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Additional Content Licensure Models

Online content and related licensure models continue to evolve and grow increasingly varied. Complete online courses represent just a portion of the content available to online learning programs. Additional content and services, even if they were designed for face-to-face classes, can be integrated into online coursework to provide the foundation for a course or just enhance the online experience. Two particular categories, Open-source Educational Resources (OER) and Content Repositories, are growing quickly in number and popularity.

Content Repositories

Content repositories represent a wide class of content providers that includes commercial and free resources. Content can include images, audio clips, video clips, animations, or chunks of text. Even if you’re not familiar with the term content repository, you probably use these tools already. Many educators use services that are content repository systems that provide users with videos and animations to enhance their face-to-face or online courses.

In the broadest sense, not all content repositories are designed for education. For example, stock photography suppliers such as Getty Images or iStockPhoto could also be considered Content Repositories.

Not all content repositories require fees. When they do, annual licenses and per item fees are the most common licensure models. Be sure to read and understand the copyright statement for each item of content, as they vary considerably. Some uses may be prohibited, and in the case of commercial repositories, educational uses are often less expensive that commercial uses.

Open Educational Resources (OER)

Open Educational Resources are made available free or nearly free to individuals and organizations throughout the education community. Similar to other open-source software available, these resources may be grant-funded, developed by volunteer educators, or sponsored by commercial ventures. By definition, OERs are very inexpensive. In most cases, individuals can use all materials free of charge. Some OERs will ask for donations. Others will allow individuals to use the materials, but if an institution wishes to use them as part of a course development process, a fee applies.

OERs offer everything from full online courses to small learning objects, and can come from highly respected institutions like the Monterey Institute for Technology in Education (MITE) or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). They can be a very inexpensive way to jump-start your course development, but as with all curriculum, be sure to review the materials carefully!