“Anything and everything in an open educational resource can be changed as long as the conditions of the open license are met. The modifications or changes you make can be fairly minor or major depending on what you need to do to make the resource work for you. That is the beauty and power of open educational resources. You are in charge of the resource. You have been given permission to change it ahead of time by the original author. Take advantage of it. They want you to”.

The paragraph you have just read was adapted from one of the sections in the Adopting Open Textbooks course created by colleagues at BCcampus, exactly from here. If you were to check the original, you’d realise that the only changes we’ve made were substitute the words “open textbooks” with “open educational resources”. While their course focuses on one type of OER, open textbooks, this course refers to any type of open resources. That’s why we changed it: to make it fit what is being explained here. And it works. Thank you, BCcampus, not only for writing the perfect paragraph but also for releasing the course content under a CC BY-SA license, so that it could be reused and adapted, as we have done.

Assuming that you adapt the open content you find online, what kind of changes might you want to make? The following list has been reworked from Why remix an Open Educational Resource? written by Liam Green-Hughes under a CC BY license.

  • Mix OER with your own material to make something richer
  • Adapt the material to make it more accessible for people with different disabilities
  • Insert culture-specific references to make a concept easier to understand
  • Translate it into another language
  • Correct any errors or inaccuracies
  • Insert more media or links to other resources
  • Chop it up into smaller chunks that might be easier to learn from, or could be reused elsewhere
  • Change the target educational level
  • Change the format to make it work in different learning environments
  • Insert a different point of view to that originally given in the material
  • Adapt it for a different audience

What kind of changes have you made when you adapt a resource to use in class? Take a few moments to think about it. When you are ready, share an example in the forum below and comment on at least one entry from another course participant.

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