Reading Time: 4 minutes

Over the last two days, we have concentrated primarily on images; both those that are creative commons, and those that are licensed via the University. However, many staff want resources that aren’t images to support their learning resources. If you looked at the State of the Commons report in the first day of this course, then you’ll know that Creative Commons licences are applied to all media types. We will be looking at some of these today.



Over recent years, the concept of Open Access for publications is becoming more well known. In addition to open access journals, there are other sources of content. For example, how would you feel about pointing your students to the blog of a well known researcher in your field? In the field of Open Educational Practices, I might point students to Viv’z Blog. (and, yes, that is a ‘z in the name!) For an alternative to expensive text books, there are a number of open book initiatives; Wikibooks is part of the Wikimedia foundation, while the Open Text book library has books covering a range of subjects. In addition, a number of University Presses include freely downloadable .pdf versions of their publications (e.g. Athabasca, Cambridge [select Only show open access] – and there are others)

Source: Piled Higher and Deeper (25 Oct, 2012) Open Access Explained


You may well be used to using podcasts for personal interest, but have you found any that are useful for your students? As well as videos, TEDTalks are also available as audio. Alternatively, Freesound gives you lots of different creative commons licensed sounds, and the Free Music Archive is just that.


For videos, as well as TED and YouTube, you might want to have a look at – which has a vast database of lectures, not all in English. It covers lectures, conferences, tutorials, keynotes…


Increasingly, as research moves towards open access, so data is also being shared. As well as the UK Data Archive,  there is also Wikidata. If you are interested in data that others have processed, you may find some useful resources in Figshare. One of the most visually appealing ways of presenting data is Hans Rosling’s Gapminder site.

Source: Gapminder Foundation (22 March 2009) 200 years that changed the world (with Hans Rosling) Shared with a CC licence

Open Educational Resources

Many of these resources have a role in education, even if they were designed for other uses. There are also many materials that are specifically called Open Educational Resources (OERs). They may be small (e.g. a video, a quiz, etc) or large (a whole course). They are usually tagged (labelled) with additional information to help you select material that is the correct level for your students – though as always, you know your students, you know what they have already covered – the description was the one the creator at the time felt correct. One useful source of these is OER Commons. Closely related to OERs are MOOCs. The main difference between a MOOC and an OER that’s a whole course is the timing. A MOOC has a starting point and an ending point. This can enable far more interaction to happen between learners and tutors, (as with any distance learning course), but you are tied to someone else’s schedule, which may not fit with your teaching plans. The University of Dundee runs a number of MOOCs on Futurelearn, you might want to have a look at some of them. Perhaps you’ll be involved with one in the future.

Over to you

We have given you a vast number of links in the previous page, you may only have had time to look at one or two – and those links we have given you are only the tip of the iceberg for what is out there. What we’d like you to do is to find a resource for a module you’re teaching; ideally, of a type you haven’t thought about including in a module before. You might want to use one of our sources, or you might have read about a different repository you like; perhaps one that is very much centred on your subject area. How easy was it to find, and, crucially evaluate the material, to see if it was useful for your students (or yourself, if there’s something you want to learn). Are there other repositories that you have found valuable in the past that haven’t been listed here? How easy do you think it would be for students to use these resources to find additional material to support coursework? How would you feel if a student referenced a YouTube video, or a TED talk, or an OER from another University in an assessment?


Once you have found some resources, you may well want to include them in your module on MyDundee. While you can provide a link to a resource, it makes your site more visually appealing if you can embed them. If you haven’t done this before, here are guides on the Blackboard Help Website (you might find some of the other help pages useful for other aspects of your use of MyDundee.

If you are a Moodle user:

Yesterday, when we asked you to look in the library databases, we mentioned that some of the sources were audio/video resources. Remember, if you are using these licensed resources, you’ll have to make sure you check the licence agreement. In particular, Box of Broadcasts requires that the viewers are in the UK (as well as being members of the University).

With all of the external resources, as well as evaluating them for content, you should try to locate the original version. When searching for resources, you may come across Sci Hub – treat this with caution, as many of the papers are pirated.

Creating your own resources

As a starter, you might like to look at the UX Comic Pattern Library. This is a set of powerpoint (and Keynote) slides that have graphics on – which you can rearrange into images (think Fuzzy Felts on screen!). The links to the downloadable Powerpoint / Keynote files are right at the bottom of the page. If you create anything and would like to share it – add a link to it in the comments.

Link(s) of the day

OEPS (Open Educational Practices Scotland) has a range of materials – there’s a link from that page to their own site; both sites are worth exploring if you are interested. You may have seen JORUM in the past; JISC is no longer actively developing it, but many of the items in it have been moved to their App Store. This includes some offline activities.


11 thoughts on “Day 3: Searching – Beyond images

  1. Hi
    Very interesting. I do not have much time just now to carry out task in full (too much marking) but I looked through links and liked Open Text Library (can we sue all these books?) Really liked the Free Music Archive (hope revisit when more time- new music!).The video lectures are good resource even though it appears there is lots of scientific material. I searched ‘Poverty’ and got 84 matches! Liked gap minder and the included video.
    I thought the question about being OK with students referencing these types of sources interesting and initially I could not see a problem at all but then thought I will take to CLD team for discussion.



  2. Yes, you can use the books, if you find them useful. As with all text books, as an academic, you have to check it to see that they fit with the work you want students to cover.
    I’d agree that tends more to science than otherwise, but have you looked at those on iTunesU? A search for poverty brings up a lot of hits.
    Gapminder is great, isn’t it!

  3. Hi, Like you Gary, I will return to some of these links when I am not on student visits and have more time to spend on finding particular information. There is clearly a wealth of material available and in a way this can be overwhelming as a lot of time is needed to read/watch and listen, all of which should be done thoroughly prior to asking students to engage. The students that I predominantly work with need to have resources such as these built into the module and generally don’t have time to source a lot of additional material as they all have to be in work in order to study for their degree. However I would be very happy to include a few links which could be useful and encourage the students to reference these in their work. The key would be that there is an author link and that this appears to be a reputable source. Helping students with this is sometimes necessary. As my modules are about working with young children it is sometimes difficult to find material that fits my requirements and for this reason I tend to stick to Education Scotland material which does narrow the perspective and material. I do use TedTalks and sometimes have suggested links to Open University Open Access materials, which I always find are excellent quality. If the material is appropriate and used well in assessment and in relation to module materials then I would encourage students to broaden their use of texts. As part of my own development earlier this year I enrolled in a Future Learn MOOC (on number puzzles!, completely unrelated to my job) to see how this was presented and I found it fascinating. I could see that sometimes less is more. I would design any future online modules differently as a result.
    Looking forward to exploring these links in greater depth, thank you.

  4. Hello Angela,
    I’m glad you have found some potential sources of material for the future. I know I gave you a lot of links – I was trying to find things that would cover the huge spectrum of subjects covered at Dundee; so knew only some would be relevant for most people.
    As well as the “less is more” – what else did you feel was good about the Future learn course?

    Do you think it would be good to have another of the Learning X mini courses specifically on how one might turn a face to face module into a distance learning one?

    1. Hello Emma, thanks for your response. I think that your suggestion is a very good one. I must admit that my modules were written as online modules but as I reflect on them and compare the content to the MOOC I can identify aspects for development, mostly removing some of the text. I engage students in posting activty responses onto the blog but perhaps direct this too much, students could have greater ownership. I run two separate blogs on each module, one for posting activity reponses and another for student initiated discussion. This is usually focussed on organisational type issues. I think that I could follow the example in the MOOC whereby students watch a video clip then engage in discussion about the clip, perhaps based on a few questions (this is SCQF Levels 8 and 9) for undergraduates moving to less direction on post-graduate courses. the self assessment quizes on the MOOC are a good way to check understanding (or memory, depending on the content) at that particular moment in time but I would need to think deeply about how I could use this approach on my modules and whether it would even be suitable.

      1. @Angie – We’re planning to run some learning design workshops over the coming months which you might be interested in. We’ll be looking at different design approaches including the ABC model which has been used to guide the development of quite a few of the FutureLearn MOOCs, you can find more info about this here –

        1. Natalie, I’ve had a quick look and I am very interested. I could see that this would help me to reshape my modules to make them more effective in supporting student engagement. Thank you.

  5. The copyright card game is interesting and making me wonder about where our trainees should receive input on copyright issues. We are just learning more and up-skilling ourselves so wonder if we should incorporate something in the training programme for the trainees, maybe input from library services?

    1. Hello Claire,
      I’m glad you have found the copyright card game interesting. When you mention trainees, are you thinking of new staff members? Which department are you working in? If you think the card game looks quite complicated, then there is a simpler version that’s based on Snakes and Ladders ( ) – though it requires MS Publisher to see the game board.
      In terms of support that the library can offer, Andy Jackson would be the best person to contact in the first instance.

    2. Thanks Claire – we’re not doing much awareness-raising with students on copyright issues, but I feel we should. It ties in with referencing and ethical use of information, but we’d be happy to discuss what content is appropriate for the typical undergraduate (if such a thing exists). If anyone else thinks their students would benefit from copyright awareness sessions please get in touch.

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