OER Recommendation Action Areas: Visual Metaphor and Openverse Challenge

Here is a challenge to put to test your skills at finding openly licensed imagery to represent a broad concept… and a chance to put the Openverse media search to work.

Okay, one of my favorite things to do when writing or working on projects is locating open licensed images that can illustrate a topic. If you are seeking something very specific, like a photo of a shark fin or architecture in Nantes, them descriptive keywords work well.

It’s a bit more of an art to locate images that are more metaphor, so it takes a more sideways strategy to play this game.

For this activity, I am asking you to find and photos that might serve as metaphors for the Five Action Areas of the UNESCO Recommendation on OER. And… to make it interesting, your search tool must start with Openverse, the successor to the Creative Commons CC Search tool.

Why one tool? Yes, I know many rely on Unsplash (I do too), Pixabay (ditto), Wikimedia Commons (a favorire for me) and many more sources. And those sites offer images under licensed appropriate for reuse. But here is the thing- if you really want to be sure of being able to reuse and image, modify, and to remix with other license, the results of Openverse are all ones covered by Creative Commons license, and reduce the uncertainty.

Plus, Openverse provides a really simple means for getting a cut and paste attribution.


The QRS Wheel of (mis)Fortune flickr photo by Kris Krug shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

Okay, I left the default image here, but I love this photo so much, have reused it many times, and also got to know the photographer Kris Krug early in my career.

:person_cartwheeling: Your Host: Alan Levine @cogdog
:office: Affiliation: Open Education Global
:tada: Format: Respond here with your best finds
:page_with_curl: OER Recommendation Action Area(s): Building Capacity * Developing Supportive Policy * Inclusive and Equitable OER * Sustainable OER * Facilitating international cooperation

First Challenge: An Image to Represent the Building Capacity Action Area

I will outline this first one in more detail… and see if anyone is game to try.

How can this action area be suggested by a photo?

The Recommendation on OER describes this action area as:

developing the capacity of all key education stakeholders to create, access, re-use, re-purpose, adapt, and redistribute OER, as well as to use and apply open licenses in a manner consistent with national copyright legislation and international obligations;

And specifically in Article 11 suggests:

Member States are recommended to strategically plan and support OER capacity building, awareness raising, use, creation and sharing at the institutional and national levels, targeting all education sectors and levels.

There’s not much there to pick for keywords. And If you just aim for Building Capacity as search terms you get results that are not really representative.

Some of my strategies for going about this are to ask questions:

  • What does it look like in the world when you see or experience building capacity? What are people doing? How are they doing it?
  • Who builds capacity and where in the world does this happen?
  • What are other subject areas where capacity building happens?
  • What are other words that describe what it looks like?

I started thinking about “creating opportunity” but then a more simple description that seemed to work better was “make room” -if you create a space for something, that enables capacity building?

The Openverse results for an image search on “make room” created a few possibilities (there is no right answer) but I know I am close when I have a challenge picking the best one.

But here is my choice found here:

It does not fully illustrate it at all, but suggests (to me) the meaning and implication, look at that effort, collaboration, and commitment to a goal!


“Make Room” by Beegee49 (Thanks for 12m views,account locked is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit Creative Commons — Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic — CC BY-ND 2.0.

What can you find to represent “Building Capacity”? Here’s the “rules”

  • Results must be linked and found via an Openverse search
  • How did you find it? What keywords worked? How many tries did it take?
  • Why did you choose the image?

What can you find using Openverse | WordPress.org to represent “Building Capacity”? If I get any takes, I will issue a next challenge soon.