Module 8: Sharing OER

Module 8: Sharing OER

Are you interested in sharing your material? Do you have an engaging course activity, image, assessment item, video, or a whole course that might be beneficial to your fellow Washington faculty?

Then consider releasing them as OER. Below are the steps we recommend:

Step 1: Terms of Use

Decide on the terms of use. Do you wish to release your work under Creative Commons license or in the public domain? Please make sure to review the difference between these two copyright terms:

  • By releasing your work under a Creative Commons license, you retain ownership while allowing others to use your work (as long as they attribute it to you) without needing to ask permission of you directly.
  • By releasing your work in the public domain, your copyright ownership is waived. It is as if you are GIVING your work to the public as a gift. Users may still cite you when adopting your work, but they are not required to do so.

Please see “What is the difference between public domain and open license?” in Module 7 for details.

Step 2: Seeking Copyright Clearance

Be sure that the work is eligible to be shared. In order to release your work with a CC license or in the public domain, your work should be cleared from all copyright issues. To do so, your work should be one or a combination of the following types:

    1. your original work,
    2. built from open resources,
    3. built from the public domain,
    4. built from copyrighted work that you obtained permission to use, or
    5. combination of above works

Note: For any third party materials, whether openly licensed or copyrighted, those materials need to be attributed as not governed by the CC license you chose for your work, but under different terms and by different authors).

Getting Permission to Use Copyrighted Materials

If you must use any items that are copyrighted with all-rights reserved, please be sure to obtain the permission letters from the authors. Please find a sample permission request email.

A sample letter to ask for permission to use the work: 

Hello Dr. Dumbledore, 

I am a faculty member with the ____ project. The purpose of this project is to design openly licensed Science and Technology courses that can be taught face-to-face, hybrid and/or online. These courses will be freely available on the internet for anyone to copy, modify and use. One of the purposes of this project is to offer educational resources to regions where formal educational opportunities are scarce or expensive. 

I am creating a course entitled “Advanced Potion” and I would like to use a post from your blog entitled “Why polyjuice potion?” from February 2005. 

I am seeking your permission to distribute this material as part of our course. You will maintain your copyright but will be giving us permission to distribute this material for reuse as part of the teaching of this course. We will mostly likely copy the text of your post into a Google document and attribute you. A full citation for the work will accompany it, as will a statement of copyright ownership. 

Please contact me at or by telephone at 253-xxx-xxxx with information about this request. Thank you for your time and attention. 

Regards,Your name


One Last Reminder:

Creative Commons licenses are non-revocable. This means that you cannot stop someone, who has obtained your work under a Creative Commons license, from using the work according to that license. You can stop offering your work under a Creative Commons license at any time you wish; but this will not affect the rights associated with any copies of your work already in circulation under a Creative Commons license. So you need to think carefully when choosing a Creative Commons license to make sure that you are happy with people being able to use your work consistent with the terms of the license, even if you later stop distributing your work (text from Considerations for licensors and licensees by Creative Commons, CC-BY.

To learn more about basic conditions that you should think about before you apply a Creative Commons license to your work, please visit the website CC Wiki: Considerations for licensors and licensees.

Step 3: Selecting a Repository

For Images

Consider Flickr or Wikimedia Commons. As you upload your image to these repositories, you will see the option to select the terms of use. Here are instructions, if you need help in uploading an image to your Flickr account and marking it with a CC license.

For Videos

Consider YouTube  or Vimeo. Here are instructions, If you need help in uploading a video to your YouTube account and mark it with a CC license.

For Course Materials

Consider Canvas Commons if you have an online/hybrid course in Canvas that you would like to openly license and share. Anyone with Canvas account in the world will be able to access your materials and easily import the content back to their course shell.

Below are instructions, if you need help sharing your courses in Canvas Commons:

You can also choose a web storage space that allows easy and free access, such as Drop-box or Google drive. If you choose a web storage space, make sure to (1) manually mark your work as a CC licensed or the public domain work by placing the copyright notice somewhere visible and (2) make the link accessible by public.

Last updated: 04 21 2017