This post was co-authored by Shemiran Yaghobi & Patrick Tooth.
(Open Educational Resources Series Part 1)

What is “open” in the context of Open Educational Resources?

In the context of open content, David Wiley of Lumen Learning defines “open” as “licensed in a manner that provides users with free and perpetual permission to engage in the “5R activities” as listed below:

Retain: Users have the right to make, archive, and “own” copies of the content;

Reuse: Content can be reused in its unaltered form;

Revise: Content can be adapted, adjusted, modified or altered’

Remix: The original or revised content can be combined with other content to create something new; and

Redistribute: Copies of the content can be shared with others in its original or revised form


A blue cloud with this text inside: OER are teaching, learning, and research 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. OER have been defined in various ways but a key concept is that they can be adapted by others.
Source: The Hewlett Foundation.

Open Educational Resources (OERs) come in a wide variety of types and formats. Many educators are looking for individual media elements to use within their courses, such as photos, graphics, videos, audio and more. OERs also include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, software, animation, lecture notes and any other tools and materials. These materials are offered under Creative Commons licenses.

What is Creative Commons (CC)?

CC is a global non-profit organisation that enables sharing and reuse of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools (Creative Commons Licences). There are 6 Creative Commons Licenses – watch the video below to find out about the different types of licences.

The Creative Commons Attribution logo Attribution
The Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlikelogo Attribution – ShareAlike
The Creative Commons Attribution-NoDeriv logo Attribution – NoDerivs
The Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial logo Attribution – NonCommercial
The Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Sharealike logo Attribution – NonCommercial – ShareAlike
The Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDeriv logo Attribution – NonCommercial – NoDerivs


Creative Commons — Video


You can use Open Washington Attribution Builder to generate citations that include the licensing information you will need for your attributions.

Open Education Licensing Toolkit

The Open Education Licensing Toolkit was developed by Swinburne University and the University of Tasmania in 2016 to support the use and development of Open Educational Resources. It has delivered practical licensing resources to assist Australian higher education institutions in delivering open online education.

Interested? See the Library Page on OERs or contact the Library learning.futures team for help.

In the next OER blog post, we will show you how to search and find OERs and also provide you with information and tools to create your own work, share it with the rest of the world and get recognition.

Join the discussion