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Enhance your Content for Free

Copyright issues are a common reason why instructors stick only to their own original work or the resources provided in a textbook. Creating images, video clips, or other original resources can be terribly time consuming. However, there are free resources online where you can find beautiful images or other visually engaging content to bring more life into your course and spark students' interest. The following resources are my go-to free resources to make my lectures a little more visually exciting. Hopefully, you will find them just as valuable as I do while creating your online course.


Online Educational Resources (OERS)

There are many, many OERs available online. Simply do an online search for OERs to see how many there actually are. Merlot and EDUCAUSE are great starting points to get ideas and resources (activities, quizzes, and other content supplements). You can also connect with other online instrutors for support in teaching online in your field. OSU also assists with discovering OERs and provides resources for open textbooks available for free online.


Merlot (ready-made online activities)
EDUCAUSE (tips and support) 
Open Educational Textbooks (OSU Library) 



If you use PowerPoints to assist you with your lectures (either online or face-to-face), it is important to create visuals that appeal to your students to capture and keep their attention. However, not all of us are trained in graphic design and capable of producing anything outside of the standard templates. Who has time for that? Canva has free ready-made presentation templates, as well as standardized templates for things like social media outlets, posters, infographics, and many others.



Instructors often use textbook resources to enhance their PowerPoint presentations or videos for an online course. But there may come a need to simply break up the lecture with a great image. Pixabay has high-quality images licensed under Creative Commons, for free and for use in any educational setting.



Sometimes you may want to incorporate a quick 30-second video into your online lectures to emphasize a point or give dimension and interest to your content presentation. Videvo is great for quick supplementary video visuals. Be careful to search specifically for videos that are free and licensed under Creative Commons.


How to Navigate Free Resources

Although you can gain access to these resources for free, navigate these sites with caution. Sometimes you will find paid advertisements or click-bait images, and some will require an email address to access the free resources. There are also some images, videos, and other products that come with an associated cost and are located among the free resources. Be smart, and cautious as you navigate. Be sure to look for the CC or creative commons attribute with the images and videos you use. If you know how to properly navigate and use these resources, you can truly gain a higher level of visually appealing and interactive content your students will appreciate.


For more information regarding copyright rules, Fair Use, or Teach Act information, please use the free resources provided by the OSU Edmon Low Library here. Also, there is a quick reference guide for using online material that can be found here.


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