1.5 Open licensing

As noted in Section 1.3, UNESCO [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] defines OER as ‘… any type of educational materials that are in the public domain or introduced with an open licence…’. Open licences tell the user who made the material and give clear instructions as to how, and in what context, the creator would like the material reused (making reuse ‘legal’). OER are also made available at no cost to the end user.

There are different types of open licence, but the most common types used for a range of resources are those produced under a Creative Commons (CC) licence. According to Creative Commons, during 2015 over one billion items will have been given Creative Commons licences!  

Let’s now take a closer look at the different possible components of a Creative Commons licence and what they mean (Figure 1.5).  

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Figure 1.5 Creative Commons licenses for flipped educators (Creative Commons, CC-BY)

As you can see in the bottom right-hand corner of the infographic above, the different components of licences can be combined in different ways to create specific licences with different types of instruction or permissions regarding their reuse (so, for example, the licence CC-BY-NC means that you can reuse the resource in any way you like if you attribute the author and do not reuse it for commercial purposes). Visit Creative Commons to read more about what the different licence types mean for your practice.

Section 4.4 looks in more depth at what licence you should choose when you’re creating an OER and Section 3.4 looks at how to attribute a licence correctly.

Activity 1D

Now that you have been introduced to Creative Commons licences what are your initial impressions of the different licence components?

Can you think of situations where you might use openly licensed materials in your role as a teacher, facilitator or organiser of learning opportunities? Would one kind of licence combination be more appropriate than another?

Write down your thoughts in your reflective log.

Now try the Section 1 quiz to consolidate your knowledge and understanding from this section. Completing the quizzes is part of gaining the statement of participation and/or the digital badge, as explained in Course and badge information.

1.4 The practice of open educational resources

1.6 If you want to know more ...