Open Educational Resources Community of Learning

Module 3: Considerations for Adapting Open Content

Adapting OER by Wilson College Library

Adapting OER by Wilson College Library is licensed under CC-BY 2.0.


Some questions to ask before adapting an OER:

What format is the original resource in?

Some formats (such as Google Docs or Word) are easier to edit than others (such as PDF). Additionally, some OER textbooks are published using a platform called PressBooks, which users at Texas State can access but not edit. Ask a librarian for help if you are unable to find an editable copy of an OER you would like to use.

In what format will the adapted version of the resource be published?

There are several points to consider when selecting a publication format, including ease of editing, visual and graphic capabilities, and accessibility. For example, an author may choose to create a PDF instead of a text file in order to present a more visually appealing graphic presentation, but they should also ensure that any text in the PDF can be parsed by a screen reader program. 

For work to be truly “open” and allow the 5-Rs permissions (described in Module 1), the work should be meaningfully accessible and editable. The ALMS framework, defined by Hilton, Wiley, Stein, and Johnson in their 2010 paper, highlights the vital importance of offering source files and creating work in easily adoptable formats

      • ACCESS TO EDITING TOOLS: The work is offered in a format that is easily editable using tools or software that are available to the average user.
      • LEVEL OF EXPERTISE REQUIRED: Software or tools required to edit the work do not require technical expertise to use.
      • MEANINGFULLY EDITABLE: The work is distributed in a format that can be edited (e.g., in a text file instead of in a scanned image).
      • SOURCE FILE ACCESS: If a source file is needed to revise or remix the work, such as an HTML file or programming code, that file should also be made accessible.

Where will the content be hosted, uploaded or shared?

Open content should be shared in a location that is easily accessible and discoverable. Canvas may be the best option for course-related content, while uploading to the library's digital collections repository will provide a permalink to the content and allow users from outside the university to find it through web searches. 

Under which open license will you share the remixed content?

The licenses of the content you are remixing may provide guidelines for which license you will need to use for the remixed content.

For example, recall from Module 2 that some CC licenses are designated Share-Alike, meaning that any remixed content must be given the same open license. Read more about this question on the Creative Commons FAQ site.