Open Educational Resources… What A Concept!

It always starts wth a need…

I have dozens of needs for resource almost every week, particularly when we modify our teaching practice due to, say, a pandemic, or to accommodate exceptional learning needs. As a second-language teacher who deals with a wide spectrum of learners, I am always taking core concepts and repackaging them into a format that makes the concepts both more attractive, and more retainable.


All Marvel characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are Trademarks & Copyright © 1939–2021 Marvel Characters, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

User created resource using copyrighted images

Here’s a sample of something I made for my French 6 class to introduce vocabulary around the face. Obviously, I was in violation of international copyright laws, but the imagery and timeliness of the resource yielded excellent results in student demonstrated ability to retain the knowledge because of the visual association.

That said, I am also a major contributor to an online repository of free teacher-vetted resources called Bettereducate. Bettereducate is a free site used to store, share, and collaborate on projects, document, and resources by educators and administrators across the province. Each resource comes with tags that are part of a searchable database. I post my quality created projects on the site for colleagues to share free of charge, and am able to view, comment, and download the resources from others. One of my favourite resources to share is this french-themed Bingo (Lotto, if you are a purist),

A screenshot from a search on the site.

based on the winter Carnaval, celebrated in Quebec early in each new year. It uses free images on all the cards, is relatively recent in terms of timeliness, and provides a resource for an aspect of French Second Language learning that is deficient- culture.


I am very proud of the project, as it took time and a lot of expertise that I have developed from my past careers. There is some desktop publishing from my journalism degree, the algorithm to generate non-repeating patterns from my math background, and general computer wherewithal that comes from experience. I am excited to share this because it also promotes Quebecois culture, and looks great with all its colour and quality images.

A screen capture of one the actual cards in my created Bingo de Carnaval.

The thing that really stands out for me is the philosophical raison d’etre behind OER. Follow me here for a second. First, the purpose of education is to build critical thinking participants of a democratic society, with the end goal being that these individuals will help to form and moderate a progressively better (and hopefully, just) society in the future.  To that end, the establishment of post-secondary institutions has occurred, so that experienced minds can provide guidance and discourse beyond the experiential day-to-day. So, what then, are we as a society doing, putting barriers that are ultimately economic, in the way of those who will become the driving force behind social advancement? Does that not mean we are in essence stymying ourselves, and in the process, creating social strata, that, though they have the same democratic power, may not have the same access to informing the awareness of both process and impetus? I would argue that such things as this are the defining aspects of privilege, and lead to the exponential degradation or retardation of society as the gap between those social strata perpetuate.


So, to that end, countries such as Germany are heading in the right direction, by offering free post-secondary education to all. If the point is betterment through the people, then bettering the people is the point. Particularly now, the need for free universal education is paramount, and so attempting to glean financial gain from those engaged in that betterment process is not only counterintuitive and restrictive, it is unethical.





Adding Open Education Resources


  1. Hi Ryan,

    You’ve got a strong connection to OERs here.

    In relation to your image, I think you may be in a position to assert a Fair Dealing case for the use of one image. The problem is that there haven’t been court cases to exactly detail how Fair Dealing relates to a picture found online. I have had some experts say a single image could be considered Fair Dealing, but in my day job I have to be more conservative than that.

    OERs were my entry to open education as one of my first projects at UVic was a set of OERs on non-traditional forest products completed through a BCcampus grant. Lately I’ve been more involved in open pedagogy, based on research at Royal Roads. There has also been some work done on this site and program examining how they impact learning.

    • I agree that this is probably a moot point in regards to image usage; there is no attempt here for monetary gain, but given the consolidation of copyright holders in the US (such as Disney+), I am leery of anything that may smack of intellectual impropriety or appropriation. At the very least, I probably should probably include the listed trademark. On the other hand, I could ask permission through the correct avenues, but I am also acutely aware of drawing attention to what amounts to a micro blip on the corporate radar. After reviewing the Fair Dealing principles here, I can definitely see that my usage would raise any legal issues.

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