Using open material

Open (teaching) materials are mostly shared under a Creative Commons (CC) license.

Open material uses the Creative Commons licenses 'CC BY' or 'CC BY-SA'. These licenses give you free and perpetual permission to do the following 5R activities:

  1. Retain - the right to make, own, and control copies of the content (e.g., download, duplicate, store, and manage)
  2. Reuse - the right to use the content in different ways (e.g., in a class, in a study group, in a video, on a website)
  3. Revise - the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language)
  4. Remix - the right to combine the original or revised content with other material to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)
  5. Redistribute - the right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend)

The 5R activities let you use Open Educational Resources on several levels:

  • Discovering the Open Educational Resources of others may inspire you in creating your educational materials.
  • The open license gives you the possibility to use other teachers' creations in your classes or courses.
  • You can use just a part of the resource or revise it to create materials for your students. You might also want to mix several sources and create a new product.
  • You might want to share your materials with others, thus redistributing them.

You may not revise or remix materials with a ‘CC BY-ND’ or ‘CC BY-NC’ license. These materials must be reused ‘as is’.

Source: This material is an adaptation of Defining the "Open" in Open Content and Open Educational Resources, which was originally written by David Wiley and published freely under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license at