Creating, Licensing and Publishing OER

Creating OER

In the last topic, we learned that we can adapt and modify OER to create derivative works, as long as the license on that OER permits. Remember, every CC license except the non-derivative license allows for modifications.

You also have the option of creating your own original resources and making them open and available for others to use by applying a Creative Commons license to them.

Keep these practices in mind when creating a new OER:

  • Work with your librarians or SUNY OER Services for help with creating new OER, and to explore options for publishing and sharing your work throughout the SUNY System.
  • Consider asking faculty or students at your institution (or other institutions) to review your OER and provide feedback.
  • Follow accessibility guidelines to ensure that everyone can access and use your OER.
  • Select a Creative Commons license that you feel comfortable with that supports open pedagogy.
  • Publish your work in an editable format – especially if you want others to reuse and remix your work.
  • Determine the best place to share your work. Consider options inside (LMS) and outside (open Web) your campus online learning spaces.

Faculty Created OER

You most likely already create your own teaching materials, and you should consider publishing them as OERs. In addition to avoiding the cost of purchasing (or renting, or accessing) textbooks, your decision to use OER will provide all students in your course a level of equity that traditional course materials cannot match.

Faculty working on computerIf you are an individual looking to create OER, think in simple terms. Creating OER is digitizing your materials and putting an open license on them. Types of OER you can create include videos, graphics, photos, lesson plans, interactive labs, problem sets, assignments, assessments, full textbooks, and even full courses.

Consider whether you need to get approval from others at your institution for instructional material choices such as the division or department chair, curriculum committee, articulation officer, disability services office, etc. Any institutional policies regarding course materials should be considered well in advance so you can make a smooth transition to using OER in your courses.

Student Created OER

Though students may be beginners with most of the content in your course, they are often adept at understanding what learners need in order to understand the material. Asking students to help re-frame and re-present course content in new and inventive ways can add valuable OERs to the commons while also allowing for the work that students do in courses to go on to have a meaningful impact once the course ends.

Environmental Science Bites
This book was written by undergraduate students at The Ohio State University (OSU) who were enrolled in the class Introduction to Environmental Science.

NOBA Videos
These videos were created by students around the world and curated by the NOBA Project to explain the topic of personality traits. Take some time to explore the other NOBA resources on this site.

Collaborating on OER Development

Collaboration across disciplines and even institutions to create OER can support partnerships, scaffold knowledge exchange, provide cost savings, and improve the quality of teaching materials.

OER and Collaborative Content Development
This report from INACOL describes the benefits of OER, provides a framework for planning, and offers strategies for successfully collaborating on OER development.

Licensing Your OER

Every time a work is created, such as when a textbook is written or a photograph is taken, that work is automatically protected by copyright. These legal protections prevent others from using the work in certain ways, such as copying the work or putting the work online without permission from the creator. This copyright status is called “all rights reserved”.

A creative work is in the public domain when its copyright has expired, was forfeited, or is otherwise inapplicable. This most often occurs when the author of a creative work has been dead for many years (the length can vary as specified under US copyright laws). In addition, most resources created by employees of the federal government as part of their job automatically reside in the public domain. These works have “no rights reserved,” and can, therefore, be used or modified by anyone with no restrictions.

Going back to our definition, we need to remember that OER are resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others.

Again, the most commonly used intellectual property license for OER that permits free use and re-purposing is Creative Commons Licensing. Creative Commons licenses work with copyright to automatically give you a set of usage rights pertaining to that work. That means, rather than having to ask for permissions each time you’d like to use an item, such as is the case with all rights reserved works, these materials have permissions for use established in advance.

For creators wishing to apply Creative Commons copyrights to their works, the Creative Commons organization offers license tools on its website. The “Choose” tool asks you a few questions to help you determine which license fist your vision for how you’d like your work to be used by others. It even gives you the web code to embed the select license image and link to the license on your website. While using this code isn’t mandatory, it does allow search engines to locate your Creative Commons items and makes them more discoverable by others.

Creative Commons Logo Access The Creative Commons Choose Tool

This content is adapted from the following works:

Adopt OER” by Open Education Consortium, licensed under CC BY 4.0
Faculty: Creating OERs” by Open Education Consortium is licensed under CC BY 4.0
What is Creative Commons?” by National Copyright Unit is licensed under CC BY 4.0