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Open Educational Resources: Creative Commons Licenses


Hello! Take a look at this page for information about open licenses offered through Creative Commons. These licenses can be applied to teaching material. Each one provides a different level of permission for how a work can be used. For all licenses, it is important to give attribution to the original creator of a work.

This page includes some key terms that are used in the OER Community. This will help you to better understand your options when it comes to using or creating open materials.

Creative Commons Licenses

Key Terms

Adopt - In the same way a faculty member "adopts" a traditional textbook, they can adopt OER. Adopting an OER means that an instructor is integrating Open Educational Materials into their courses without major changes or alteration to the work. For example, you might find a textbook through Openstax that you can select for your course, and implement immediately.

Adapt - License permitting, educators may choose to change or modify open teaching material to suit their needs. Adapting OER involves making edits to the text, images, or other components of a work to customize it. This is one of the benefits of using OER - the ability to tailor the material.

Create - To create OER is to author your own material. It is not enough to modify a preexisting OER. Rather creation involves compiling and crafting your own resource and applying an open license to your finished product. 

The 5 Rs of Creative Commons Licenses

  • Retain - make, own, and control a copy of the resource
  • Revise - edit, adapt, and modify your copy of the resource
  • Remix - combine your original or revised copy of the resource with other existing material to create something new
  • Reuse - use your original, revised, or remixed copy of the resource publicly 
  • Redistribute - share copies of your original, revised, or remixed copy of the resource with others