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Open Educational Resources (OERs): Understanding Other Resources

A guide to using freely available online resources, including Open Educational Resources (OERs) for teaching and learning.

Using freely available resources


Some resources such as YouTube can be useful for education, but do not offer the same freedoms as OERs. While every one of these resources is different, it is useful to know generally what you can and cannot do with them. This guide will use YouTube as an example (as it is a frequent resource in this category) but the principles apply broadly.

  • You can almost always link to a resource. Unless your link would somehow bypass a paywall, it is usually fine to link to online material. The exception might be if the material you link to itself infringes copyright.

  • You can use online materials in your face to face classrooms. If you find a useful video on YouTube, it is fine to show it to your class in person.

  • You can not stream it in an online class, or record it as part of a recorded online class. Freely available resources generally prohibit redistribution, and streaming or recording the content over Zoom would count. As such, in a live online class environment, it is safer to have students watch the video in advance, then discuss it in class.

  • You can use built-in tools to embed the video in online learning environments. YouTube offers an embed video function. Using this function, you can embed the video within environments like UTS Online. In terms of legal issues, embedding is the same as linking.

  • You cannot rip, download, or use third-party tools to embed or clip these videos. Freely available resources generally prohibit remixing and revising material. As such, you may only use them with their own tools.

Using library-provided resources


Library-provided resources offer considerably more editing flexibility than freely available resources. Because the library licenses the content, most material we offer can be clipped and edited to suit your teaching needs; however, the terms of the contract usually prohibit their use outside of traditional student contexts. This makes them excellent for embedding into UTS Online and other online learning environments, but could generally not be posted anywhere outside an environment where students need to sign in to view the materials.

As always, the library can advise on how you can use these resources.

See the Online resources by type page for a list of library provided materials.