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Open Educational Resources (OERs): Use OER

Adopt Course Materials

Provide Digital Access

  • When possible, provide a direct link to the original materials.  This allows students to view it online or download it to their devices for offline access.  

Provide Print Access

  • Some students prefer print.  Low-cost printing options are available in some OER platforms.  

Further reading: OER Handbook for Educators contains a section on integrating OER in teaching and learning.

Creative Commons Licensing

OERs are not copyright-free, but rather are generally available for use under Creative Commons or similar open licenses. These licenses grant permission to Retain, Reuse, Revise, Remix, and Redistribute resources.

There are six creative commons licenses, ranging from most open to least open.  For detailed explanations of each license type, visit the Creative Commons website. 

Image by Foter (CC BY SA) from

Modify or Remix a Textbook

Once you find textbooks and other content to use in your course, you may want to modify that content to fit your learning outcomes and the specific needs of your students.  For example, you may wish to localize examples, add something new like a video, or adapt the content to match the learning styles of your class. 

  • Larger OER platforms such as OER Commons and Pressbooks have built in features that allow you to easily remix and modify the content you find within their sites.  Each platform provides tutorials and help for completing this process.
  • Smaller DIY OERs will present some challenges to that process.  Consider the following when modifying and remixing open content. 


Each OER you modify, remix, or use portions of must be properly attributed.  The Creative Commons license requires attribution as one of their terms.  CC attrubution states "You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made.  You may do so in a any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or  your use"  The Creative Commons Wiki has more on best practices for attribution.  Try the Attribution Builder created by Open Washington

The ideal attribution contains: Title, Author, License and modification.  Each part should be hyperlinked when possible. 

"Title" by Author is licensed under CC BY 4.0 /Modification made. 


Some OER platforms such as OpenStax have built in faculty review processes to ensure the materials are high quality, while others do not.  The following resources will help you judge resources for relevance, accuracy, production quality, accessibility, interactivity, and licensing. 

Helpful Resources

Modifying an Open Textbook: What You Need to Know

One of the most powerful things about Open Education Resources is the ability to customize and tailor textbook content for your particular needs.  The book, "Modifying an Open Textbook: What You Need to Know" walks you through the considerations for reformatting an open work and provides guides to working with formats commonly utilized in OER texts.