Given the rising demand, costs, copyright, and number of licensing restrictions related to commercial streaming media, raising faculty awareness about selecting alternative choices from open media sources is just as important as raising awareness about choosing open textbooks in response to textbook affordability issues. Finding the right open media product for online instruction can be challenging. What John Shank, an expert in digital learning objects and blended learning, wrote in Interactive Open Educational Resources seven years ago remains true: “the current environment makes it very challenging for educators and students alike to locate high quality, appropriate, interactive digital learning materials.”7 The uninitiated may not know where to start looking for materials, especially since most massive gateway sites have poor search tools for such items. So it falls to librarians and other interested educators to curate and annotate some of the best available online resources. Many academic institutions have curated lists offering links to open textbooks, courses, or images, but these usually do not list open streaming videos. Among the academic libraries that do offer open streaming video are Guildford College, California State University (Northridge), College of Charleston, Wabash College, and University of South Florida (the last offers a subject listing of some of those open streaming sites).
This essay focuses on open multimedia learning objects such as videos, podcasts, virtual tours, and simulations. The essay starts with gateway sites and then looks at subject-specific streaming and video resources. Open access textbooks, audio music files, and images are not included, because adequately covering these categories of open instructional materials requires an entire, separate essay.