Open Educational Resources Community of Learning

Open Educational Resources Community of Learning

Welcome Homepage

Welcome to the Texas State University Open Educational Resources Community of Learning!

Open Educational Resources (OER) are becoming a hot topic in higher education, both as a resource to support textbook affordability practices and as a flexible pedagogical tool to customize and tailor course syllabi. An OER is anything published with an open license that allows it to be shared freely, edited, and reused. While open textbooks get the most attention, content in any format can be an OER: videos, podcasts, infographics, lesson plans, even entire courses. Because of open licensing, instructors who use OER materials can edit, add to, or combine resources to fine-tune their course syllabi .

OER initiatives are gaining traction across campus, but it can be overwhelming for interested instructors to begin an OER project on their own. The University Libraries Scholarly Communications Team has designed the OER Community of Learning to develop a campus-wide baseline of knowledge on the subject of OER and establish a network of advocates in order to support future university initiatives related to OER and textbook affordability.

The Community of Learning contains self-paced Canvas modules--created by librarians and peer reviewed by library staff and university faculty, staff, and administrators--supplemented by live online webinars and discussion groups . Working as a cohort over the course of a semester, participants will explore the what, why, and how of getting started with OER and gain the knowledge and resources they need to pursue their own OER projects.

We have another open version of this course platformed in Canvas. It is an earlier version, but is also openly licensed for your use.

The Texas State University Open Educational Resources Community of Learning was created by the Scholarly Communications Team at the Alkek Library. 

Content creators:

  • Mavis Klemcke
  • Jessica McClean
  • Dianna Morganti
  • Amanda Price
  • Stephanie Towery
  • Laura Waugh

Thank you to our peer reviewers, whose thoughtful comments and feedback were essential to the creation and improvement of this course.

  • Mary Aycock
  • Lynn Bostwick
  • Jodi Brown
  • Lynn Fortney
  • Lauren Goodley
  • Laura Kennedy
  • Stephanie Larrison
  • Scott Pope
  • Paivi Rentz
  • Joseph Rodriquez
  • Tara Spies Smith
  • Wendy Thompson
  • Kris Toma
  • Ray Uzwyshyn
  • Margaret Vaverek
  • Jerry Weathers
  • Kim Belcik
  • Elizabeth Bishop
  • Tamarin Butcher
  • Shannon Duffy
  • Candace Hastings
  • Jeff Helgeson
  • Gwendolyn Hustvedt
  • Dierdre Lannon
  • Omari Souza
  • Dana Willett
  • Connor Wilson




Course header image: "CoL Header" by Jessica McClean is licensed CC BY 4.0 and is a derivative of "books-detail-b"  by Grant Barclay licensed CC BY 2.0 and "Educational Resources" in the public domain.

CC AttributionThis course content is offered under a CC Attribution license. Content in this course can be considered under this license unless otherwise noted.

Introduction: Welcome from the Schol Comm Team

Welcome to the Community of Learning!

Welcome to the fall 2021 cohort of the OER Community of Learning! We are glad you decided to participate, and we are excited to work through this content with you. OER is a constantly changing topic that can take many forms, so we hope to learn as much from you as you do from the course.

This module will orient you to the Canvas course modules and provide an overview of the work you will complete this semester. 

If at any time you have questions or need help, please contact the Scholarly Communications Team at Good luck, and we look forward to working with you!

Alkek Library Scholarly Communications Team

  • Laura Waugh
  • Anthony Guardado
  • Scott Pope
  • Arlene Salazar
  • Sheila Torres-Blank
  • Stephanie Towery

The version of this course was created and piloted under the leadership of Jessica McClean as the OER Community of Learning on a Canvas platform. It was recreated in OERTX by

  • Lisa Ancelet
  • Amanda Price
  • Stephanie Towery
  • Laura Waugh

Introduction: About the Course

This course is intended to be self-paced, so you may complete the modules as your schedule permits. However, you must complete the modules in order.

For each module, read through each page, watching any videos and clicking through to any supplementary links that look interesting. Your progress through the module will be saved, so you do not need to complete a module in a single session. There are 5 modules, and each is estimated to take 30 minutes to complete, for a total of 2.5 hours in the entire course.

Each module will include:

  • Introduction - explains the module content and learning objectives. You will also find attributions indicating which OER content was remixed to create the module.
  • Live Session - introduces (and later contains the recording of) the live workshop or discussion that corresponds to the module content. This page is duplicated in the Live Session Discussions at the end of module list to support flexible learning paces--you can participate in the live session discussions before you have completed the corresponding module.
  • Instructional content 
  • Reflection - discuss what you have learned and ask any remaining questions you might have. Your cohort peers and the instructional team will participate in the discussions. 
  • Quiz - complete this quiz to unlock the next module.

Introduction: Course Schedule

This course is intended to be self-paced, so you may choose to complete all of the Canvas modules immediately, spread them out throughout your semester, or wait for a few months to begin.You can organize your time however you want.

This is an example of how the OER Community of Learning activities may be scheduled throughout the semester.

October 4-8

Complete Module 1 in Canvas

October 11-15

Complete Module 2 in Canvas 

October 18-22

Discussion Group: Introductions (October 18th)

October 25-29

Complete Module 3 in Canvas 

November 1-5

Workshop: Tools and Resources for Open Educational Resources (November 1st)

November 8-12

Complete Module 4 in Canvas 

November 15-19 

Workshop: Introduction to Open Licensing (November 15th)

November 22-26 


November 29-December 3

Complete Module 5 in Canvas 

December 6-10

Discussion Group: Conclusion (December 6th)

December 13-17

Final deadline: December 17


Module 1: Introduction to OER

In this first module, you will start laying the groundwork for your understanding of OER and the issues surrounding open resources in education. Throughout this module, and the course as a whole, you'll see that OER is more than just freely available textbooks and that there are more ways to get involved in the open movement than creating content from scratch.

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • Define Open Educational Resources (OERs)​
  • Differentiate between OER and other free educational materials​
  • Identify examples of OER types​
  • Recognize benefits of OER adoption in courses



A scheduled live session follows this module.

The live session for Module 1 will be the Introductory Discussion Group. During this session, we will introduce the instructional team and the course participants and talk about our motivations for taking the course. 

Participants will receive an Outlook meeting request for this session. The date and time of this session is in the meeting request.

Module 1: What is OER?

graphic text- Open Educational Resources

Open Educational Resource (OER)

Open educational resources are educational materials and resources offered freely and openly for anyone and available under a license that allows users to use, remix, improve and redistribute. Sharing ideas and resources and collaborating on projects as part of a community is key to the Open Education movement.​

In Texas, Senate Bill 810 (SB 810), which was signed into law in June 2017, defined OER as:​

“‘Open educational resource’ means a teaching, learning, or research resource that is in the public domain or has been released under an intellectual property license that permits the free use, adaptation, and redistribution of the resource by any person. The term may include full course curricula, course materials, modules, textbooks, media, assessments, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques, whether digital or otherwise, used to support access to knowledge.”

The key distinguishing factor of this type of educational resource is the copyright status of the material. If course content is under a traditional, all-rights-reserved copyright, then it’s not an OER. If it resides in the public domain or has been licensed for adaptation and distribution, then it is an OER. More on this will be covered in Module 4: Licensing.

Module 1: Why Does OER Matter?

OER supports a future where students and instructors have free access to a wide variety of high-quality educational resources that have been collaboratively developed, reviewed, revised, and shared across institutions. A future where educational resources can be easily adapted to fit within the context of specific courses, and to meet the needs of specific students. A future where the cost of creation, use, and maintenance is much lower than the current rising costs of textbooks and other classroom resources.

SPARC  summarizes the why behind using OER with these four points:

  • Textbook costs should not be a barrier to education
  • Students learn more when they have access to quality materials
  • Technology holds boundless potential to improve teaching and learning
  • Better education means a better future

Module 1: An Introduction to Open Educational Resources [Video]

Module 1: Defining OERs

Open Educational Resources (OERs)

In defining Open Educational Resources (OERs), we use the terms "free" and "open." In this context, "free" simply means that materials are free of charge to use. Free materials are appealing to many different groups - faculty, administrators, students - and represent a move away from the traditional educational publishers.

The second part of OERs, "open" has a specific legal definition: "openly licensed." This concept is key to understanding OER, because while traditional copyright gives a creator many rights, it does not allow for their work to be shared with others. 

Open Educational Resources

  1. Digital (available online)
  2. Free of charge
  3. Openly licensed

Module 1: Terminology Differences

Key Differences

There are many related concepts and buzzwords with similarities to Open Educational Resources. Here we'll break down the basic differences:

  • Open Educational Resources (OERs) = Openly licensed, free of charge, digital materials
  • Open Access = Unrestricted and free of charge (to users, not to libraries) digital materials
  • Textbook Affordability = Campus programs to identify lower cost alternatives for course materials

Some of these terms and concepts may fall under more than one category, for example an open access item may have a license, but not always.

Comparison Chart

chart comparing OERs, Open Access, and Textbook Affordability


Module 1: The 5R Permissions of OERs

The 5R permissions are what make OER different from material which is copyrighted under traditional, all-rights-reserved copyright. ​

Another way to frame this is that "open" in Open Educational Resources doesn’t simply equate to being "free"; in fact, it can more accurately be described as:​

open = free + license/permissions (the 5Rs)

Graphic of the 5R Permissions of OERs: Retain, Reuse, Revise, Remix, Redistribute

Image source: The 5R Permissions of OER, Lumen LearningCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Module 1: Creative Commons Licenses

For Open Educational Resources (OERs), the most widely used open licenses are the Creative Commons (CC) licenses, which make it possible for educators to freely and legally share their work. CC Licenses are a way for the creator of a work to extend these rights to others, with a set of choices of how a new user may "Retain, Reuse, Revise, Remix, and Redistribute" their work.


graphic image- six Creative Commons licenses


By choosing a Creative Commons license, you may allow others to build upon your work, or simply re-use the content. Each license includes the word "BY," indicating that you must give credit to its original creator.

Creative Commons will be discussed in more detail in Module 4: Licensing.

Module 1: Creative Commons Licenses for OER

  • All Creative Commons licenses include the ability to share with attribution​.
  • OER requires the ability to make modifications (edits), in which case the NO Derivatives (ND) licenses would not be considered OER​.
  • More information on licensing will be covered in Module 4: Licensing.

Graphic of Creative Commons licenses from Public Domain to BY NC ND

​Image Source: Open Education: The Moral, Business & Policy Case for OER, by Dr. Cable Green, Keynote presentationCreative Commons 4.0 License.

Module 1: Benefits of Creating and Using OERs

Open Educational Resources (OERs) offer Financial and Pedagogical Benefits

  • Improving student performance and satisfaction​
  • Increasing access to educational materials for a wider range of learners, including those underserved by traditional education opportunities​
  • Giving instructors the flexibility to customize materials specifically for their students’ needs​
  • Encouraging educators to engage in critical reflection of educational resources​
  • Helping students, districts, and educational institutions save money

Module 1: Benefits of OER for Students

Using OER can both provide tremendous cost savings for students and impact student success and completion rates. The cost of textbooks can be a huge financial burden on students, which not only affects student success, but could also delay graduation for students who are taking fewer classes per term because of that cost, further increasing financial costs for students over time. OER provide students with day-one access to free course materials, and research reviewed by the Open Education Group shows that most students perform as well or better using OER course materials compared with students using traditional textbooks.

"When faculty use OER, we aren't just saving students money on textbooks: we are directly impacting that students' ability to enroll in, persist through, and successfully complete a course." - Jhangiani & DeRosa, 2017

The Florida Virtual Campus’ 2016 and 2018 Student Textbook and Course Materials Survey demonstrates that the cost of commercial textbooks continues to negatively impact student access, success, and completion.


graphic of impact of textbook costs on student progress

Image Source: Infographic: Impact of Student Textbook Costs on Student Progress, Florida Virtual Campus Office of Distance Learning & Student Services, Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Module 1: Benefits of OER for Faculty

Imagine being able to edit, modify, update, and improve your course materials so the learning outcomes are met and the course material’s content is “exactly the way you want it.” OER allows for this!

Faculty using OER enjoy great freedom in selecting course materials that they customize to fit the specific needs of their students and the goals of their classes. Since most OER permit adaptation, educators are free to edit, reorder, delete from, or remix OER materials. OER provide clearly defined rights to users, so educators are not faced with interpreting Fair Use and TEACH Act guidelines.


Other key benefits include:

Use, Improve, and Share

  • Save time and energy by adapting or revising resources that have already been created
  • Tailor resources to fit specific context within your courses and research
  • Expand interdisciplinary teaching by integrating resources from multiple disciplines

Network and Collaborate with Peers (professional development considerations)

  • Access educational resources that have been peer-reviewed by other experts in your field
  • Explore reviews and annotations that provide more in-depth knowledge of the resource
  • Collaborate on creating new resources that can be used within or across disciplines

Lower Costs and Improve Access to Information

  • Reduce the cost of course materials
  • Enable all students to have equal access to course materials
  • Provide students with the opportunity to explore course content fully before enrolling

Module 1: Benefits of Creating and Using OERs [Video]

Students spend a lot of money on textbooks. Alternatives to the expensive textbooks that come from commercial publishers are open educational resources, or OER. But, are these free resources as effective or of the same quality as textbooks? The research says yes.

This video summarizes the available research synthesized in Hilton, J. (2016) Open educational resources and college textbook choices: a review of research on efficacy and perceptions. Education Tech Research and Development, 64(4), 573 - 590.


A Review of the Effectiveness and Perceptions of OERs as Compared to Textbooks

Source: A Review of the Effectiveness & Perceptions of Open Educational Resources as Compared to Textbooks, Research Shorts, YouTube, Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Module 1: Benefits of OERs

Benefits of Open Educational Resources (OER)

Image of walkway with open signs on ground

  • Ensures longevity of access to resources
  • Diversifies the curriculum
  • Improves digital skills
  • Engages students in co-creation
  • Promotes the outputs of open research
  • Contributes to the development of open knowledge
  • Enhances engagement with content and collections

Source: Benefits of Open Education and OER, Lorna Campbell, Webinar for the OpenMed Project, Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Module 1: Example of Required Instructional Material

Required Instructional Materials

Required instructional materials are clearly identified in the syllabus in this sample Introduction to Oceanography online course. The required textbook is an Open Educational Resource (OER). The link provided (in the course) to the Introduction to Physical Oceanography textbook goes directly to the OER content.


Screenshot of Intro course with OER required instructional material

Source: QM 4 Instructional Materials Examples, Xavier University, Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 License.

Module 1: Example of Lesson Plan, Assignment, and Assessment

Lesson Plan, Assignment, and Assessment

This Open Educational Resource (OER) on the Nervous System includes graphics, lesson plan, discussion topics, assignments, teaching notes and tips, and a quiz. Instructors can use any or all parts in their own instruction and modify to fit their own course needs.

Image of the Webpage:


Screenshot of a full OER lesson, activity and assessment

Source: Pedagogy in Action - Nervous System, by Jim Bidlack, University of Central Oklahoma, based on an original activity by Melissa Pickering, Innerbody Direct, and Scott Sheffield, Get Body Smart. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License.

Module 1: Example of Existing Resources


  • Many faculty already use OER in their classes - showing an openly licensed course video, using worksheets created and shared by other faculty.
  • Faculty can create and share syllabi, lesson plans, and even entire textbooks for their courses. They can collaborate with faculty at their own institutions, or other institutions around the world.
  • They can access and remix existing OER and re-publish them to share with others.

Image of 5 OER textbooks in various subjects

Source: OER textbooks, Open Textbook Library, Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Module 1: Example of OER Developed with Students


  • Students can play a significant role in creating and improving OER - from simple assignments to full textbooks.
  • One example from Plymouth State University includes students working together to find public-domain materials, write topic introductions, craft discussion forum prompts, and create assignments to go along with the materials to create a full OER textbook.
  • The result became The Open Anthology of Early American Literature.

Screenshot of Open Education Anthology of Earlier American Literature

Source: Open Education Anthology of Early American Literature, edited by Timothy Robbins, Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Module 1: Resources from the University Libraries

Questions? Looking for more information?

  • The Texas State University Libraries can help you navigate the process of adopting, creating, and using OERs in your courses.
  • Along with helping you find OER materials, librarians can help you better understand copyright and licensing concepts, and guide you through your Creative Commons licensing options if you choose to create materials yourself.
  • For questions and more information, you can contact your Subject Librarian or email the Scholarly Communications Team.
  • The Texas State University Libraries also have an online library guide with additional resources related to OER.

Screenshot of the Texas State University Libraries LibGuide of OERs by subject

Source: OER and Library Resources by College, Texas State University Libraries.

Module 1: Reflection

  1. What are your reasons for considering OER?
  2. Are there resources you are already incorporating in your courses that fall under the term OER?​
  3. After learning more, are there ways that your lesson planning and curriculum could incorporate OER to enhance or replace existing materials?

Brainstorming exercise: What is one lesson plan in your course that could be transitioned to an Open Educational Resource?​ 

*Bonus*: How could this be accomplished? 

Module 1: Quiz

This quiz will test your understanding of the topics and concepts covered in Module 1. You must score 5 points to complete the course. You may retake the quiz an unlimited number of times.

Note: This quiz includes a question that will be manually graded. Grades will be updated periodically throughout the semester.

Quiz Type: Graded Quiz
Points: 5
Assignment Group: Assignments
Shuffle Answers: No
Time Limit: No Time Limit
Multiple Attempts: Yes
Score to Keep: Highest
Attempts: Unlimited
View Responses: Always
Show Correct Answers: Immediately
One Question at a Time: No
Question 1 1 pts

Which three of the following options are required for an item to be considered an Open Educational Resource (OER)? Select all that apply.

Group of answer choices
a. Free of charge
b. Licensed to reuse, retain, revise, remix, and redistribute
c. E-book version that costs $50
d. Available online


Question 2 1 pts

Which of the following can be an OER?

Group of answer choices
a. Podcast​
b. Lesson plan​
c. Course​
d. Video​
e. Textbook​
f. All of the above


Question 3 1 pts

The most commonly used license for Open Educational Resources (OERs) is Creative Commons?

Group of answer choices


Question 4 2 pts

Search the OER Commons site and identify one resource that relates to your teaching, research, or general interest.

  1. Provide a link to the resource.
  2. Briefly explain why you would or would not consider using this in a course.

[Free text box for student answers.]



Module 2: Introduction to Finding and Evaluating OER

Now that you understand the licensing structure applied to OER materials, you can start exploring the wealth of OER content available. This module not only provides examples of repositories and tips to maximize your search efficiency, but it also provides guidance on evaluating the quality of the OER material you find.

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • Apply effective search strategies when looking for OER​
  • Identify several online repositories for OER​
  • Utilize other OER search tools available ​
  • Identify perspectives on evaluating and defining ‘quality’ as it relates to course materials​
  • Utilize relevant rubrics for evaluating OER

Sections of this module were remixed from other sources:

Module 2: Live Session


A scheduled live session is scheduled for this module and review of the previous module.

During this session, we will discuss topics and answer questions.

Participants will receive an Outlook meeting request for this session. The date and time of this session is in the meeting request.


Module 2: Reminder - What is OER?

In Module 1, you learned some definitions and characteristics of Open Educational Resources.


  • OER are Open Educational Resources that are granted permissions for people to openly use, share, or modify. ​
  • This could include articles, but can also include curriculum maps, course materials, textbooks, streaming videos, multimedia applications, podcasts, and any other materials that have been designed for use in teaching and learning.
  • Materials that are protected under copyright laws that prohibit people from openly sharing, modifying, or distributing are not considered OER even if they are available without cost at your library or online. ​
  • It is important to differentiate between OER materials and materials protected under royalties, licenses, or copyright. 

Module 2: Goals for OER Searching

Before you can start finding OER, it is important to have goals or an idea of what material you are looking for. For example, you may be looking for just one article, a video series, eBooks, or even a full course. 

Once you have idea of what kind of materials you are looking for, the next step is identifying key words and ideas to begin your search. ​It's always a good idea to start broadly and narrow your search as needed. ​For example, you may not find what you need with a search for "genetics," but you may find a useful section in a textbook you find with a search for "biology."

Compile all the material you can find first, and look more closely later. Give yourself options, and remember that you will be able to cherry pick and modify the best content.

After you find a selection of resources that seem promising, you can start evaluating them more closely using the tips and guidelines in the rest of this module.

Your Subject Librarian (link to email or list of contacts) would be happy to assist you with any part of this search process. 

Module 2: OER Repositories

Here are three examples of repositories that you can use to find OER materials. Using these sources can be advantageous due to peer reviews and rating scales that allow you to quickly evaluate some sources based on past perceptions and usage. ​

Also, these repositories have curated and organized their materials in various categories including discipline, format, and open license. 


OER Commons logo




OER Commons - the go-to repository if you are looking for supplementary resources from lesson plans to full courses. Due to the amount of material in OER Commons, they provide many options for limiting and filtering your searches such as discipline, material type of OER, format, education level, and more. Use their Advanced Search features to your advantage to fine-tune your results.



MERLOT - provides access to curated online learning and support materials and content creation tools, led by an international community of educators, learners, and researchers. Like OER Commons, it is a go-to resource for supplementary resources. MERLOT also has an ISBN search feature. By using an ISBN, you can find MERLOT Open Educational Resources (OER) that can be used to supplement textbooks. This allows you to find open courses, journal articles, other texts, and other learning materials that you can use to complement textbooks that you might consider adopting for your courses.


Skills Commons logo

SkillsCommons - is a comprehensive collection of workforce-related Open Educational Resources (OER) created by more than 700 community colleges across the US. Created by the Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) program, SkillsCommons contains free and open learning materials and program support materials for job-driven workforce development.

Module 2: Finding OER Textbooks

These two platforms are examples of repositories that host OER textbooks. ​


Open Textbook Library logo

Open Textbook Library (Links to an external site.) - supported by the Open Textbook Network at the University of Minnesota, resources available include mainly college-level open textbooks. The repository includes faculty peer reviews, licensing information, a summary of content, format availability, and direct links to resources. It can be searched by keyword or by browsing discipline areas.  ​


OpenStax logo

OpenStax (Links to an external site.) - a non-profit out of Rice University, OpenStax, offers peer-reviewed open textbooks in a variety of subject areas. Their focus is on high enrollment lower-level undergraduate courses. Student and instructor resources are available along with multiple digital formats for download. Students can also purchase print copies typically for less than $65 if they prefer a print version. OpenStax books will also appear in search results from the Open Textbook Library. 

Module 2: Using Google to search for OER

You can access and use OER materials through Google with the Advanced Search option. The search allows you to filter by license and usage type. ​


Screenshot of the Google Advanced Search page indicating usage rights filter.

Module 2: Finding CC licensed images, videos, and music

Module 2: Evaluating/Finding OER

When selecting curriculum material for a course, an instructor would not simply choose the first textbook they find that seems to be on the correct topic. Instead, they painstakingly review different options to ensure the material they present to students delivers the intended message at the appropriate level. 

The same is true for selecting OER. Evaluating OER suitability requires the same thoughtful consideration as any other educational resource to ensure that the content meets both the instructor's and the students' needs. However, instead of being forced to choose the best single resource available, open licensing and the ability to adapt content allows for greater flexibility and customization.


Over the next few pages, you will find some questions and tips to consider as you evaluate the appropriateness of an OER to your needs.

Module 2: Questions to ask - Clarity and Accuracy

Clarity, Comprehensibility, and Readability

  • Is the content, including any instructions, exercises, or supplemental material, clear and comprehensible to students?​
  • Is the content well-categorized in terms of logic, sequencing, and flow?​
  • Is the content consistent with its language and key terms?

Content Accuracy and Technical Accuracy

  • Is the content accurate based on both your expert knowledge and through external sources?​
  • Are there any factual, grammatical, or typographical errors?​
  • Is the interface easy to navigate? Are there broken links or obsolete formats?

Module 2: Questions to ask - Adaptability and Appropriateness

Adaptability and Modularity

  • Is the content, including any instructions, exercises, or supplemental material, clear and comprehensible to students?​
  • Is the content well-categorized in terms of logic, sequencing, and flow?​
  • Is the content consistent with its language and key terms?​​


  • Is the content presented at a reading level appropriate for higher education students?​
  • How is the content useful for instructors or students?​
  • Is the content itself appropriate for higher education?

Module 2: Questions to ask - Accessibility and Supplementary Resources


  • Is the content accessible to students with disabilities?​
  • If you are using Web resources, does each image have alternate text that can be read?​
  • Do videos have accurate closed-captioning?​
  • Are students able to access the materials in a quick, non-restrictive manner?

Supplementary Resources

  • Does the OER contain any supplementary materials, such as homework resources, study guides, tutorials, or assessments?​
  • Have you reviewed these supplementary resources in the same manner as the original OER?

Module 2: Accessibility

As instructors, we have legal and ethical obligations to ensure our courses are fully accessible to all learners, including those with disabilities. We use digital resources in our courses because we believe they enhance learning. However, unless carefully chosen with accessibility in mind, these resources can have the opposite effect for students with disabilities, creating barriers that make learning difficult or impossible.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), developed by the World Wide Web Consortium, provide an international standard that defines accessibility of web-based resources. The principles of WCAG 2.0 are applicable to other digital assets as well, including software, video, and digital documents.

The Texas State Office of Disability Services. provides several resources to help support the creation of accessible learning materials, including Web Accessibility Guidelines.

There are also tools built into many content creation software tools. For example, there is a Check Accessibility button within the Canvas content editor.


Screenshot of Canvas page editor indicating the Check Accessibility tool.


While an in-depth discussion of Universal Design is outside of the scope of this course, learning about its principles may be beneficial when thinking about how to use or create OER. According to its creator, ​Ron Mace, "Universal design is the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.​" Read more at the Center for Universal Design website.

Watch the video below for an introduction to Universal Design for Learning, or visit the Universal Design for Learning page on the Texas State ODS website.


Universal Design for Learning (Part 1): Definition and Explanation by Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at OU is licensed under CC-BY 2.0.


Additional resources:

Module 2: Checklists and Rubrics for Evaluating OER

There are many rubrics and evaluation tools available that you can use or adapt when you're ready to start evaluating the OER material you've found. It may be valuable to develop a common evaluation tool at the departmental level to ensure that OER adoption aligns with the department's mission and goals.

The file on the next page was adapted by librarians here at Texas State to more closely align to our campus needs. It may serve your needs on its own, or you may use it as a starting point to develop your own evaluation rubric. Don't forget your attribution!

Over the next few pages, you will find some questions and tips to consider as you evaluate the appropriateness of an OER to your needs.

At the end of this section, you'll have the option to download a checklist to help you evaluate the OER you're considering for your students

Checklist for Evaluating Open Educational Resources (OER) by Texas State University Libraries is licensed under CC BY 4.0.

Module 2: Reflection

  1. When selecting materials for your courses--OER or copyrighted--what criteria do you use to evaluate them? How often do you review your course materials?
  2. Use one of the resources listed in this module to search for OER related to your subject area. What, if anything, is surprising about the results?

For this discussion, please either:

  1. respond to the prompts above or any other topic addressed in this module and end your post with a question other participants might answer (2 points) OR
  2. respond to two other participants (1 point each). 

Either option will satisfy the requirements. Alternatively, you can do both (1) and (2), above. 


(A forum or chat option can be offered here for posted comments and discussion.)

Module 2: Quiz

Quiz Instructions

This quiz will test your understanding of the topics and concepts covered in Module 2. You must score 3 points to complete the course. You may retake the quiz an unlimited number of times.

Note: This quiz includes a question that will be manually graded. Grades will be updated periodically throughout the semester.


Question 1  1 pts

Why is it advantageous to use repositories such as: OER Commons, Merlot, and Skill Commons? 

Group of answer choices

Peer reviews and rating scales that allow you to quickly evaluate materials.

Each repositories organizes their materials based on title and subject.

They have been peer reviewed by famous professors

They are the only ones with access to full text materials.


Question 2  1 pts

  • Tips for Evaluating OER​
  • Clarity, Comprehensibility, and Readability​
  • Content Accuracy and Technical Accuracy​
  • Adaptability and Modularity​
  • Appropriateness​
  • Accessibility​
  • Supplementary Resources

Pick one category and write between 1-4 questions that you can ask to help evaluate OER materials. 

[Free text box for student answers]



Question 3  1 pts

Using tips from this module, find and upload a web link to a photograph that has a Creative Commons license.  Note this will be graded manually.

[Free text box for student answers]



Module 3: Introduction to Using and Creating OER

In the previous module, you learned how to find and evaluate Open Educational Resources. The next step is to incorporate the OER materials you have selected into your course curriculum. Each course is unique, so there are many ways to approach this topic and many ways to define success.

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • Identify methods for incorporating OER into course material with increasing complexity
  • Explain different ways to adapt or remix OER content
  • Give examples of course assignments or activities that incorporate Open Pedagogy

Sections of this module were remixed from other sources:

Module 3: Live Session

The live session for Module 3 will be Tools and Resources for OER. In this session, you will learn about some of the software and other tools you can use to create and adapt OER. There will also be an opportunity for hands-on practice.

Participants will receive an Outlook meeting request for this session. The date and time of this session is in the meeting request.


Continue the conversation here! This discussion is optional.


[Chat forum available for student discussion and posts.]

Module 3: Using OER

Using OER in your course is not an all-or-nothing proposition! It is unrealistic to expect instructors to immediately pivot to using only OER content. Selecting material for a course takes time and careful consideration, and there is no need to rush the adoption of OER. Furthermore, designing an OER-only syllabus is not an appropriate or feasible goal for many courses. 

Instead, incorporating OER into a course can be taken step-by-step. Curating a mix of copyrighted and OER materials is a relatively easy but effective starting point for incorporating OER into a course. After becoming more familiar with using OER, an appropriate long-term goal may be creating OER to fill gaps in the existing content. Think of OER as an opportunity to fine-tune and tailor your course instruction instead of a hurdle. 


Open Education in Practice: Integrating OER Into Your Course by Abbey Elder

Open Education in Practice: Integrating OER Into Your Course by Abbey Elder is licensed under a CC-BY 4.0 International license.


The following pages will list ways to use OER content in your course in order of increasing complexity.

  1. Incorporating Open Content into Courses: Using OER content in place of copyrighted content.
  2. Remixing Open Content: Adapting existing OER content to tailor it to a particular course or purpose.
  3. Creating OER: Sharing original content with an open license.
  4. Open Pedagogy: Designing course activities, assignments, and assessments that allow students to interact with and/or create OER material.

For more assistance on this topic:


Module 3: Incorporating Open Content into Courses

One way to incorporate more OER content into your course is to make a direct replacement of a copyrighted resource with an open resource. This is a relatively quick and easy first step to expanding use of open educational resources.

Remember, open educational resources are not limited to textbooks. You may be able to find an openly licensed video, podcast, or infographic that easily fits into your existing course as a supplemental resource, or you may consider using an openly licensed assignment or assessment.

Some tips for using openly licensed content in your course (see Module 4: Licensing for more information):

  • Check the licensing for the content you find. Be sure you can tell the difference between content that is openly licensed and content that is free to access but copyrighted.
  • Openly licensed content can be uploaded to your Canvas site or printed as necessary.
  • For content that is free to access but copyrighted, such as journal articles included in the library's subscription databases, adding a permalink to your Canvas site is the best option. On the next page, you will learn more about a Canvas extension called Reading List Builder that can help you collect and organize permalinks for a course.
  • Remember to always attribute the content you use. Refer to Module 4: Licensing for more information on how to do that.


Additional resources:

Module 3: Adapting Open Content

Some open licenses permit content to be "revised" or "remixed," which are practices that allow instructors to better tailor resources to a course's specific curriculum and needs. Revising and remixing cover a variety of different ways a resource may be modified or adapted, but both produce some form of derivative of the original work. We will set aside the question of licensing for now; instead, let's focus on examples of what a revision, adaptation, or remix might look like.

The graphic below uses building blocks to illustrate how raw materials (i.e., educational content) that were originally shared in the format of an openly licensed textbook can be reused, revised, and remixed in different ways. 


Life of a CC-BY Open Textbook

Life of a CC-BY Open Textbook by *s@lly* is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.


The first two steps illustrated in the graphic show the original author's work.

  • Raw materials: this is the original, unpublished content. The original author must decide in what format they will publish and with what license.
  • First OER licensed CC-BY: in this case, the author collects their original content as a textbook and publishes with a CC-BY license, allowing others to reuse and adapt.
  • Example: a textbook found in the Open Textbook Library that can be downloaded, printed, and shared according to its license.


The majority of the uses illustrated in this graphic are example of revision or adaptation. While the original author may choose to adapt or modify or adapt their own work after it is published, we will assume here that another creator is adapting the work.

  • Re-use of pieces: another author removes unwanted sections from the textbook and shares the shortened version without modifying the content.
  • Example: cutting a short segment of a video instead of using the whole video.
  • Add to original OER: another author adds some of their own content to the content in the textbook, leaving the original work unmodified.
  • Example: adding new questions to an existing quiz.
  • Add and subtract: another author removes sections from the textbook and adds some of their own content. 
  • Example, removing examples taken from Canadian law and replacing them with examples from U.S. law.


Two examples illustrated in the graphic could demonstrate remixing, as defined by the 5 Rs discussed in Module 1. Unlike the examples of revision above, in which new content is added to an existing resource, a key component of a remix is that it combines parts of at least two existing resources. 

  • Re-mix of pieces: another author builds a new resource from the original content combined with at least one other OER. Often these works are so thoroughly combined that the delineation between works is unclear.  
  • Example: combining two project rubrics into a new rubric document.
  • Re-organize OER & add: another author builds a new resource from the original content combined with at least one other OER and also adds original content. 
  • Example: This course! The creators of this course took content from other institutions and remixed it into new modules that fit the course objectives by editing existing instructional materials, combining graphics, videos, and other supporting information, and adding newly written content to pull it all together. We attribute our sources at the beginning of each module because parts of each resource we used are spread throughout the content.


This is by no means an exhaustive or prescriptive list. Consider other examples such as translating a work into another language or changing the format entirely from text to video. Within the restrictions of the open license, there are an infinite number of ways a resource may be modified to best fit the user's needs.


Additional resources:​


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.

Module 3: Creating OER

Creating Open Educational Resources: Tips for New Creators by Abbey Elder

Creating Open Educational Resources: Tips for New Creators by Abbey Elder is licensed under a CC-BY 4.0 International license.


If you are unable to find open resources that can be adapted for your course, you may choose to create new content and release it with an open license. Creating and openly licensing your content not only allows you to present exactly the information you want, but also allows your creation to be discovered, shared, and adopted by a wider audience.

In order to be given an open license, all the supplemental material in an OER, such as images and charts, must be eligible to be shared openly. This may include:

  • Original material created by the author
  • Material created by another author and published with an open license, such as Creative Commons, or in the public domain
  • Copyrighted material if and only if the OER author has received permission from the copyright holder to use the material in a product that will be shared with an open license. For questions about this option, contact our copyright officer, Stephanie Towery.

Additional resources:

Module 3: Open Pedagogy

Open Dialogues: How to Engage and Support Students in Open Pedagogies by Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology, University of British Columbia

Open Dialogues: How to engage and support students in open pedagogies by Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology, University of British Columbia is licensed under CC-BY 2.0.

To incorporate open educational resources even further into your course,  consider incorporating or developing class assignments that allow students to create their own open materials and share their work with the world. 

This type of assignment falls under the heading of "Open Pedagogy." As defined by BCcampus on their Open Education page, open pedagogy, also known as open educational practices (OEP), is the use of open educational resources (OER) to support learning, or the open sharing of teaching practices with a goal of improving education and training at the institutional, professional, and individual level.

Here are some examples of activities and assignments that support Open Pedagogy:

  • Adapt or remix OERs with your students
  • Build OERs with your students
  • Teach your students how to edit Wikipedia articles
  • Have your students help write test questions
  • Facilitate student-created and student-controlled learning environments in your LMS
  • Build course policies, outcomes, assignments, rubrics, schedules of work collaboratively with students


Additional resources:

Module 3: Hosting and Sharing OER Content

Content used for a specific course--whether reused, remixed, or created--may be uploaded to that course's Canvas site so the students can access it easily. In your course settings in Canvas, you will find an option that allows you to apply a Creative Commons license to the course content. The screenshot below shows that setting.


Screenshot of the Canvas course settings showing Licensing options.


However, in the spirit of open education, original OER should also be hosted or stored in a location that is easily accessible to potential users outside of your active courses.

Consider a site that is search engine indexed and does not require a password, and find out, if you can, about its long-term preservation plans.

Some examples are listed below, but this is not an exhaustive list. Depending on the content and subject of the OER, there may be a more appropriate site for hosting. Ask a librarian if you need help choosing where to upload.

Text-based documents (including articles, presentations, and textbooks)​

Images and videos:​

Module 3: Reflection

This is a graded discussion: 2 points possible

  1. What barriers, if any, do you see to incorporating OER into your own courses? 
  2. Where in your course curriculum do you see a gap that OER could help fill?
  3. In your discipline, what are the opportunities and limitations for using OER?

For this discussion, please either:

  1. respond to the prompts above or any other topic addressed in this module and end your post with a question other participants might answer (2 points) OR
  2. respond to two other participants (1 point each). 

Either option will satisfy the requirements. Alternatively, you can do both (1) and (2), above. 


[Chat option available for student discussions and posts.]

Module 3: Quiz

This quiz will test your understanding of the topics and concepts covered in Module 3. You must score 4 points to complete the course. You may retake the quiz an unlimited number of times.

Note: This quiz includes a question that will be manually graded. Grades will be updated periodically throughout the semester.

  • Quiz Type:  Graded Quiz
  • Points:  4
  • Assignment Group:  Assignments
  • Shuffle Answers:  No
  • Time Limit:  No Time Limit
  • Multiple Attempts:  Yes
  • Score to Keep:  Highest
  • Attempts:  Unlimited
  • View Responses:  Always
  • Show Correct Answers:  Immediately
  • One Question at a Time:  No
Question 1  1 pts
What is the difference between adopting and adapting OER?
Group of answer choices
Adopting OER means selecting an existing resource and incorporating it into a course; adapting OER means revising or remixing a resource
Adapting OER means selecting an existing resource and incorporating it into a course; adopting OER means revising or remixing a resource
Question 2  1 pts
Open Pedagogy refers to a course in which students use an openly licensed textbook.
Group of answer choices
Question 3  1 pts

An image of a Dahlia

"Dahlia-4" by Steve Batch 61 is licensed CC BY 2.0.

This image is licensed CC BY 2.0.  In one or two sentences, describe an action you could take that would be a reuse of this image.

[Free text box for student answers.]


Question 4 1 pts

In one or two sentences, describe an action you could take that would be an adaptation of the image above.


[Free text box for student answers.]


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------         Submit Quiz

Module 4: Licensing: Introduction to Open Licensing

Module 1 described the 5Rs of OER.

The license an author chooses to assign to their material determines which of these permissions are granted. In this module, you will learn more about open licenses, including Creative Commons licenses, and how they dictate the ways in which OER can be used.

By the end of this module, you will be able to:​

  • Identify different Creative Commons licenses
  • Describe the limitations of different types of licenses
  • Produce OER attributions

Module 4: Live Session

The live session for Module 4 will be the Open Licensing Workshop. During this session, Copyright Office Stephanie Towery will talk about copyright, licensing, and fair use.

Participants will receive an Outlook meeting request for this session. The date and time of this session is in the request.


Continue the conversation here! This discussion is optional.


[Chat option offered to students for discussions and posts.]

Module 4: Licensing: Copyright and OER Basics

  • When is copyright protected?
    • From the time the work is fixed in a tangible medium. Copyright protection can last for a very long time - over a hundred years from the time it's created.


  • Can we use anything we find on the Internet?
    • To be able to place an open license on our OER, we can only use material that fits one of these four conditions:
      • We create it ourselves (but if you work for someone else, they may own the copyright! Check with your employer to make sure. For example, Texas State University permits employees to openly license coursework they create for the university, even if the university owns it.)
      • The creator marked it with an open license.
      • It is uncopyrightable (short phrases or facts, for example) or in the public domain (the copyright has ended, for example).
      • It is a fair use insert (more on this in the next section).


  • Why are open licenses important in OER?
    • We want our OER to fit the 5Rs so that it is easy for others to use it. If it contains work that is protected by copyright and that doesn't qualify for fair use, it would be able to be reused without permission.


  • What's in the public domain?
    • Public domain does not mean everything that is publicly available. Just because something has been used many times on the Internet doesn't mean you won't be infringing by using it yourself. Just because something doesn't have a copyright notice on it doesn't mean it is not protected by copyright.
    • Public domain differs by jurisdiction  - anything published in the US before 1926 and anything created by the United States federal government will be in the public domain, but for anything else, you will need to check whether it is still in copyright.


  • Why can't we use library resources in our OER?
    • Library resources are only available to you under a restricted license. Even though you can use it here, a subsequent user would have to purchase a license for the material. You may be able to rely on fair use, but you will need to make sure the license allows reliance on fair use - check with your librarian for the details. 


Module 4: Licensing: Fair Use Inserts

What are fair use inserts?

The full range of material from third-party sources that educators may wish to incorporate into OER.

These can be of any kind (texts, images, moving images, music, other sounds, computer code, etc.).


  • Inserts as objects of criticism and commentary
  • Inserts for the purposes of illustration
  • Incorporating content as learning resource materials
  • Repurposing pedagogical content from existing educational materials

Even though the items may be protected by copyright, you may be able to incorporate them into your work under the right to fair use. 

When including items under fair use, remember to mark the items clearly for future users.

For further information about fair use for OER, see the Code of Best Practices below. You can also review the video and PowerPoint from earlier in the module.


Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Open Educational Resources: A Guide for Authors, Adapters & Adopters of Openly Licensed Teaching and Learning Materials, available at is licensed under CC BY 4.0.


Module 4: Licensing: Creator's Rights, User's Rights

Rights of Copyright Holders

Having a "copyright" means that a copyright holder has the exclusive economic rights to make use of their work in some ways, including making copies, distributing copies, performing or displaying the work, creating derivative works, and granting licenses to share their exclusive rights with other people. 

Rights of Users: Fair Use

Copyright law is about the rights of the users as much as it is about the exclusive rights of the copyright holder. The Copyright Act includes many rights for users, such as first sale, library preservation and reproduction for people with disabilities. For most users, the most important right they have is fair use. Fair use is often associated with criticism, commentary, and research.

There are four factors to consider when determining whether your use is a fair one. All the factors must be considered holistically. Not all the factors have to favor fair use for the use to be fair. The four fair use factors are:

  1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work (using an unpublished, creative work is less likely to be fair use compared with using a factual work);
  3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole;
  4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

The first and fourth factors are typically the most important. Courts also favor "transformative use," i.e. when a use is completely new or unexpected. The fair use analysis is fact-specific and not a strict science. For example, in the case below, the court decided only the third and fourth factors drove their final decision.


Two version of Soglin side by side
Images used under fair use.

Take a look at the two images: the one on the left is a photo of Madison, Wisconsin Mayor Paul Soglin, and the one on the right is a “posterized” version of the photograph with the background removed and the mayor’s face turned lime green. Because of the fair use doctrine, the copyright holder of the image on the left was not able to stop people from printing the image on the right on t-shirts for a local block party event. The court found that the t-shirts did not reduce the demand for the photograph (factor 4), and the extent of the t-shirts' copying in relation to the whole of the photograph was minimal, amounting only to “a hint of [the mayor’s] smile” and “the outline of his face” (factor 3).

You may find yourself relying on the fair use doctrine often in your daily life, even without thinking about it. For example, when you write an essay criticizing a contemporary poem, you may need to quote almost every single line of the poem; the first factor will strongly be in your favor, which will drive the fair use analysis in this case. 

However, an educational purpose does not automatically make a use fair. For example, if you were to copy the entirety of your friend's math text book for a math class, it is not likely to be a fair use, because you would be harming the market for the text book.

Attribution: This page is from U.S. Copyright Basics [short ver.] by Yuanxiao Xu licensed CC BY 4.0.

Module 4: Licensing: Defining the "Open" in Open Content and OER

Defining the "Open" in Open Content and Open Educational Resources

The terms "open content" and "open educational resources" describe any copyrightable work (traditionally excluding software, which is described by other terms like "open source") that is either (1) in the public domain or (2) licensed in a manner that provides everyone with free and perpetual permission to engage in the 5R activities:

  1. Retain - make, own, and control a copy of the resource (e.g., download and keep your own copy)
  2. Revise - edit, adapt, and modify your copy of the resource (e.g., translate into another language)
  3. Remix - combine your original or revised copy of the resource with other existing material to create something new (e.g., make a mashup)
  4. Reuse - use your original, revised, or remixed copy of the resource publicly (e.g., on a website, in a presentation, in a class)
  5. Redistribute - share copies of your original, revised, or remixed copy of the resource with others (e.g., post a copy online or give one to a friend)

Defining the "Open" in Open Content and Open Educational Resources was written by David Wiley and published freely under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.

Open educational resources should follow the 5 Rs:

The 5 Rs of Open Educational Resources: Retain, Redistribute, Reuse, Revise, Remix

Graphical representation of the 5 R's of OER, by Kiersten Merkel, CC BY 2.0.

Module 4: Licensing: Creative Commons Licenses

There are six basic Creative Commons licenses.




cc by




This license lets others distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered. Recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials.

CC BY includes the following elements:
BY attribution icon – Credit must be given to the creator

View License Deed | View Legal Code



cc by sa


This license lets others remix, adapt, and build upon your work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. This license is often compared to “copyleft” free and open source software licenses. All new works based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use. This is the license used by Wikipedia, and is recommended for materials that would benefit from incorporating content from Wikipedia and similarly licensed projects.

CC BY-SA includes the following elements:
BY attribution icon – Credit must be given to the creator
SA share alike icon – Adaptations must be shared under the same terms

View License Deed | View Legal Code



cc by nd


This license lets others reuse the work for any purpose, including commercially; however, it cannot be shared with others in adapted form, and credit must be provided to you.

CC BY-ND includes the following elements:
BY attribution icon – Credit must be given to the creator
ND no derivatives icon – No derivatives or adaptations of the work are permitted

View License Deed | View Legal Code



cc by nc


This license lets others remix, adapt, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.

It includes the following elements:
BY attribution icon – Credit must be given to the creator
NC noncommercial use icon – Only noncommercial uses of the work are permitted

View License Deed | View Legal Code



cc by nc sa


This license lets others remix, adapt, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.

CC BY-NC-SA includes the following elements:
BY attribution icon – Credit must be given to the creator
NC noncommercial use icon – Only noncommercial uses of the work are permitted
SA share alike icon – Adaptations must be shared under the same terms

View License Deed | View Legal Code



cc by nc nd


This license is the most restrictive of our six main licenses, only allowing others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.

CC BY-NC-ND includes the following elements:
BY attribution icon – Credit must be given to the creator
NC noncommercial use icon – Only noncommercial uses of the work are permitted
ND no derivatives icon – No derivatives or adaptations of the work are permitted

View License Deed | View Legal Code


Creative Commons also provides tools that work in the “all rights granted” space of the public domain.



The Creative Commons CC0 tool allows licensors to waive all rights and place a work in the public domain.



"No known copyright." The Public Domain Mark allows any web user to “mark” a work as being in the public domain.


This material by Creative Commons is taken from Creative Commons Licenses and from About CC Licenses and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licenseIcons by The Noun Project.

Module 4: Licensing: Which Creative Commons Licenses are OER


CC BY and CC BY SA are considered truly "open" licenses because they allow for all of the 5 Rs. CC BY, CC BY SA, and the public domain marks are all compatible with each other and are suitable for OER.


CC BY ND - you can use as an unmodified insert

Only the CC licenses that allow for remixing are suitable for OER. CC ND licenses don't allow for modifications which can be shared, so they don't fit the definition of OER. They can be used within your CC BY or CC BY SA work, as long as you don't change them - in other words, if they are just inserts.

CC ND licenses may still be suitable for marking your work - many law textbooks contain CC ND licenses because the authors are concerned that the work remains accurate and the content is not taken out of context.


CC BY NC - avoid using unless you can rely on fair use

If you plan on marking your OER course CC BY or CC BY SA, avoid using any NC licenses because they won't be compatible.

"Wait, that doesn't make sense," you might be thinking. "NC means non-commercial. Why can't I use something marked non-commercial in my OER? I don't intend to use my OER commercially. OERs are meant to be shared. They aren't commercial."

True, the creator who marks their work NC intended to share their work openly. They don't want it to be put to commercial use though. Contrary to our perceptions of OER, open licenses do allow for commercial use. That means that if you are going to mark your work CC BY or CC BY SA, you should avoid using NC licensed work within it. While your use may not be commercial, a downstream user of your work may have a commercial use - they would have to replace the NC works you included.


Unmodified CC BY ND and CC BY SA

If you use a work without modification, then you can use material with any license (besides NC) in your OER (licensed CC BY or CC BY SA). For example, you can copy an ND or SA image for illustration into your CC BY work.

If you are planning to license your OER CC BY or CC BY SA, and you want to include adaptations or remixes, remember that you can only remix or adapt CC BY or CC BY SA  (or public domain) licensed works. An example of an adaptation would be a translation into another language or turning a story into a dramatic video. An example of a remix would be incorporating music into video or adding yourself to a photograph.

For remixes always remember that you may be able to rely on fair use even if the licenses are incompatible.


Lastly, you should make sure you can abide by all of the terms of all of the licenses. This means you need to make sure you are attributing the work correctly.

Module 4: Licensing: What Creative Commons licenses won't work with OER? Review

Review - because licenses are confusing

Some Creative Commons Licenses do not meet the strict definition of OER used in some grants and legal requirements.

CC BY and CC BY SA are considered truly "open" and satisfy the 5Rs of OER. The other licenses are still useful but they may be more restrictive than your circumstance will allow.

Check your grants and local requirements to make sure you can use a more restrictive license. 


ND licenses can't be modified and shared - so make sure you haven't modified anything marked ND.


CC BY and CC BY SA  are not compatible with NC licenses. So avoid using any material marked NC unless you are able to rely on fair use.


All of the CC licenses work with fair use. Even if you think the license may be incompatible, you can use it if your use is fair. 




Module 4: Licensing: Attributing Creative Commons Licenses

The six basic Creative Commons licenses require attribution. Public domain works don't legally require attribution. Attribution is a best practice in an educational setting - it helps you and students to understand the importance of identifying sources and prevents any appearance of plagiarism.

So how do you attribute?


How to Build Open Attributions

Giving proper attribution to open works is easy if you remember a few simple rules and take the following steps:


Step 1: All CC licenses require attribution.

Not only do you want to properly give credit for work, but you want people to be able to find the original resource easily.


Step 2: Remember TASL:

  • T = Title
  • A = Author (tell reusers who to give credit to)
  • S = Source (give reusers a link to the resource)
  • L = License (link to the CC licence deed)

When providing attribution, the goal is to mark the work with full TASL information. When you don’t have some of the TASL information about a work, do the best you can and include as much detail as possible.


Here is a picture that has been properly attributed with TASL:

Cupcakes with CC logo

"Creative Commons 10th Birthday Celebration San Francisco" by tvol  is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Title: "Creative Commons 10th Birthday Celebration San Francisco"

Author: "tvol " - linked to his profile page

Source: "Creative Commons 10th Birthday Celebration San Francisco " - linked to original Flickr page

License: "CC BY 2.0" - linked to license deed 


Step 3: Use a tool:

  • Open Attribution Builder : A web tool to assist users of CC material to properly attribute.  It allows you to enter the title, URL for work, author and website, organization, and CC license type and will provide attribution information which can be copied and pasted into your own work containing the CC material.


Step 4: Indicate a derivative or adaptation:

You should always attribute the original work in any derivative work and identify that changes have been made. Often the simplest way to do this is to use the phrase “Adapted from …” or “This work is a derivative of…” and attribute the original work as you would normally. If your work incorporates a number of derivative works, you might say, “Adapted from the following sources…” and list each original work sequentially. 


Step 5: Where to place your attribution:

For text resources, include the attribution details where it naturally makes sense, such as immediately preceding or following the work, or as the footer along the bottom of the page on which the CC work appears. For videos, include the attribution information near the work as it appears on screen during the video. For sound recordings, mention the name of the artist during the recording and provide full attribution details in text near the podcast where it is being stored.

For more information on attribution, see these guides by Creative Commons: Use-remix and Best practices for attribution.



This page is borrowed from Attributing Creative Commons Licenses by Canvas in Canvas Free for Teacher, offered under a CC BY 4.0 license


Materials on this page were adapted from:

4.1 Choosing and Applying a CC License,  Creative Commons Certificate for Librarians Creative Commons , offered under a CC Attribution .

"Creative Commons 10th Birthday Celebration San Francisco (Links to an external site.)" by tvol (Links to an external site.) is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Best practices for attribution, by CC Wiki  licensed to the public under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0  license.  

“Open Attribution Builder”  by Open Washington SBCTC  licensed under CC BY 4.0.

Open Attribute  is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported  License.

How to attribute a Creative Commons licensed work?  by CCCOER , licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Module 4: Reflection

  1. What are the aspects of licensing that most challenged you?
  2. How do you think licensing will affect your selection of OER materials to use?

For this discussion, please either:

  1. respond to the prompts above or any other topic addressed in this module and end your post with a question other participants might answer (2 points) OR
  2. respond to two other participants (1 point each). 

Either option will satisfy the requirements. Alternatively, you can do both (1) and (2), above. 


[Chat option offered to students for discussions and posts.]

Module 4: Quiz

This quiz will test your understanding of the topics and concepts covered in Module 4. You are going to build an attribution yourself. Try and pick a resource that you will be using in the future, so you can use the attribution in your work.

Note: This quiz includes a question that will be manually graded. Grades will be updated periodically throughout the semester.

Quiz Type: Graded Quiz
Points: 2
Assignment Group: Assignments
Shuffle Answers: No
Time Limit: No Time Limit
Multiple Attempts: Yes
Score to Keep: Highest
Attempts: Unlimited
View Responses: Always
Show Correct Answers: Immediately
One Question at a Time: No


1. Find a resource that you would like to use in a course. It can be anything that fits one of the four conditions:

1. You created it.

2. Someone else created it, but it is openly licensed.

3. It is in the public domain.


4. It is a fair use insert.


Build an attribution for your resource.





Reminder: if you are modifying the resource remember to say that in the attribution.


Question 1   1 pts

Reproduce the attribute in the text box. Remember to add links where required by the license (4.0 licenses require TASL to be links).

[Free text for student answers.]



Question 2 1 pts

Describe briefly where you would place your attribution.

[Free text for student answers.]



Module 5: OER at Texas State: Introduction


Congratulations on nearing the end of this Community of Learning!  


You've learned a lot in the last 5 modules, and this final module will hopefully help you bring that knowledge home with some context about services here at Texas State to support you in adopting, adapting, and/or creating Open Education Resources for your courses.


Your Team

The following pages will describe some of the services and resources you can find here at Texas State to support you in your work in OER. Because textbook affordability at large is a huge focus of the coming year, these pages will be continually updated as services are expanded. So as you begin adopting, adapting, and/or creating OER for your courses, check back in with these colleagues to see how they've expanded their services. Consider us your team!

  • Instructional Designers
  • University Libraries
  • Office of Research and Sponsored Programs
  • Office of the Registrar
  • Managing Textbook Costs Committee
  • ...and more!

We'll end with a few ideas of what to do next.

Module 5: Live Session

The live session for Module 5 will be be the Concluding Discussion Group. In this session, we will reflect on what we learned during the course and talk about next steps for working with OER.

Participants will receive an Outlook meeting request for this session. The date and time of this session is in the request.


Continue the conversation here! This discussion is optional.


[Chat option offered to students for discussions and posts.]


Module 5: OER at Texas State: Office of Distance and Extended Learning (ODEL)

Who they are

The Office of Distance and Extended Learning (ODEL) offers faculty direct consultation services with an ODEL instructional designer or course developer. You've learned already that affordable textbooks at large, and OER specifically, can have highly positive impacts on student success. Instructional designers are trained in both pedagogy and instructional tools, and they can help you deploy OER for course effectiveness.


How they can help with OER

Consultations: Learn more about consultations on their website.

Some of the types of things they can help with:

  • Increasing class size support - are your enrollment sizes increasing? Get help designing, planning, and delivering with a focus on manageability and student engagement.
  • Canvas basics and advanced skills - finished the basic Canvas training, but still not sure where to start? Get an hour-long consult focused on your course needs.
  • Quick Q&A - just got a quick question? Get a short booking to grab some face time with a designer
  • Recording help - just need someone to help you figure out the management of recording mini-lectures? They're there to help.


OER Grant Program

Beginning in 2021, ODEL launched an OER grant program to support faculty work in this area. For the first iteration of the grant, two categories were available:

  • Development Grants – up to $10,000 to support faculty or faculty teams in developing new OER for courses; and
  • Implementation Grants –up to $5000 to support faculty or faculty teams in the redesign of courses for using existing OER.

See the ODEL website for more information.


How to get involved

Learn more about Learning Experience Design on their website.

Module 5: OER at Texas State: University Libraries

Your team: expanded!

The University Libraries bring a number of key players into your OER Team:


Subject Librarians

The purpose of the Liaison Program is to generate dialogue between the library and academic departments in order to enhance the library's understanding of user needs and to promote the library's services and resources. More specifically, in terms of OER:

  • Your Subject Librarian can help you find subject-specific sources to search for OER for your class
  • They can be partners in your grant applications - subject librarians' time committed to the item above

Learn more about what Subject Librarians do overall.

Contact your Subject Librarian.


Copyright Librarian

Stephanie Towery can help you with any of your copyright questions. She is available to do workshops or presentations for your department or office to address any specific copyright questions.

  • Need help determining if your resources are OER?
  • Have an image or chart and need to find out if it can be used in the OER you're developing?
  • Would you like departmental workshops or training on topics of copyright, licensing, or OER? 

Please see the Copyright Research Guide for information regarding various copyright matters or visit the Copyright webpage.


Digital Services

University Libraries' Digital and Web Services team supports the research and academic needs of Texas State faculty in a number of ways. We maintain an online research ecosystem that enables faculty to openly share and access research and data. We also assist with digitizing and online publishing of research materials and collections.

Digital Services can assist with the digitizing of resources for you to use in your courses and OER


Digital Collections

The Digital Collections Repository centralizes, preserves, and makes accessible the knowledge generated by the university community, which includes faculty publications, journals, academic posters, presentations and conference proceedings, theses & dissertations, plus archival materials from The Wittliff Collections, the University Archives, and other materials unique to Texas State University. It is a professionally maintained digital repository to showcase, increase visibility, and provide access to the university’s intellectual and creative scholarly output.

The Digital Collections Repository can serve as a place for you to archive, preserve, and make your OER accessible to your students. 

Module 5: OER at Texas State: Office of Research and Sponsored Programs

Who they are

The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs has specialists in Pre-Award Services. They exist to provide support in finding funding, reviewing guidelines and requirements, assisting with the creation of proposals, identifying partners, and more. They also facilitate the awards themselves.


How they can help with OER

What does this mean? If adopting/adapting/creating OER is not feasible within your current resources, ORSP can help you identify funding and opportunities to help build up those resources.


Find Funding

ORSP offers the PIVOT funding database. Here you can search for awards to help you with the resources and time needed to develop OER or adapt a course to OER. The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs lists many other sources of funding.


Prepare submissions

ORSP also helps review guidelines, prepare budgets and documentation, collaborate with external partners, secure academic approvals, and complete submission. They're a partner from beginning to end! 

Check out ORSP's page on Pre-Award Support to learn more.

Module 5: OER at Texas State: Office of the Registrar

OER Course Markings

At Texas State, courses that have Open Educational Resources will be marked in the Course Registration system, and students can search via facets:

  • Affordable Learning Materials Cost Courses (ALMS) – required course materials are available for $50 or less including printing costs. 
  • Inclusive Access/Digital Direct Access Courses (DDAC) – includes the cost of your digital learning materials as an additional course charge on your tuition statement. 
  • Open Educational Resources (OERS) – students will have no textbook or learning  material costs as this course may use free and/or open educational resources. 


Allowing students to search for classes with these facets promotes college affordability overall and your course specifically.


Be sure to contact the Office of the Registrar, another member of your team, to finalize and market your selection of OER for your course!


Add Course View - Search by Section Attribute - shows attribute OER


Find more information on the Registrar's website.

Module 5: OER at Texas State: Managing Textbook Costs Committee

Managing Textbook Costs Committee

In 2019, Texas State established the Managing Textbook Costs Committee. Composed of students, faculty, and staff the committee charged itself with studying the wide array of affordable learning materials activity. They surveyed faculty and students, conducted literature reviews, and explored best practices and various approaches for adopting affordable learning initiatives and engaging faculty and students on the affordability of learning materials at large.


Affordable Learning and Managing Textbook Costs versus Open Education Resources

The committee started with a "managing textbook costs" charge, but early on they discussed how other factors - online lab notebooks, homework environments, supplementary reading, and more - all contribute to the overall cost of learning materials for students. So the committee broadened their charge to "affordable learning materials."

The terms are not delineated from each other but are instead differing levels of concern within the same area, from OER as the most specific to affordable learning materials as the most broad.

  • Leveraging Open Education Resources is one specific way to manage textbook costs and impact the affordability of learning materials, though there are other ways to do both.
  • Managing the cost of textbooks is only one way to impact the affordability of learning materials for students, and not all ways of managing textbook costs use OER. For example, you can assign readings owned by the library which are not licensed as OER but are available at no cost to students.
  • Lastly, you can impact the overall affordability of learning materials without changing the cost of textbooks or using OER. For example, you can commit to not using any homework environments or online resources for which students would have to pay. 

The committee chose to focus on the largest level of concern so as to allow for the widest array of choices for faculty to impact student costs, and to allow for the highest impact on managing the overall cost of learning.


Year One Report

Read the First Year Report on the library's institutional repository.

Module 5: OER at Texas State: ...and more!

External partners for OER success

The University is a member of numerous consortial agreements and partnerships that also offer services to impact college affordability through the use and creation of OER.


Texas Digital Library and Open Textbook Network

TXST is a member of the Texas Digital Library consortium: a consortium of academic libraries in Texas seeking to join resources and forces to expand services to our students. Together, we've joined the Open Textbook Network. What does this mean for you?

  • Extend your learning through partnership webinars. Join the email newsletter to view recordings and be informed of upcoming webinars on the topic of OER.
  • Discounted Pressbooks Memberships: Pressbooks is a platform for the formatting of accessible online books. The tool allows you produce professional accessible books in many formats.
  • A Larger Community of Practice: Join the Google Group of faculty and librarians working together to impact OER adoption in Texas.


Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

Through state legislation, the THECB Is charged with two things in terms of OER in Texas:


Statewide Repository of Adopted OER

  • OERTX is the the repository for OER adopted by institutions in the state of Texas. Launched in late 2020, the repository is in its early stages, but it shows some great promise for the curation and dissemination of high quality OER. 
    • To learn more about OERTX, you can watch a walk-through video here: 


  • OER Grants: The Open Educational Resources Grant Program is a state-funded program to disseminate resources to encourage the creation, adaption, and adoption of OER in higher education institutions in Texas. The 2020 Grant Program is limited to high-enrollment Texas Core Curriculum Courses that transfer between institutions. With this focus, the grant program hopes to attain a high impact in statewide textbook costs to students. Learn more about the grant program on its website.


Your next steps

What will you do next?

Use the canvas below to share your ideas and next plans with both your cohort and future participants in this class. Check out the thoughts and ideas of those who took the class before you as well. 

Double-click anywhere in the canvas to put your thoughts to writing.


[Chat option offered to students for discussions and posts.]

Module 5: OER at Texas State: Reflection

Consider all that you've learned thus far about OER. Write a reflection answering one of these questions:

  • What will your next steps be?
  • What questions do you have left? 
  • What new service did you learn about in Module 5?
  • Will you be exploring ways to impact textbook affordability in your courses?

For this discussion, please respond to the prompts above (2 points).

Feel free to also respond to other participants' responses (no points will be assigned for replies in this discussion). 


[Chat option offered to students for discussion and posts.]