Integrating Open Educational Resources into your Courses

Open Educational Resources or OER are becoming an ever-more important part of college and university curricula. These online alternatives to traditional textbooks provide a free or low-cost option for students, and are increasingly incorporated into undergraduate courses at private colleges, public universities and community colleges.

While there’s no doubt students are on board with saving money, and faculty may appreciate that all students have access to texts, it can be challenging to transition from a traditional, textbook-based model to an online or e-book format.

Understanding OER

The first step in integrating Open Educational Resources is to understand what these resources are. While the term OER is often used to refer to freely accessible online content, including online textbooks, it can refer to any educational content. In fact, the key word in Open Educational Resources is open–these resources must have a legally binding copyright release attached to them for their use.

Open Educational Resources will most often include a Creative Commons license statement. There are other open license options. It is, however, essential that instructors understand what works can be used in an OER capacity and which cannot. Choose works with an open license, or those that are already free of copyright and in the public domain.

These open licenses, like the Creative Commons license, can vary somewhat, but typically consist of three distinct parts, written in easy-to-understand language.

The first part tells you what you may do with the content. For instance, the standard Creative Commons 4.0 license reads, You are free to:

  • Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially.

The second part includes any conditions upon use, like the requirement that you correctly attribute the content. 

Finally, the third part consists of any notices, like the differences between content licensed with a Creative Commons license or content in the public domain. 

Integrating OER Content

Once you’ve found content you would like to use for your courses, and have confirmed that it is legally available for your use, you will need to make it available to your students. The YuJa Enterprise Video Platform offers several options that make OER content accessible and available. 

Uploading and Linking Content

One of the simplest ways to make OER available to students is to add it to a YuJa Course. You can opt to download the resources yourself and then upload them to the Platform, or you can simply add the links to the resources. Publish your linked or uploaded content to your Course, and your students can access it as needed from the Platform, or from your LMS. 

Adding Resources to Individual Media Files

While you may wish to add a textbook to the Course, you might want to add a chapter or shorter reading directly to an individual media file, whether uploaded, linked or captured. Adding a document to a media file makes that document available for both review and download directly from the HTML5 Media Player.

Using Lecture Capture for Student Note Taking


Lecture captures can serve two different functions, depending upon how your courses are organized. They may be used for review, or they may make up the main lecture aspect of an online or flipped course. In both cases, students may need to take notes on your lectures.

Note-Taking on YuJa

With YuJa, students can choose to take notes in two different ways.

  • The traditional pen-and-paper option offers the ability to organize note as desired and incorporates the benefits of writing for retention.
  • YuJa’s integrated note-taking allows students to take notes directly in the lecture, creating bookmarks to mark critical parts of a lecture or adding information where needed.

These two types of note taking can work together; with access to both traditional notes and online note-taking students can be fully prepared for exams and ready to master new material.

Taking Notes on YuJa

To access YuJa’s online note feature, you’ll click on the table of contents button at the lower right hand of the lecture capture. When you bring up the table of contents, you can access both the table of contents and the notes in one easy interface.

When you add a note, the video pauses. This gives you time to make any notes you desire, add information, and automatically creates a bookmark at that point in the video. When you return to the video, perhaps to study for an exam, you can easily click from bookmark to bookmark to review the most important parts of the video.

After you’ve finished taking notes, you can simply resume your video until you’re ready to add another note.

Online Note-Taking

Online note-taking through YuJa is designed to complement and supplement your pen-and-paper note-taking. With integrated note-taking, you can:

  • Add bookmarks and notes to mark key points in lecture captures.
  • Reiterate essential keywords in your notes.
  • Easily return to key points in lecture captures for review.
  • Search your own lecture notes using the search-inside feature.

Using Your Online Notes to Study

Making notes helps you to retain information, even if you never look at them again; however, the real help to online note-taking during lecture capture comes during study sessions! You can use your online notes in several different ways.

  1. Use your bookmarked notes to refer to key points in an individual lecture capture.
  2. Find the notes you need using specific search terms. This lets you not only search the auto-captioned transcript, but also search any relevant notes you might have.
  3. Save time by reviewing your online notes, rather than re-watching entire lecture captures.

Note-taking during lecture captures is a time-saving strategy for students. Taking the time to make notes during your capture can make the difference between longer study sessions and video reviews, or quicker and more directed study time.

Using Pen-and-Paper

There are a lot of different pen-and-paper note-taking strategies that you can use while watching lecture captures. These include:

  1. Outlines, with information arranged at different levels and marked out by numbers, letters or bullets.
  2. The Cornell Method, made up of two columns. One column contains keywords, the other information about those keywords.
  3. Mind-mapping diagrams concepts in a visual way, connecting them with arrows and lines.
  4. Sentence note-taking separates information with white space. Sentences can be numbered to make it easier to track information.

Many of these are easier when you’re taking notes from a lecture capture. You can easily pause the lecture capture to fill in your notes, rewind to catch anything you’ve missed, or even re-watch captures you didn’t understand the first time. For a traditional class, reviewing the lecture capture can allow you to fill in your class notes.


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