Find OER & open images
In an ideal world, there would be one central place to search for all openly-licensed content. The Mason OER Metafinder, OASIS, MERLOT, OERCommons, LibreTexts, and Google Advanced Search all aim at being comprehensive, so it can be hard to know where to start. Of all these, I like OERCommons because it has many useful search criteria to increase relevancy. Before diving into these large pools of resources, though, I first see if there's anything relevant in two more curated collections:
- Open Oregon Educational Resources. Open Oregon indexes OER and other free materials that have been adopted across Oregon. Often contact info is provided so you can ask another educator in the state about their experiences.
- The Open Textbook Library. The OTL indexes over 600 entire textbooks that have been published by credible organizations or are currently used in higher education institutions. The OTL provides reviews of these works by educators in relevant fields. You may find their review criteria helpful for evaluating any textbook, whether or not it has an open license.
If you're not finding appropriate resources for certain topics or objectives, talk to a librarian! As you work, it's important to keep track of potential sources. Here's a spreadsheet template from Michele DeSilva at COCC that you can use to do that.
You will find many openly-licensed images within the OER above. But here are some other places I often look for images, specifically:
- Wikimedia Commons (best source for scientific images)
- Google Images (limit to open licenses once you do a search under "usage rights.")
- Flickr (limit to an open license from "any license" once you search)
- Pixabay (good for stock photos)
- UnSplash (great stock photos under a very permissive, though not Creative Commons, license)
Using other "free" content
If you find a freely available online resource that is under "all rights reserved" copyright (and, remember, this probably applies to any resource that isn't in the public domain or openly licensed), it's generally okay to link to it, since a link is essentially a reference to the resource. YouTube's terms of service even enable you to embed videos from the platform in your course materials, as you have seen me do throughout this course (just don't share links to pirated copies of materials. If you're not sure if a link goes to a legal copy, check with a librarian).