Where do you find OER? There is not a one-stop shop for OERs, no single repository where they are stored. Instead they are scattered across the internet, sometimes within institutional repositories or organizational websites. If you are going to use OER then you will need to know how best to search for them, and identify where relevant resources for your particular discipline are most likely to be found. In this topic, we will investigate OER search techniques.
There are a few dedicated web tools designed to find OER.
Dedicated Search Tools
A number of search engines exist that are designed to search specifically for OER.
Besides these specialized search tools, you can also use Google’s advanced search that allows the user to adjust the usage rights field to receive results that include only OER. If you would like to improve your searching techniques, the Google Power Searching self-paced online courses are recommended, and provide a quick and effective path to learn new tips and tricks. The example below takes you through the steps required to filter results according to licence.
Google Advanced Search
Start a Google Advanced Search. Google is one of the most commonly used search engines in the world, but did you know you can use Google to find Creative Commons (CC) licensed content? Using Google Advanced Search, you are able to search for CC material by keyword and refine your results to show only material available under certain CC licences.
Access Google’s Advanced Search options directly by typing www.google.com/advanced_search into the address bar on your web browser or use the link above.
Filter results for what you want to do. By default, Google search results are not filtered by licence. To filter your search results, look for the ‘Usage rights’ field. It is the last editable item on the page. Select the option from this menu that is appropriate to your needs. All CC licences grant the user the right to use and distribute the licensed content. Therefore, if you select the ‘free to use or share’ option, your search will return content available under any of the CC licences.
If you restrict the results to material that can be used commercially, you will exclude content under a NonCommercial licence (e.g. Attribution-NonCommercial, Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike or Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works). Likewise, selecting the ‘free to use share or modify’ option will return results that you can legally remix (i.e. that do not have the No Derivative Works restriction). If you select ‘free to use, share or modify, even commercially’, you will only return results under the two CC licences that allow both adaptation and commercial use (i.e. Attribution and Attribution-Share Alike).
Search for keywords. Enter your keyword in the field at the top of the page and click ‘Advanced Search’ to begin your search. You can also combine Google’s CC search tool with other fields on the Google Advanced search page to refine your search even further. For example, you can search for CC within a site or domain, or in a specific language, or in a specific file format.
Adapted from ‘How to find Creative Commons materials using Google for Teachers and Students’ CC BY
You can view a video on OER Search Techniques:
Video Summary: OER Search Techniques (9.13 min)
Image source: www.coerll.utexas.edu
The following list identifies useful repositories where you can look for OER. It is worth investing some time familiarizing yourself with the different types of OER offered by each repository.
Open Courseware (OCW)
Some well-known institutions who offer open courses are:
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology Open Courseware
- Open Michigan
- John Hopkins School of Public Health
- Class Central Nottingham Trent University (NTU) Open Courses (requires login)
- Open Yale
Open Repositories with an African Focus
- OER Africa
- African Virtual University
- National Open University of Nigeria
- Kwame Nkrumah University of Science Technology OCW
- University of Cape Town Open UCT
- African Health OER Network
- African Teacher Education Network
- Teacher Education in Sub-Saharan Africa (TESSA)
- University of South Africa (Unisa) Open
OER Short Courses/Resources
Creative Commons hosts a comprehensive list of repositories for specific resources and media types.