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Open Educational Resources (OER): Copyright and Creative Commons

Guide to resources about OER and for finding OER. Based on Heather Blicher's OER guide for NOVA (

OER and Copyright

OER best practice encourages using course materials with copyright licenses allowing for the greatest level of accessibility for students and for sharing beyond the course’s Moodle site.  Along with Public Domain materials, some of the least restrictive licenses are Attribution (CC BY), Noncommercial (CC BY NC), and Sharealike (CC BY SA) Creative Commons licenses.  These licenses allow for materials to be copied into Moodle and to be adapted or remixed, and are freely accessible to students.

Using open materials should not be confused with the Fair Use of materials with restrictive or all-rights-reserved copyright licenses. Fair Use involves the very limited use of works for criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research.  While a particular course material may be appropriate for Fair Use in the classroom or in Moodle, it may not be an open resource or appropriate for use in OER courses.

Based on a Spring 2016 draft of Northern Virginia Community College's OER Policy & Procedures Statement.

Creative Commons

What is Creative Commons?

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools.

Content created by Creative Commons.