How to make an online course – Part 3a: Free Stock Content

During the content creation phase, it’s perfectly natural to want to spruce up your content with some free stock content. Stock content is professionally created content that is generic enough to be used in multiple situations. The most widely used format is a stock image which can be used to illustrate some points which are being made in a blog post or indeed even a lesson. An example is where an image of a child using a tablet is used to indicate some e-learning is taking place.

Professionally created content takes time to create and therefore it should be no surprise that whoever created it wants to charge for it. After all, if you are reading this article, you are also likely to want to charge for a potential course you are planning for. Nonetheless, when starting out on creating courses, costs can add up if you have, for example, decided to purchase expensive equipment or software and so finding options to streamline costs in other areas can be wise. Finding a good source of free content can therefore make your own content look more professional without adding to your costs.

Licences and rights

The way we framed the last sentence would suggest that stock content is simply divided between free content and paid-for content. The reality is more complex. This is because content creators can reserve certain rights when licencing out their content for free. You can learn more about some of these licence types by reading about the licence types offered by the Creative Commons project. The key thing you’re likely to be checking for is whether the content can be used for commercial purposes.

The other factor you may need to consider here is quality and not from a subjective perspective but from a technical perspective. Visuals may be differentiated on resolution (e.g. 4K, HD etc.) and audio may have differing bit rates. Be mindful of checking which licence pertains to which specific grade of content.

Free content

Where to find this free content? Here is a quick round-up of a few good options! There are certainly more options available than those listed below so consider these to be a good place to start only.

Free Stock Images





Wikimedia Commons

Free Stock Audio




YouTube Audio Library


Free Stock Video



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