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Open Educational Resources (OER)

Adopting OER

Adopting an existing OER can be the easiest way to include open content in your teaching.This can be a small thing such as adopting an ancillary resource with an open licence or a larger action if the OER is a Textbook where you might need to change your unit content to reflect the new text and develop teaching materials such as slides.

Remember that when adopting an OER, at a minimum you need to attribute the original creators. Use the Attribution builder to create the attributions easily.

If you are unsure how you can use an OER with a particular licence, check with the Copyright team.


Are you using OER in your unit? Please let the Open Education Team know! Email or fill in the OER usage advice form.

Adapting OER

There are so many opportunities to adapt an OER to fit your teaching needs. The ability to adapt and revise OER is enabled by the flexibility of the licences on the original resources. Resources can be updated to include the latest research, be revised to include local case studies or a number of resources can be merged to create new resources.   


Why Adapt OER?

Open licences enable the adaptation of OER to fit your teaching needs. This can include:

  • Address a particular teaching style or learning style
  • Adjust for a different course level
  • Adapt for a different discipline
  • Accommodate a different learning environment
  • Address diversity needs
  • Meet a cultural preference
  • Meet a regional or national preference
  • Add more media or links to other resources


  • Address a need of the curriculum
  • Make material more accessible for people with disabilities
  • Add material contributed by students or material suggested by students
  • Translate the material into another language
  • Correct errors or inaccuracies
  • Update the book with current information
  • Use only a portion of the book for a course

If the author has released their resource under a Creative Commons licence that allows for adaptation (which is any Creative Commons licence that does not have a No Derivative (ND) attribute added to it) then they expect that you will change the content, providing you give them the proper attribution.

Where to Start?

Check the licence
Check the licence on the resource allows adaption (Not ND)
Check the file format
Check that the file format of the resource is adaptable. You may need to convert formats or see if you can find it in a different format
Choose your editing tools
Use the appropriate software to adapt resources and produce them in adaptable formats


OER come in all sizes and formats - and so do OER adaptation projects! OER vary from images or  slides through to a complete textbook and you may like to start small with an adaptation project. This could mean adapting some OER slides or adding some questions to a open question bank. You might like to select a chapter from an open book and start there. OER may be broken up into modules or chapters - modular content can be easier to adapt.  The options are endless but always remember to attribute the creators of the resource.

To understand the steps that may be involved in adapting an open textbook, have a look at Modifying an Open Textbook: What You Need to Know

Adapting OER adapted from: Adaptation Guide by BCcampus CC BY 4.0 International License