OER in 30 minutes: Part 2

Welcome back. I hope you found something you could use in your teaching or research yesterday.  Not to worry if you didn’t manage to get started. This is a very quick introductory course, so you can catch up in minutes.

Actually finding useful resources can be as much a task as making the resource when you first start to search for OER.  Certainly for me there seemed to be more information telling us how amazing OERs are, than actual resources.

In today’s session we will explore the following:

  • Tips on how to find resources by exploring OER search engines and repositories
  • How to use OERs
  • How to make your resources open, and why it would be a wonderful thing for you to do so.

Exploring the OER search engines, repositories and directories

Yesterday we mentioned iTunes U and the general video platforms like Vimeo and YouTube. We also looked at a great tool on the CC site tool – I hope you got chance to look and use that. There are, however, a number of organised areas set up to help you find and use these wonderful OER resources.


OER websites

TASK: Have a search for the same subject on the above repositories and pull together a group of resources you would find useful in your teaching. I had to drag myself away from a Yale course on Milton’s poetry from the Milton site.  (It makes me think about the times I spent in bookshops in the early 90’s with pen and paper, trying to broaden my reading list for my English degree, and how things have opened up and changed for us all.)

The post a link to something you have found useful in the comments section of this blog post.


How to use OER

It would, I think, be stating the obvious that you can either share links to resources, or in many cases copy and paste the embed code given by many OERs into your VLE, web page etc. You could also invite your students to use the tools and sites mentioned in these sessions to find them for themselves. I like the idea of encouraging your students to search for, and share, the very best resources they come across.

Mixing it up

However, there is a little more to it than just downloading images and re-purposing test questions, for example, from various sources.  It’s at this point where things get a little more involved – but believe me it’s worth it! Jump to 1 min on the follow video: Here’s the page for the Licence Chooser Here’s a wiki on how to apply your CC licence

How to make an OER

I invite you watch the following video on how to create OER. There’s some overlap with the previous  video. OERs can be uploaded to the directories mentioned in the first part of this session, and/or hosted by the University/any platform and tagged appropriately.  I think it’s important to see that it is not necessary to create an OER as such, if resources are already exist. But it is important to label them if you wish them to be used.  Though there are ways of designing resources so they work well as OERs, it’s as much about labelling meta data and licences.


I’ll admit, I’m kind of throwing this section in at the last minute, as I found a few really nice tools not only for checking OER accessibility, but checking your own course work, I think the first one is superb:

www.stemreader.org.uk – they’re looking for beta testers –  it reads maths equations.

slidewiki.org – resources for making your OER or just you general course materials accessible.

www.pave-pdf.org/index.en.html – four steps to an accessible PDF

Really useful check list.

So why would you share?

Imagine what we might achieve if we shared, and contributed, and shared… Not only could we save ourselves time and money, we could help each other grow within the no only in the UK but further afield. Have a quick read of this webpage for more information.

I think this is wonderful: OER Africa


I’m probably going over the 30 minute slot here, many apologies. Once you start looking at these things it is easy to become engrossed in some wonderful resources. Whether it’s watching TED ED lectures or playing around with the Flash files I showed you from Core Materials above, or viewing  free Open University courses on iTunes.  I very much hope you have found something within these two sessions to use in your teaching.  I also hope you have been inspired to make some of your resources available.  I think it might be useful for me to do another session looking at putting resources together using OERs and also how we make them.


Please post a comment about something you have found interesting or useful in this course or related to OER.

Activity 2:  I will forward on a survey to assess how useful you have found this introduction to OER. Please fill it out so I can continue to improve the course. Many thanks, Jason Williams


OER in 30 minutes: Part 1

oer image

Welcome to 30 minutes of Open Education Resources:

Hello and welcome. The aim of these two short sessions is to introduce you to the idea of OER and OEP (Open Education Practice). I’ll give you tools to find, use and hopefully, make your resources open to an education-hungry world. The outcome will be that you will know how to tap into and use a vast number of resources to enrich your research and the learning experience of your students.

Digital Badge

I’m please to say we’ve introduced a digital badge to this course.  Complete the activities and make comments to earn your digital badge which proves you have engaged with the course, and can be added to your C.V/LinkedIn profile, CPD work profile. If you haven’t done so already, please pop along to Credly,  set up an account fro yourself, with your work email address.


You should be able to see an option to ‘follow’ this blog on this page – if you hover your mouse over the bottom right of this page – please click on that and enter your email – this will enable you to contribute to the comments, which will be beneficial for both of us.  

If you can’t see the ‘follow’ option, not to worry, you can still read the posts, and email me any comments –  jason.williams@anglia.ac.uk  

Challenges in Education

We live in a world with more information than we know what to do with – and when we sit down to research our work we have that world at our fingertips.  Yet, as we know, not all of it can be used, trusted, and copied legally, not all of it is good information, and not all of it can be easily referenced.

We also have a significant challenge in that media/webpages/course materials etc, are time-consuming and expensive to create, and being a student is an increasingly expensive activity.

“What’s all that got to do with OERs, and how do they help?”

There are masses of free, amazing, professional academic resources on the web made by universities and companies all over the planet, that you are allowed, even invited, to use, re-purpose and embed into your teaching and research.

“Open Education Resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use or re-purposing by others. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge.” (Atkins et al. 2007, p 4)

Atkins, D.E., Brown, J.S. & Hammond, A.L. (2007). A Review of the Open Educational Resources (OER) Movement:

Here’s a short video which explains:


A little bit of history for you (some of it is quite fascinating):

History of OERs

”That all sounds great! So where can I find them?”

OERs appear across the web on many platforms; YouTube, iTunes U, Vimeo being a few of the better known platforms. They also appear within University webpages, and are also gathered together in OER directories and search engines.  (We will explore those next time).

TOOL: CREATIVE COMMONS SEARCH TOOL is a fantastic way of searching for OERs that have been tagged under the Creative Commons use. If you are not aware of what Creative Commons is, have a look here. It’s at the centre of the idea of OERs.

ACTIVITY:  Use the CREATIVE COMMONS SEARCH  tool to find a piece of video, and a photograph/or diagram, plus some text that would be useful for a module you are teaching right now.  If you are not teaching, then pick something you are interested in. (I just chose Wilfred Owen.) Please share the links in the reply box below.

DID YOU KNOW? Anglia Ruskin University has an iTunes U presence that has had tens of thousands of views and downloads across the planet.

OPTIONAL TASK: If you have iTunes on your phone or computer do a search for ‘Cardiac Arrest Simulation’. The videos on there created by Anglia Ruskin (me, in fact) are the only information on that subject across the entire iTunes platform (not just the iTunes U part of it).  Have you ever suggested to your students that they might find useful information on iTunes U?

DID YOU KNOW? Anglia Ruskin University staff and students have access to millions of programmes films and radio programmes which can be embedded, used in class/VLE/assignments, quoted and referenced via Box of Broadcasts?

EXTRA TASK: I invite you to browse OER COMMONS for something related to your subject. Let me know what you find in the comment box below.

Here’s a few more things you might like to have a quick look at:

  • RES: a brilliant new idea that could change the face of pulling free resources together. Click the link and watch the video on their front page for info.
  • Whether you teach English or not these examples of freely available resources are stunning  – Folio and Resources

Next Session:

Well, I hope you have already found something useful from today’s short session.  I know every time I go looking for OERs I end up finding something new and incredible, and certainly things that I would not have the time, money or skills to create myself. This is not, however, just a story about getting free resources from reputable sources – another important aspect is that sharing resources across the globe can lead to incredible things happening.

In the next post we will be looking at OER directories and search engines, some really cool resources, and also why you might consider making your resources open to the world.  Here’s a video on that to whet your appetite. See you tomorrow.

This video was created by Blink Tower (Cape Town, South Africa) for a 2012 video competition (http://whyopenedmatters.org/index.html) to explain why OER Matters.