It is common enough to assume that because something is online, it is also free to use. But is it, really? Do you normally ask the person who uploaded her materials online whether you can use them in your class, in your presentation, in your report…? Of course not! That’s what Creative Commons licenses do: they let you know exactly how an author would like you to use her materials while she retains copyright. The following image explains what each of the licenses allows you to do:

CCLicensesFOTER Source: How to Attribute Creative Commons Photos, by FOTER, CC BY-SA 3.0

These licenses can be combined. For example, the image reproduced right above this paragraph has been released under a CC BY-SA license, which means that it can be reused in this course as long as it is attributed and shared under the same terms. The author has not added any restrictions with regard to adapting the resource (note that we have cropped it from the original) or using it for commercial purposes.

What is important for you to understand is that only resources allowing for adaptation are actual OER; if you can’t adapt it, then it’s not open. See the slide below: a resource with a No-Derivatives (CC-ND) license stops you from making any changes to it, therefore it is not open!


Source: Creative Commons Licenses, by Paul Stacey, CC BY 4.0

Fancy playing a game? Follow the instructions in the link and remix four different media types to create a new resource.

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