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Open educational resources

What are open educational resources?

Open educational resources are material developed for teaching and learning purposes that are free to access and re-use. Use is conditional on the type of licence model applied. Open educational resources are usually available under a Creative Commons licence, however there are other licence models available.

By attaching an open licence to a resource, the public know immediately what they can and cannot do with a resource without having to identify and locate the copyright holder to request permission.

How can I use open educational resources?

Check the attribution details attached to the resource for terms and conditions. Often open educational resources will have a link to the complete terms and conditions of the licence model in the attribution details.

For Creative Commons (CC) Licences, the public can copy and distribute the resource. In addition there are four conditions of use that apply depending on the licence attached:

  • Attribution (BY) – a feature of all CC licences, the creator must be credited with use of the resource.
  • Non-Commercial (NC) – use is restricted to non-commercial purposes.
  • No Derivative Works (ND) – adaptation or modification of the resource is not permitted.
  • Share Alike (SA) – adaptation or modification is permitted only if the new, derivative work is made available under the same CC licence conditions.

In Australia, AusGOAL, the Australian Governments Open Access and Licensing Framework, has been endorsed by a number of organisations to ensure institutions adopt a common approach to open licensing. Information on how to use the AusGOAL licensing options can be found on their website. The licensing options include Creative Commons licences.

Information on how to use a Creative Commons licence can be found on their website.

Where can I find open resources?

Many online services allow you to restrict your search to retrieve content without copyright restrictions. Common examples are Google Images, Flickr and YouTube. You can restrict your results to content:

  • available under a Creative Commons licence.
  • where commercial use is allowed.
  • where derivative works are allowed (e.g. adaptation, remix, mashup, etc.).
  • with no copyright restrictions (e.g. public domain works).

Other examples of websites to search for open access resources include: