Introducing: Searching, Using and Sharing.

Metaphorical depiction of Corporate Capitalism fighting the Public Domain with Free Culture being offered as the 'Achilles Heel'.
Reading Time: 2 minutes

When staff want to add materials to learning resources, whether they are resources they’re intending to use in class, or material to supplement learning that they want to put into My Dundee, they are used to checking the materials to ensure their accuracy. However, a big concern of staff at present, is ensuring they have the relevant permissions to use them. For many educators, this is a minefield, and may even deter them from finding valuable resources.

Over the course of next week, we will look at how you can search for resources, images, audio, video, research data, or even complete learning resources that others have created. We’ll focus on how you can ensure the material you can finding has the permissions that allow to use it in your teaching. We’ll then look at how you might use these to engage your students.  Finally, we’ll look at how you could share the materials you have created with others – even those outside Dundee.

What is Copyright?

This is what Wikipedia says about copyright:

“Copyright is a legal right created by the law of a country that grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights for its use and distribution. This is usually only for a limited time. The exclusive rights are not absolute but limited by limitations and exceptions to copyright law, including fair use. A major limitation on copyright is that copyright protects only the original expression of ideas, and not the underlying ideas themselves

Copyright is a form of intellectual property, applicable to certain forms of creative work. Some, but not all jurisdictions require “fixing” copyrighted works in a tangible form. It is often shared among multiple authors, each of whom holds a set of rights to use or license the work, and who are commonly referred to as rights holders These rights frequently include reproduction, control over derivative works, distribution, public performance, and “moral rights” such as attribution (Copyright, 2017)

To reproduce a copyrighted image, piece of music, animation, video, etc. you may have to pay to reuse it for your own purposes or get permission from the creator of the original work to use it. In other cases, permission for sharing may have been granted by the original creator – it is these resources that are developed with the intention of being shareable that we are concentrating on next week.

Metaphorical depiction of Corporate Capitalism fighting the Public Domain with Free Culture being offered as the 'Achilles Heel'.

“BATTLE OF COPYRIGHT” flickr photo by Christopher Dombres  shared into the public domain using (CC0)


Day 1: Searching – Creative Commons

Creative Commons logo
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Hello everyone, and welcome to Searching, Using and Sharing – a set of blog posts, part of our LearningX series. Every day you will find here a new post to introduce that day’s online activity for you to engage with.

Creative Commons

Over recent years many people and organisations have started to take advantage of Creative Commons, a set of free licences that allow individuals to licence their works for reuse under certain conditions or to put them into the public domain. A creative commons license allows people to share their creativity, knowledge and images with like-minded people in a way that is not for profit. It’s something that works both ways, so if you add an image and make it ‘CC use’ then others can use and share the image, and likewise you can search for ‘CC use’ images. Watch this video to find out more about Creative Commons.

Finding CC licensed images

There are a number of ways to find CC licensed images.

  • Google images search has the ability to filter on usage rights – once you’ve done the initial search, go to tools / usage rights. While not mentioning CC directly, it allows you to find, for example, images that can be re-used in a non-commercial setting.
  • Bing’s image search also has a filter (on the right hand side), which allows you to filter on the licence. Their filters include CC and Public domain, along with some more limited licensing.
  • Pexels has free stock images (mostly photographs), that can be freely used and edited.
  • Pixabay has a range of images, including cartoons, icons etc, as well as photographs. You’ll need to create an account to download larger versions of the images.
  • Flickr can also be searched including a CC filter, though note that on Flickr there are a range of different CC licences in places, so you’ll have to check them to see exactly what you can do.

While some of the licences do not require you to attribute the creator, we’d recommend that, just as we expect students to acknowledge sources, attributions and links to the original are put near the image.


The latest versions of Powerpoint – and the online app – allow you to search for Online Images – this will help you find images, include the attribution, and even suggest alt-text for visually impaired users.


Search for a transparent image

Google Advanced Image Search has a feature that allows you to filter results with a transparent background. Find images with > Colours in the image > Transparent. This removes coloured backgrounds which may look a bit unsightly when you insert them into a PowerPoint slide, blog post or an online learning tutorial.

But I’ve had this image for years …

One issue that staff often have is having found a useful image, perhaps a number of years ago, and not being sure where it originated from. If you’re in that situation, and can’t find a suitable alternative, then there are a number of tools that offer a reverse image search – allowing you to find locations of the file. You will then be able to reference / link to the item -particularly important if it’s copyrighted.

Day 2: Searching – Licensed Resources

Neon 'Open' sign
Reading Time: 3 minutes

We have looked at open-licensed images, such as the Creative Commons licenses, pre-approved for reuse and sharing. The images used on this blog come with Creative Commons licensing terms – we know that we can use them, because their owners granted permission. Please note that using material available for free or licensed for reuse, should be rights cleared, and that you include an appropriate attribution.


The focus of today is on introducing tips to searching and reusing high quality resources that are licensed but available for your teaching. One of the challenges that many academics face when preparing material for use online, is the uncertainty of how to source third party material copyright cleared for educational use. The most common infringement is the unauthorised copying and uploading of images and journal articles. In order to best protect yourself against unintended infringement, we recommend you take a look at the excellent list of resources available for reuse that the Library and Learning Centre (LLC) subscribes to.

Open - written in lights
Attribution: © Finn Hackshaw 2016, used under a Creative Commons Zero license – CC0 1.0 via Unsplash

Embedding video in Blackboard

While you may have found Blackboard’s ‘Mashup’ tool useful for Yuja (the University’s video service) and YouTube, it can be a bit more fiddly to embed other video tools. This video shows you how to use embed codes that bob and other licensed services use.

Finding relevant material

In this activity we would like you explore the library’s Types of Resources – electronic resources that includes e-books, e-journals as well as video, image and sound repositories. The subject guides are useful for pointing you to subject specific resources – but don’t ignore other subject areas, you might well find useful resources.

  1.  How might you re-use the material for your teaching or your own development?
  2. What are the advantages and disadvantages for using licensed material, in particular, what are the terms and conditions for re-use as these can vary and what are the restrictions for use in the VLE?
  3. How do you feel about searching for licensed images using the library’s collection as opposed to searching for material ‘out there’ on the web?

Please post a comment to share your views about one or two of the resources that you’ve looked at. You are encouraged to comment on each other’s entries and you may wish to take notes in your blog, tweet or anything related to this activity.

Note: While most content can be used via your Dundee authentication off campus wherever you are, some, e.g. bob  (Box of Broadcasts) are limited to the UK only.

LinkedIn learning (Lynda)

The University subscribes to LinkedIn Learning (used to be called Lynda). You can login using your University email address – note that it may ask you if you want to link it with your existing LinkedIn profile, you don’t have to if you don’t want to. While this predominantly covers Business, Creative and Technology courses, if you’re in other fields you may find that some of the Office 365 videos are useful to get a greater understanding of what you can do with the tools we have. For example, there’s one on using Office 365 teams

Resources and guides

Uploading e-journals and articles downloaded from the web into the VLE is not permitted. Instead of uploading articles create web links to the articles into your module or use the Library’s online Reading Lists service.

Link of the day

Instructables is a fun resource for exploring and for sharing resources on how to make things. Always read the terms and conditions for use.

Instructables – Explore. Share. Make.

Day 3: Searching – Beyond images

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.


Day 4: Sharing Resources

Sharing symbol
Reading Time: 4 minutes

We have looked at some of the resources that the University licenses to use in teaching and introducing you to the world of open content that’s free to reuse with a Creative Commons licence.   Now our focus turns to material that you have created and how you can licence, publish and share it so that others can make use of it too.


There are a lot of ways to publish and share content. Where you decide to publish your work will depend on the type of content and the audience that you want to reach and how you want to licence it.  Photographs, pieces of writing, videos, presentations, data and 3D models can all be shared in different places, with some platforms better suited to particular types of content.  It’s important review the terms and conditions of any publishing platform you choose to make sure that you’re not transferring or losing the rights to your own work.

If you’ve decided that you want to share your content as an open educational resource (OER)  think about which Creative Commons (CC) license you want to use. The Creative Commons website can help you through this decision-making process and give you more information about how to share your content.

If your work is in a Word document or PowerPoint presentation you might want to take advantage of the CC license plug-in for Microsoft Office. You can download this from the Microsoft website, however it’s is only available for PC users and isn’t yet compatible with Windows 10.

One thing to remember before you share your work anywhere is to make sure that you always keep a back-up copy of your original.  It’s not unknown for web platforms to go out of business so always, always make sure you have an original safely filed.

Publishing to your own Website

Perhaps the easiest way to publish and share your content is to have your own website or blog. Blogging software like Blogger, WordPress and Weebly have become very popular publishing platforms. We now have LearningSpaces, which is a hosted version of WordPress. If you’re interested, contact us via Help4U to request a site.  Another option is Reclaim Hosting where for a relatively small annual fee you can register your own domain and run your own site.


The most popular places to post video content are YouTube and Vimeo.   From here it’s easy for anyone to share your content vis social media channels and to reuse it through the use of embed codes and mash-up tools. Whilst YouTube is more popular, Vimeo has several advantages, the licencing is clearer and if you decide to update your video the new version simply overwrites the old, which means that anyone who has embedded it will see the latest version.  You can also allow people to download your video if you are happy to share it that way.

Photographs and images

For the photographers amongst you Flickr is a good option to go with.  You can select an all rights reserved or CC licence for your work, it also lets you set a default licence so that all your uploads are automatically licensed as you want them to be.


Slideshare is to presentations what Flickr is for photographs.  It too lets you set a default CC licence but you can set different licences for each individual presentation that you share.  Slideshare is also good for sharing PDF files and it’s become a popular platform for sharing presentations and handouts from conferences. You can easily reuse content from Slideshare again by using an embed code and share to social media channels.  Here’s an example from Jesse Stommel from University Mary Washington that has as an OER theme.

If you are creating a presentation, video or a larger OER or MOOC, then you will need to take care to share it with the same licence as the original components. It may be that you have different licences for specific items. For example, you might have used some images that could be modified on the basis that you attributed and shared alike, whilst others were used on the basis that they couldn’t be modified. Therefore, it’s important that you include a reference to the attribution of individual elements and you’ll probably need to share the overall resource on the basis of the most restrictive of the licences covered in your content.

Make sure you double check how the original work you are modifying was licensed.  Here’s an example of piece of work that was shared from the Medical School.  It’s a 3D model of the larynx which built upon an original model from The Database Center for Life Science in Japan shared on CC Attribution-Share alike licence. This re-worked model has been shared under the same licence and you can take a look at it on Sketchfab.  It was then re-used further by a student in this video and here too it has been re-shared under the same type of CC licence.

Over to you

We’ve covered quite a lot this week so take time now to reflect on the key thing you feel you’ve learned or discovered.  If you have time share it in the comments.

Also if you’ve found this useful and have ideas of other topics you would like us to cover in the future please do leave a comment.


There’s a growing movement around open education internationally and a desire to share open knowledge. Check out the Open Knowledge Network to find out more about the types of projects in this area.

Link of the Day

Open education practice and the movement around OER are becoming a growing focus for educational research.  A special edition of the Journal of Internet and Media Research in 2014 focussed on open learning and included five chapters from the book ‘Reusing Resources: Learning in Open Networks for Work, Life and Education’ edited by Allison Littlejohn and Chris Pegler.  Have a read of Allison and Chris’ editorial on Reusing Resources: Open for Learning to delve deeper into the world of OERs.

Day 5: Using open educational resources

Open Educational Resource Logo
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Over the past few days you’ve been picking up tips on how to search for openly licensed content and introducing you to some of the collections that the University licences. Once you’ve found content you’re going to want to use and today we’ll begin to explore some ways that you might do that that which are a bit more appealing than giving students a list of links in a Word document or in the VLE.


If you want to share licensed resources in your teaching the easiest way to do this is through the University reading list software, if you’re unfamiliar with this check out the information on the LLC website.

Reusing online resources is very much like referencing in a research or scholarly article you need to make sure you reference your sources and provide the appropriate attribution.  If you re-use a picture in PowerPoint, a video or an online learning resource it’s important to remember to give attribution. It’s worth checking out the Creative Commons guide on best practices for attribution for examples of how to do this well.

Given that you need to include attribution it’s helpful to think about how you manage and organise the different resources that you want to use, modify and adapt in your teaching.  There are lots of ways you can file your links and resources, some people bookmark sites in their web browser, some file in a Word doc or an Excel file, some might even still write the details on a file card and file it in A-Z file box.  There are other tools that you can use such as social bookmarking tools like Diigo.  These work as an extension on your web browser and let you save the link, add comments and tags and save to lists too.  It’s easy then to search and find links that you’ve saved going back several years.  If you’re working on a project you can create a project tag so that you can easily filter and find the resources you’ve used.  Diigo and Delicious allow you to keep your bookmarks private or public if you opt for public you can share them easily with a class or colleagues, here’s a link to my saved bookmarks on copyright.

An easy way to keep track of any images you might use is to make use of the new Creative Commons search where you can create an account and save and tag images into lists so that you have a record of the ones you want to use.  It also generates the attribution credits so that you can easily copy and paste it in where you need it.

Curating content

A key role in teaching is being the guide on the side and signposting students to learning and this is where existing resources come into their own as we can point students to open textbooks, videos, data sets, 3D models and weave them into our own teaching narratives.  In this role we’re essentially curating content, creating digital handouts and there are growing numbers of digital tools that allow us to do this in more visual ways.  Here are a few examples which have free level accounts that you can try out. allows you to curate content from the web add comments and then publish to a topic page.  It also lets you autopost to Twitter, Facebook and other sites so learners can engage through their favourite channel.  You can also embed into MyDundee.

Wakelet allows you to use to build learning stories that pull in content from multiple sources. It’s easy to embed YouTube videoes, Slideshare presentations, Flickr images, tweets from Twitter or Facebook posts you can embed any weblink.  Once you’ve published your story you can easily update it and continue to build on it.

Another great way to re-use content is to use a blogging tool like blogger or WordPress which we’re using here.  Blogs are an easy way to create and publish content and it’s relatively easy to embed images, videos and other forms of re-usable content just like this RSA Animate version of a Ken Robinson Ted Talk below, which was s simple cut and paste of the YouTube url.

Over to you

Take your pick form one of these activities:

Try out the new Creative Commons search feature and search for an image and post this into a PowerPoint slide, Word document, or your blog and then copy and paste the attribution.

Explore one of the content curation or bookmarking tools, you can create a free account on one of these and give it a try or do a search to find examples of how Wakelet,, blogs etc are being used in learning and teaching. You can explore one of my topics to get you started.

Could you see how these tools might be useful in your teaching or if you’re a student could they be a useful way to organise usefullearnign resources?

Let us know what you think in the comments section.