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Open Educational Resources

An introduction to open educational resources (OER).

OER Licensing


The creator of any original creative work, including educational resources, holds copyright to the tangible form of the work as a default.

To enable others to use OER, the creator of the resource should license their work properly, most commonly by applying a Creative Commons license.

What Is An Open License And How Does It Work?




The Council of Chief State School Officers
Video: CC BY 4.0
Music: Flattered by Blue Dot Sessions: CC BY NC 4.0

Creative Commons Licenses


Assigning a creative commons license to OER provides a simple, standardized way to give others permission to share and use your work -- on conditions of your choice. You retain copyright of your work while allowing others to make limited uses.

There are six types of Creative Commons License (See comparison of the licenses in the box below).

Assigning a CC-BY license to your educational resource would give others most freedom to use, adapt, re-mix, and redistribute them while giving you credits.

Non-derivative license does not permit others to modify your work, thus making it not an OER. 

Public Domain

As the content creator, one can relinquish your copyright claim on the creation. Creative Commons has a Public Domain or CC0 license that marks a work as completely open with no restriction or requirement attached to any type of reuse. 

See Guide to Using Public Domain Tools from Creative Commons.

Comparison of CC Licenses