3.1 Finding OERs
Use Google’s Advanced Search [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] to find an OER in an area that interests you. It allows you to restrict your results to Creative Commons licensed material by setting the filter in the ‘usage rights’ field to ‘free to use share or modify’. Now fill in the table supplied, which includes the list of characteristics of a good OER from Section 2, to assess how well the resource you find meets the criteria for a good OER.
Two key resources that have brought together several aspects of working with OERs and contain sections on searching and evaluating have been published by JISC and WikiEducator. While these resources contain links to specific search tools that can be queried, the most effective start to finding discipline-specific OER is to query the specific open content repositories that have been built to support communities committed to working with open content.
The UK national repository for supporting work in this field is the Jorum. The various jointly funded JISC/HEA projects have deposited all their outputs in Jorum and the repository continues to grow in terms of assets created and licensed for re-use for learning, teaching and research. Jorum results are now fully open.
End users searching for very specific requirements tailored to meet national or regional needs for licensed open content are frequently better served visiting and querying national repositories built to serve such needs. Exemplar repositories such as Jorum that operate within the constraints and needs of regional and national boundaries often still make their content globally open for discovery and reuse. The perceived and actual value of this content will of course always by driven by the specific needs of the end user searching for it. Our broader global communities building, managing and repurposing this content will only ever reap the full value through users proactively engaging in feedback, enhancements and re-deposit of alternative versions, flexibly licensed for further reuse. The process of finding and evaluating OER will only ultimately improve through engagement and sharing, the key philosophy behind the movement itself.
Other exemplar repositories and digital libraries that can assist in finding specific domain OER include:
- NSDL (National Science Digital Library)
- MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource Learning and Online Teaching)
- Academic Earth.
Visit the JISC OER search engines page and select two of the engines displayed to carry out a search on a topic of your own choosing. Compare and contrast the search experience from the viewpoint of usability as well as the quality and relevance of your results.