Third party publishing

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Image courtesy of Leigh Blackall

There are many different places to publish your OER. Each one has its own considerations and you should compare several sites to see which would best match your OER.

Publishing through your institution

If your institution offers personal webspace then that may be an optimal method for publishing. It is beneficial to publish through the institution for several reasons. One is that they generally have high bandwidth and serve up files quickly. Another benefit is that there is typically no additional cost to publish. Finally, IT staff can be supportive, although they are often have competing demands for their time. The downside to publishing through an institution is that you are restricted by their policies and you may limit your independence. These restrictions mean that you may have trouble getting permission to publish controversial material or that you have to rely on the institution to maintain your content's availability. You should check to see what policies your institution has in place regarding material published on its web site, and consider where you want your OER hosted in the long term.


Image courtesy of Montrasio International

Some institutions have a particular learning management system, or LMS (Blackboard, Desire2Learn, Moodle, etc.) that teachers are required to use in their teaching. With the exception of Moodle and a few others (see Course Management programs for a list), most courses in an LMS are password protected, preventing the material from being accessed openly by students outside the formal course. In some cases, Fair Use[1] (and the TEACH Act in the USA) allows you to make use of copyrighted materials you don't have permission to use in online courses that are password protected, but as mentioned in the Introduction, Fair Use can be difficult to determine.

To be safe, you should abide by the license of any materials you use in your courses whether they are behind password protection or not. For example, you should not use material licensed with a Noncommercial clause for commercial purposes, even if the use is hidden within Blackboard or a similar LMS. It should be noted that Fair Use applies to OER irrespective of the license.

The exact method of uploading material is highly specific to the LMS. If you have the OER combined as an IMS Content Package (see File Formats in Find OER) the process of uploading an entire course will be easier than manually adding each component through the LMS's upload interface. If the latter applies, talk with your institution's IT staff if you have not uploaded a course previously and need support.

One of the best things you can do to prepare for uploading OER is to have each file meaningfully named and the folders arranged in a logical manner. For example, if you have a fifteen week course, you might create a folder for each week and place the corresponding materials in each week's folder. Images would have file names such as "Hopi_woman.jpg" or "red_brick_schoolhouse.png," as opposed to "imag1.tiff" or "Old_picture.jpg."


Scribd: website for hosting documents. Scribd will accept common formats such as Open Document Format[2] (odt, odp, ods), Microsoft® Office formats (doc, docx, ppt, pptx, pps, xls, etc.), as well as PDFs. Anyone can display a Scribd document on their website and the original document can be downloaded. There is the option to use a Creative Commons license, though there does not appear to be any way to search specifically for Creative Commons licensed documents.
Slideshare: website specifically for presentation slides. Slideshare is compatible with common presentation formats such as PPT (PowerPoint), ODP (Open Office) and PDF. Users can select a Creative Commons license, but as with Scribd, there is no way to search by Creative Commons license.


Flickr: visitors can sign up for a Flickr account for free and post a certain number of photos (premium accounts allow for more photos). As mentioned in the Get OER section, not all photos are licensed with a Creative Commons license, but there are still a significant number that are (see the Find OER section for information about how to search for Creative Commons photos). Flickr is very helpful for OER, as it provides a highly visible way to both find and distribute OER.
Picasa Web Album: Picasa has file importing and tracking features, as well as tags and collections for further sorting. It also offers several basic photo editing functions, including color enhancement, red eye reduction and cropping. Other features include slide shows, printing and image timelines. Images can also be prepared for external use, such as for e-mailing or printing, by reducing file size and setting up page layouts. There is also integration with online photo printing services.


The Internet Archive: typically the Internet Archive resources are over thirty years old; however, they do accept new submissions from anyone. Despite the Internet Archive's wide selection and generous license terms, it is not as popular as other video websites like YouTube. See General Repositories section for more information. The Internet Archive is an excellent choice for OER publishing when you want the resources to be available for a long time.
OpenOCW: OpenCourseWare site sponsored by COSL. Most OpenCourseWare is hosted by an institution, and only members of that institution contribute to that OpenCourseWare initiative. OpenOCW, however, allows anyone to submit a course regardless of their institutional affiliation.
PBwiki: visitors can set up a wiki with little technical knowledge. PBwikis can be set to private, so that only those with the password can access it, or made public. Free accounts have limits on the number of pages you can create, but premium accounts are available at $9.95 USD per month.
WikiEducator: wiki hosted by the Commonwealth of Learning (CoL). All content licensed CC-BY-SA. See General Repositories section in Find OER for more information.
Wordpress: Wordpress blogs can be hosted at if you choose not to download their software and use it on your own site.

Video video sharing site that emphasizes ongoing productions. This site might be useful for a series of lectures or video series. Some footage may be inappropriate for younger audiences; use caution when exploring the website.
Google Video: video sharing site hosted by Google. Although Google owns both Google Video and YouTube, YouTube seems to have more visitors. The two sites are similar in features, although Google Video will give you recommended videos based on the websites you visit. As with other video sharing sites, you should be careful as students can find inappropriate videos on Google Video.
Kaltura: better localizing and remixing options than YouTube and TeacherTube, but not as popular. See General Repositories section in Find OER for more information.
TeacherTube: very similar to YouTube, but specifically focused on educational materials. TeacherTube has the same restrictions on downloading as YouTube, and is not as widely known. TeacherTube is a good method of distributing a video if you are trying to reach other educators and wish to access it in settings with filtered internet connections (e.g. classroom).
YouTube: YouTube's interface is easy to use and it accepts many of the common video formats (see YouTube's help section for more information). YouTube is an excellent way to give an OER project high visibility, but does poorly in providing opportunities for localizing, remixing and redistribution. See General Repositories section in Find OER.

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