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Open Educational Resources (OER): Open Licensing

Open Licenses -- frequently Creative Commons licenses -- are important elements of Open Educational Resources. They allow you to explain, in plain language, how your creative works can be reused.

Definition from Abbey K Elder, U Iowa, The OER Starter KitCC BY.

OER Starter Kit

Abbey Elder's the OER Starter Kit, licensed CC BY 4.0, is a great place to start with OERs. It includes an excellent section outlining Creative Commons Licenses and how to use them in the section on 'Copyright'.

 

Choosing a License

These elements can be mixed and matched to create several different Creative Commons licenses.

Choosing a CC license can be confusing at first, but there is an online Choose a License tool that can help. The tool generates a license based on which rights you want to retain and which you would like to give to users. For example, if you want to share your work and allow others to adapt it, but you do not want others to be able to sell your work, you might consider using the CC BY NC license.

Before you choose a license, keep in mind that an OER should be able to exercise all the 5 Rs of open content noted in the Introduction to this Guide. Not all of the CC licenses meet this definition. Specifically, the CC BY ND and CC NY NC ND licenses do not allow for revising or remixing content, two of the most significant freedoms of OER for many instructors.

 

Attribution: Adapted from Abbey Elder's the OER Starter Kit, CC BY 4.0.

5 'Rs' and Creative Commons Licensing

Attribution: "Wileys 5 Rs and Creative Commons LIcensing" by Krysta McNutt, CC-By 4.0. Full version at this Google Drawing.

National Forum Open Licensing Toolkit

The Ireland-based National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning in Higher Education released this Open Licensing Toolkit in 2019, licensed CC BY 4.0.

The 7-page guide includes steps on understanding CC license components, decisions that need to be made prior to CC licensing, and then outlines step-by-step instructions on how to create a license using the online Choose a License tool.