OER: Day Three

Posted on behalf of the AIR/OER team

Welcome to Day 3 of From Inquiry to Practice: A Guided Exploration of OERs in Adult Education.  Searching the internet for material can often times be overwhelming and time consuming.  So, the question becomes, how do I find the right OER?  How do I navigate the enormity of the internet’s resources? Using search techniques can support this effort.  Watch the brief video about how to use some techniques then respond to the prompts below.

  • Are there other ways that you search for OER to use in the classroom?  Please share any links to resources or tips for effective searching.
  • Where do you go to find OER? Share resources including websites, repositories, and the like. And if you have not used OER yet, what sites are you curious about and want to know if resources there are OER?
  • Many of the resources you will find are identified as appropriate for K-12 learners.  We encourage you to consider using them if they are an OER, because they can be revised or remixed into adult-appropriate resources. 
  • There are some sites that already include adult education-specific resources (Merlot) or allow for tagging as adult education (OER Commons). Have you tried these? How might you add the adult education voice to an existing repository that doesn’t yet include it?

As you begin to expand your knowledge of OER, inevitably, the question will surface about how to know if the OER is the right fit for your class and how to find the best OER for your purposes.  When considering how to use OER for instruction, one of the most important things to remember is that the OER should support your instructional goals.  OER are added to lessons based on student learning needs and lesson objectives, not just for the sake of adding new technology. 

When planning to include an OER, think about the following:

  • What is your teaching/learning objective?
  • What do you want students to learn or be able to do?
  • Where could a resource help complement the content/skill being taught?
  • How and where will the OER fit within your lesson plan?

As with any other new resource, you will want to try the OER, evaluate it, and try the OER again.  Students can provide valuable feedback on the OER too, so consider how you can gather their input.



Open Education Resources, as Susan Cowles pointed out, can be revised or re-mixed. I am interested in adult learner instructional and professional development videos as OERs. Most teachers probably don't have a lot of time to revise or re-mix videos, but what if you find a free, online OER video that has only one or two segments that meet your curriculum or lesson plan learning objectives? Of course, you could just show those two segments in class, being careful to note where each segment begins and how long it lasts. If you want students to watch/re-watch the video segments outside class, however, you will need to re-mix ("cut and paste") segments of the video into a new video that you post for your students. If you are interested in doing this from an electronic tablet or smart phone, here's a resource that might help you.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/12TOKMBZvjlO01qgJZ0P8CbDMqhpNi9v3P1oZyyjwsc8/edit  This is a comparison chart created by Richard Byrne, at PracticalEdTech.com of eleven free or inexpensive mobile apps for creating and/or editing videos.

Another possibility is that you and/or your students might create a short video explaining or demonstrating something that perfectly fits your learning objectives. You/they could use an Android or IOS smart phone to make the video, and a mobile app to edit it. Sometimes a perfectly customized one-minute video demonstration or example is better than a dozen pictures, or a thousand words. If you make a video and/or other OER, consider putting it on OER Commons, and let your colleagues here know that it is available for viewing.

Also, if you have used any of these mobile video creation/editing apps, please share your experience here.

David J. Rosen



Thanks for your comment and for sharing a resource, David!  I love the idea of teachers and students as makers.  There is so much potential!  I also echo your suggestion for sharing created or revised materials on OER Commons.  By sharing materials on this site, teachers can tag materials as "Adult Education" which will help other teachers in their search for appropriate resources for adult learners. The process to submit materials to OER Commons is very easy - follow this link to learn how.  

Hi David,

Your post inspired me to move from lurker to poster. :-) 

In my online instruction, I do a lot of "revise/remix" work with videos --when permissible-- and as a Mac user, I like  ScreenFlow for that purpose; it's fairly easy to add in slides or note text or even a talking head ;-). Being a woman of a certain age, my eyes find it easier to do my editing on a desktop or laptop.

I am a firm believer in the value of instructor- and learner-generated video in adult ESL instruction, however I think there may be two issues (not unresolvable) for using classroom-generated video in an OER. The first issue would be getting permission for the learners' likenesses to be made available outside the classroom. This could be managed with a video/photo release form, but could result in some learners opting out of the video.  (I've had that happen at a TESOL session with participants not wishing to be on video.) Happily, working with the permission form is an opportunity to delve into complex concepts and critical thinking. (Come to think of it, that might be a good OER lesson to work on!)

The second issue I see is the important revise/remix aspect of OER. I imagine most of us on the list have seen mashups or video snippets taken out of context that send a message that is counter to the intention of the original video.  I suppose this could be handled in the fine print, but might have to go back to the permissions language.  

What do you think?



I'm glad you joined the conversation, Jayme and I’m excited to hear about your use of OER video in the classroom.  Video is such a powerful learning and instructional media.

You're absolutely correct that if you (instructor) are creating a video of classroom instruction that you want to share as an OER, then you need permission of the people who appear in the video to use their likeness.  Anyone who doesn’t want to appear in the video must be edited out.  The fact that OER can be shared widely makes obtaining learner permission essential. 

You can also design activities that encourage learners to create video of themselves and have them share the video with an appropriate Creative Commons license on OER Commons, YouTube or elsewhere.  This could be done using cell phones,  digital cameras, other mobile devices.  Once the videos are shared as OER, then you can edit, revise, or remix for your use in your classroom.   And of course, you can then make your new revised/remixed mashup video an OER as well!

As for the second issue you raised, control over OER content is something that content creators pass on to others when they make their materials OER.  Thanks to the rights associated with many OER, we're free to share and adapt OER content in any way we like (read the OER's licensing fine print to confirm).  Some people intend to circumvent  undesirable changes to the content or misrepresentations by licensing their OER with non-derivative clauses (no revising) or requiring attribution (acknowledgment of the original source).  

It goes without saying that the various rights associated with OER may create quality issues with some of these resources, which is why the evaluation rubrics on OER Commons are so valuable.  However, the good that comes from being able to revise/remix and OER is tremendous; There are so many cases where you want to be able to exercise some of the rights associated with an OER video (e.g. for translation, for providing feedback, voiceovers)!   

Finally, I agree with you that it's important to have conversations with learners about OER and user permissions. We want to encourage learners to use OER independently and beyond the classroom because the flexibility and accessibility of OER help learners to achieve their learning goals and connects them to other learners.

Best, Delphinia Brown


You ask such a good question - one of my greatest concerns in OER is misuse of the original material. A great example of this type of 'derivative' misuse can be found in the frequent misrepresentation of "Dale's Cone Of Experience" - often connected to "the learning pyramid" (example: image). In this case, Dale's Cone was a fully copyrighted work somehow merged with percentages that have been widely discredited  (see this discussion People remember 10%, 20%...Oh Really? ) - but this image/idea of "better" types of learning in exact factors of 10 is very popular - almost viral in how it is shared among educators.  So is is not just that your work could be misused, but that the misused version could become wildly popular/infamous at the speed of internet rumor.

For this reason, I would ALWAYS recommend licensing material with at least an attribution requirement, and if it is important to me that the original content stay true to its purpose, I would add "no derivatives." Note - this does not have to mean NO derivatives at all - it can simply mean "no derivatives without *asking* the author"  - that I, personally, would like to know what folks are going to do with certain material and approve of it. Which brings up another point - OER is a GREAT movement fostering free access to learning for all...but lots of stuff out there that is NOT labeled OER CAN still be used...you just have to ASK.  I have been pleasantly surprised in my work to find that over half of the folks I have contacted for permission to use their work (as is or derivations of) have said YES - with attribution.  The majority who did not, simply failed to respond - although I admit, I rarely ask permission for stuff labeled with a clear copyright from a "for profit" publisher.

And while we are thinking of licensing and attribution, I think it is not only important for YOU (the instructor) to add licensing information to your work, but also to teach your students to clearly label and license anything THEY create in your class as well!  Putting your name on it, and adding it to an OER database is such a *great* authentic application of learning - a wonderful motivator for our adult learners.

Hi Durenclee:

Your link to Dale's Cone of Experience reminds me of the telephone game...the information as it gets passed along can change and eventually become unrecognizable compared to its origin.  If I understood the article correctly, people have mis-attributed information as well as mis-interpreted ideas.  So, even if someone copyrights their creation, it can still be misused in some way, even if by mistake.

Do I understand your concern correctly that the author should retain ownership of their created resource? If so, I think David Wiley addressed this specifically in his latest re-definition of OER. Here is a snippet from Delphinia’s Day One posting worth investigating:

[P.S. Recently David Wiley added a 5th R to his framework for retain or the “right to make, own, and control copies of the content”.  This right is usually assumed, but isn't discussed as explicitly as the others. He talks about the 5th R in his blog :  The Access compromise and the 5th R and Clarifying the 5th R ]

I responded to the Day One postings (https://community.lincs.ed.gov/discussion/oer-day-one-definition-and-value-oer) about how challenging it can be to accept that I could create a resource and then someone else grabs it, modifies it slightly, then retains or owns that material. It’s a challenging idea and I think it is an idea worth a bit of wrestling with.

I would love to hear more from folks about whether they agree with the idea of creating open educational resources—what are the benefits to you? What might be the challenges?

Best, Dahlia


What great way to introduce two critical skills: Effective searching for anything, and using those skills to specifically search for OER materials! One area that was not mentioned is the fact that many learners (and David Rosen can confirm this I'm sure!) turn to YouTube to find information. Teachers can take that cue and look on YouTube for OER materials AND contribute too. Once a search is made on YouTube, use the "Filter" button at the top of the page to select a variety of options including upload date, duration and Creative Commons licensing!  As long as you have a YouTube (Google) username and you are logged in, you will see the "Remix this video!" button under the video clip. YouTube provides a built in video editing tool that's easy to use. You can add photos, make edits, add transitions and music and re-post your mix back to YouTube. 

With learners who own smartphones taking photos and video recordings is pretty easy. Getting them to upload them to YouTube, collaborate with others toward a specific learning goal, edit their material, and then license and share them would provide learners with so many appropriate 21st Century skills! 

I am reminded about a very large poster that appears in an adult educators' classroom "The Learning Pyramid" (this is a similar image). She found that through engaging her students using OER learning math, the students were teaching each other math skills, engaging with each other and learning math! I hope her next steps may include getting her learners to create their own video tutorials and license them for others to remix and re-share them!  :)