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Faculty of Humanities Teaching & Learning Office

Finding Open Educational Resources

Jorum_Find.jpgClick the image to find resources in Jorum, browse by Subject within Higher Education.

Students and staff have uploaded content to Jorum. Enter "University of Manchester" in the search field produces over 10,000 hits!

This is an overview page explaining the relevance of reusable online teaching resources for your Blackboard courses. These are also known as Open Educational Resources (OER).

What are OERs and why all the fuss?

"Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that are freely available online for everyone to use, whether you are an instructor, student or self-learner." Retrieved from: JISC/HEA Open Educational Resources infoKit March 2013

The idea behind OERs is simply to make all the high quality teaching materials which have been uploaded to the Web more readily available to the academic teaching community. OER can range from assets such as images, documents, presentations, or videos to more structured content packages that bundle these resources together into 'lessons' or tutorials.

How do I find OERs to use in my course?

You can specifically search for OER in your discipline area, e.g. in Humanities you could use Humbox, or the Jorum service, the JISC-funded national repository for Learning and Teaching resources.

War Recruits (1914).jpgAcademics at the University of Manchester can make use of the excellent resources held by our Library, which links to numerous collections e.g. Film and sound Online, which can easily be embedded into a Blackboard course.

There are many excellent sites explaining OER. Here are a few links; search the Web for many more:

OER Commons - "Find Free-to-Use Teaching and Learning Content from around the World". Click 'Browse All' to see subject area listings.

There is a guide on the Knowledge Base entitled How do I find reusable online teaching resources.


Image of the 19th century German Philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche found using Google, Advanced Search for reusable images

There are many resource collections to choose from these days, it depends what you are looking for: some teachers find very relevant images in the Edina http://edina.ac.uk collection like the image to the left of World War 1 War Recruits used in the 2nd level History 'Winds of Change' course.

The effective use of images can really enliven a series of Seminars!

Worried about copyright? 

No need to worry so much when using material with Creative Commons licenses, because this material is 'available to the public for free and legal use under the terms of our copyright licenses, with more being contributed every day.'  http://creativecommons.org 

Example of Creative Commons license logoWhen you see a logo similar to this, it indicates that resources are using one of the Creative Commons licences; 

This logo is for the Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence. In order to decide which is the most appropriate licence, creators choose a set of conditions they wish to apply to their work, from these:

  • Attribution. You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your copyrighted work — and derivative works based upon it — but only if they give credit the way you request.
  • Noncommercial. You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your work — and derivative works based upon it — but for noncommercial purposes only.
  • No Derivative Works. You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform only verbatim copies of your work, not derivative works based upon it.
  • Share Alike. You allow others to distribute derivative works only under a license identical to the license that governs your work.

Details of each kind of licence can be found at: http://creativecommons.org/about/license/ and http://creativecommons.org/licenses/

OER can be easily be found using this licensing approach; you can use the Advanced Search feature of  Google to search for Creative Commons content, or find pictures using Flickr; Wikimedia Commons is a core user of this licence.

The University has a new Visual Content Library (July 2015) which replaces the StaffNet image library. It is a source of curated, on-brand, relevant and up to date film and imagery content of The University of Manchester. You need to contact your faculty or divisional Administrator to gain access. See also the University's brand website for style guidance when taking or commissioning photographs.

15 image sources for your next presentation is anonline blog article from Citrix, which includes free image repositories and Creative Commons licensed images.