc; includes an index.

undefinedSupplementary: Chemistry – An Introduction to General, Organic, and Biological Chemistry

by K. C. Timberlake

Supplementary PowerPoint slides for an introductory chemistry course.

Geology (GEOL)

 GEOL 1500 Dynamic Earth

undefined Geology

by K. Schulte

This course covers the following key topics:  rock and mineral formation; weathering and soil formation; plate tectonics; Earth’s interior; crustal deformation; earthquakes and volcanoes; mass movement; hydrology; and applications of geological resources for human use.

undefined  An Introduction to Geology

by C. Johson, M. Affolter, P. Inkenbrandt, & C. Mosher

This course covers the following key topics: plate tectonics, minerals, igneous processes, weathering, metamorphic rocks, earth history, water, coastlines, deserts, glaciers, and energy

undefined Geological Structures: A Practical Introduction

by J. Waldron & M. Snyder

"This manual is about structures that occur within the Earth’s crust. Structures are the features that allow geologists to figure out how parts of the Earth have changed position, orientation, size and shape over time. This work requires careful observation and measurements of features at the surface of the Earth, and deductions about what’s below the surface. The practical skills you will learn in this course form the foundation for much of what is known about the history of the Earth, and are important tools for exploring the subsurface."

undefined Physical Geology

by S. Earle

"Physical Geology is a comprehensive introductory text on the physical aspects of geology, including rocks and minerals, plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes, glaciation, groundwater, streams, coasts, mass wasting, climate change, planetary geology and much more. It has a strong emphasis on examples from western Canada, especially British Columbia, and also includes a chapter devoted to the geological history of western Canada."

undefined  Introduction to Geology

by MIT OpenCourseware

"Through a combination of lectures, labs, and field observations, we will address topics ranging from mineral and rock identification to the origin of the continents, from geologic mapping to plate tectonics, and from erosion by rivers and glaciers to the history of life."

Physics (PHYS)

 PHYS 1250, 1260 General Physics I & II

College Physics

by Open Stax

"Instructors and students alike will find that this textbook offers a strong foundation in introductory physics, with algebra as a prerequisite."

University Physics (3 Volumes)

by OpenStax

"University Physics is a three-volume collection that meets the scope and sequence requirements for the two-three semester calculus based courses. Volume 1 covers mechanics, sound, oscillations, and waves. Volume 2 covers thermodynamics, electricity, and magnetism, and Volume 3 covers optics and modern physics."

undefined Boundless Physics

by Lumen Learning

Introductory physics text that covers kinematics, the laws of motion, uniform circular motion, gravity, work and energy, linear momentum, static equilibrium, fluids, temperature and kinetic theory, and etc.