Sharing OER

Sharing Your Work

Sharing work is a personal choice and can be daunting, but it also can be rewarding. Sharing work with others allows for increased use as well as opportunities for collaboration, enhancement, and improvement. Work can be shared on a small scale, like with an academic department at a particular institution; or, it can be shared globally with other educators and students, thus contributing to the open education community at large.

Whether shared locally or globally as an OER, consider the following actions as a guide to sharing work.

Decide on Terms of Use

Decide on the terms of use. OER can be published under a Creative Commons license or in the public domain. Be sure to review the difference between these two copyright terms:

  • By releasing work under a Creative Commons license, the creator retains ownership while allowing others to use the work (with attribution) without needing to ask permission of you directly.

  • By releasing work in the public domain, copyright ownership is waived. Users may still cite the creator when adopting or adapting the work, but they are not required to do so.

See "What is the difference between public domain and open license?" in Module 3 for details.

Seek Copyright Clearance

Be sure that the work is eligible to be shared. To release work with a CC license or in the public domain, a resource should be cleared from all copyright issues. To do so, the work should be one or a combination of the following types:

  1. your original work,

  2. built from open resources,

  3. built from the public domain,

  4. built from copyrighted work that you obtained permission to use and distribute for the life of your openly licensed work, or

  5. combination of above works

Note: Third-party materials, whether openly licensed or copyrighted, need to be attributed as not governed by the CC license you chose for your work, but under different terms and by different authors.

Select a Repository

For Images

Consider Flickr or Wikimedia Commons. Terms of use may be selected when uploading images to these repositories. Open Washington has created simple instructions to assist in uploading an image to your Flickr account and marking it with a CC license.

For Videos

Consider YouTube or Vimeo. For help, consult these instructions created by Open Washington for uploading videos in Youtube. Always provide captions to your videos. YouTube automatically creates captions; always verify that the captions are correct. They can be edited easily by following these simple instructions.

For Course Materials

Consider OER Commons or MERLOT. Additionally, if your institution has an institutional repository, work with your librarians to add your work to your institutional collection. Alternatively, web storage space like Google Drive allows for easy and free access. If you choose a web storage space, make sure to (1) manually mark your work as CC-licensed or in the public domain by placing the copyright notice somewhere visible and (2) make the link accessible by the public.

Promote Your OER

If you have taken the time to adapt or create a quality open textbook or OER course materials, you should be recognized for your work. Here are some ways to do so:

  • If you are associated with a community college in Michigan, consider adding your OER to the MI OER Commons Hub.

  • Include usage statistics of your OER in your annual review documents. The OER Commons records the total number of views and downloads for each listed resource.

If you are using OER in your course, let your campus know about it:

  • Ask your bookstore how they identify courses that use OER or have $0 textbook cost.

  • Inquire with your Registrar to see if their office identifies courses as OER or $0 textbook cost in your course catalog.

  • Contact your librarian or Office for Teaching and Learning to find out if your institution has a designated staff member or department who tracks and promotes open textbook and OER use at your campus.


Information for this module was consulted and adapted from

6 Steps to modifying an Open Textbook" by BC Campus is licensed under CC BY 4.0.

"Adaptation Guide: What is an Adaptation" by BC Campus is licensed under CC BY 4.0.

"Considerations for licensors and licensees" by Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 4.0.

"Creating Open Educational Resources: Tips for New Creators" by Abbey Elder is licensed under CC BY 4.0.

"Modifying an Open Textbook: What You Need to Know" by Open Textbook Network is licensed under CC BY 4.0.

"Module 4: Copyright & Open Licensing - Assignment: Create OER" in the Open Education Primer by SPARC is licensed under CC BY 4.0.

"Module 8: Sharing OER" by Open Washington is licensed under CC BY 4.0.