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Open Educational Resources @MJC

This guide provides an overview of open educational resources (OER), Zero textbook cost courses, and gives you tools to help you find, create, and share these resources.

Create & License OER

Wanna Work Together?

One of the beautiful aspects about using OER in your curriculum is that when you do, you become a part of a large community of educators who are creating and sharing their work for others to use. You don't have to start from scratch; just find content you like, modify it according to the applicable CC license guidelines, use it, attribute it, and pay it forward by sharing it.

Additionally, you may find that existing open educational resources don't meet all of your instructional needs. Therefore, you may want to customize an open resource you've selected. Consider the following ways you may want to modify open resources to make them more appropriate for your teaching style:

  • Combine two or more open OERs and package with ZTC materials to create one full course package.
  • Rearrange or remix the content in an open resource.
  • Add glossaries, hyperlinks, and test bank.
  • Make edits to an open resource to improve accuracy and relevance for your course.
  • Make content accessible for students with visual impairments.


"Creative Commons 'Wanna Work Together'" from Ryan Junell on Vimeo.

Create OER: Modifying & Authoring Open Textbooks

Learn the basics about modifying and/or authoring open textbooks from these sources below.


Modifying an Open Textbook

Authoring an Open Textbook

Create OER: Tools for Creating OER

There are many tools you can use to create or modify OER, but it can be confusing to pick the one you want. Here are some tools you can consider to get you started.

Low Tech Options

The simplest way to start is by using familiar word processing tools such as Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or Libre Office. You can easily save/export these documents as a PDF or print them.

Additional low-tech options include:

Medium Tech Options

Another common way to create or edit educational resources is to create a website or hosted resource. This could be in the form of a blog, a static website, or a wiki. WordPress can be a great tool for these sorts of medium-tech projects.

Additional medium-tech options include:

High Tech Options

There are a number of platforms that provide professional tools for authoring content, and some are very easy to use. A common tool used by OER projects is PressBooks (in which this text is published), a publishing software that makes it easy to produce interactive e-books and other text-based content. Other tools, like Jupyter, may take time to master and require special expertise.

Additional high-tech options include:

"The OER Starter Kit" by Abbey Elder is licensed under CC By 4.0.

Licensing Your Work

Give Your OER a CC License

If you adapt a CC-licensed work for your specific needs or create your own OER from scratch, you'll need to give your work a CC license.

The Choose a License Tool will walk you through a few questions to help you determine which license to use. The best way to decide which is appropriate for you is to think about why you want to share your work, and how you hope others will use that work. 


Choose a license tool

"Choose a License" by Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Licensing Rules to Note

  • It is important to remember why you are sharing and what you hope others might do with your work before making your CC license choice.
  • One of the most important aspects of Creative Commons licenses is that they are standardized. This makes it much easier for the public to understand how the licenses work and what reusers have to do to meet their obligations.
  • Creative Commons strongly discourages people from customizing open copyright licenses because this creates confusion, requires users to take the time to learn about how the custom license differs, and eliminates the benefits of standardization. If you change any of the terms and conditions of a CC license, you cannot call it a Creative Commons license or otherwise use the CC trademarks. This rule also applies if you try to add restrictions on what people can do with CC licensed work through your separate agreements, such as website terms of service. For example, your website’s terms of service can’t tell people they can’t copy a CC licensed work (if they are complying with the license terms). You can, however, make your CC licensed work available on more permissive terms and still call it a CC license. For example, you may waive your right to receive attribution.
  • You can never change the legal terms that apply to someone else's CC licensed work.
  • An original CC license on a work cannot be revoked. Remember, a CC license is valid for as long as the underlying copyright lasts or until you violate the license terms.
  • Even though a creator cannot revoke a CC license applied to their work, they are free to also offer the work under a different license or remove the copy of the work they placed online. In those cases, anyone who finds the work under the original license is legally permitted to use it under those terms until the copyright expires. As a practical matter, reusers may want to comply with the creator’s new wishes as a matter of respect.

For more information, consult the Creative Commons FAQs For Licensors.

"4.2 Things to Consider after CC Licensing" by Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 4.0