Choosing OER to reuse and repurpose for an online course

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7Cs ‘Resource Audit’ for the new Copyright Helps for Busy Instructors’ – new course by Terese Bird

I’m going through the 7Cs of Learning Design as a method to design a new short online course with the working title of Copyright Helps for Busy Educators. This week, the featured C is Create…. or is it Capture…. or even Curate (OK it’s definitely not Curate, but that could certainly be appropriate). To my recollection, in the original version of the 7Cs, this step was Capture — the instructor goes through material already created and already available online and chooses appropriate pieces to capture and repurpose. In order to do this, the instructor should have a basic understanding of copyright and Creative Commons licensing… even if it is as simple as this quote by a strategist from the JISC report on OER reuse: “It’s got to be CC [Creative Commons] or we’re not using it. Because that just removes all the complexities.” (White & Manton, 2011, p. 4)

But partway through its development, the 7Cs Capture turned into Create — because instructors will pretty much always wish to create their own teaching materials. The activity associated with the Create step is completing the Resource Audit — a form in which the instructor lists the materials she has found which she can reuse as is, or with tweaks, or repurposed, and which materials she will need to make from scratch. The image above is my Resource Audit. I actually have listed more materials which I am reusing — in the first three rows — than those I will create from scratch — the last row. I don’t think I ever saw that happen in the 7Cs workshops I helped to lead: ordinarily, instructors list more materials that they will create or have already created. In Higher Education, there seems to be a bit of suspicion if the instructor is using too many materials created by others. On one level, I can understand that, but on another level, I think to myself, “but all knowledge is built up on the shoulders of giants from the past, as well as collaboration with colleagues.” And yet, and yet — we still have lecturing as the default method of teaching, and the lecturer must lecture on her authentic speciality, so too much reusing from others casts doubt on the lecturer’s own speciality knowledge.

In the case of my own course, I probably will end up creating more content than I reuse. I was lucky enough to find some quite good materials which I can reuse exactly as is, and some which only require some adjustment. For example, a video by Nicolas Weiss on ‘Citing Images in Blogs and Class Projects‘ gives simple, practical tips on citing images found on Flickr and on Wikimedia, and citing in APA style (Weiss, 2014). I will need to broaden this out to images found on Google Images, and also using one or two other referencing styles besides APA — including the one which our Leicester Medical School uses (and I don’t know what that is yet). If I can figure out a way to do it, I will try editing the video in the YouTube editor; if this does not work, I will provide additional text to contextualise and give this additional information.

It is quite enjoyable to be putting together an online course with an attempt to include as many OER as possible and appropriate to make up the content. This entire process underlines to me that it is good academic practice to incorporate and share information from other experts and scholars, as well as material I will write myself. This is good open practice. My last step will hopefully be to make the course available under a Creative Commons license itself — open from beginning to end.

Weiss, N. (2014) Citing Images in Blogs and Class Projects, YouTube, [online] Available from: (Accessed 13 June 2015).

White, D. and Manton, M. (2011) Open educational resources: the value of reuse in higher education, JISC-funded OER Impact Study, University of Exford, 2011, [online] Available from:

Terese Bird, Educational Designer, Leicester Medical School


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