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Open Educational Resources (OERs)

Overview of Creative Commons

OERs are often licensed under Creative Commons licences.

Creative Commons is a non-profit organisation and a set of open licences which creators can use to make it easier to share their work.

Creative Commons licences sit over the top of copyright law which allow for users to easily share and distribute their original work.

It’s like saying to someone, ‘hey, you can use this resource I just published, without asking permission, provided you follow the terms of the licence’.

Why does this matter?

Well, it's important to understand Creative Commons licences (and copyright) before you start using OERs (especially if you want to adapt or remix them).

One of the tricky things about copyright law is that it’s automatic as soon as an original work is created. It can’t be waived and there is no opt-out!

This is where Creative Commons steps in. These licences were developed to make it easier to share and reuse works, especially in an online environment.

There are 6 different Creative Commons licences:

  • CC BY (attribution)
  • CC BY-SA (attribution, share alike)
  • CC BY-ND (attribution, no derivatives)
  • CC BY-NC (attribution, non commercial)
  • CC BY-NC-SA (attribution, non commercial, share alike)
  • CC BY-NC-ND (attribution, non commercial, no derivatives)

You can learn more about Creative Commons and the licences on the Creative Commons website or watch the video below.

Watch this short video 'Creative Commons Kiwi'

Creative Commons Kiwi from Mohawk Media on Vimeo under a Creative Commons licence

How do I attribute Creative Commons material?

One of the conditions of use of Creative Commons material is attribution. A useful acronym when creating an attribution is TASL, which stands for:

  • Title
  • Author
  • Source
  • Licence

This presentation includes examples of how to attribute Creative Commons images:

You can also check out Creative Commons' attribution information and use online tools to help generate attributions:

How do I find Creative Commons material?

Click on the images to go to the websites

The Creative Commons website provides a search page which makes finding CC material easy:


CC Search also has a browser extension tool which lets you search for and filter content from your browser toolbar:


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