Skip to Main Content

Faculty Info

What is Open Education?

Open Education, Open Access, or just Open content are all terms used to describe works that are either in the public domain, or licensed in a way that ensure freedom to use, share and modify (or more specifically, follow the 5 Rs of Open Education). This guide will use the term "OER" or Open Education Resource to avoid confusion.

Please note: traditionally, OER excludes software. Software licensed in a similar manner is "Open Source".


The 5 Rs of Open Education Resources

OER licensing allows the following points:

  • Reuse - Content can be reused in its unaltered original format - the right to use the content in a wide range of ways (e.g., in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video)
  • Retain - Copies of content can be retained for personal archives or reference - the right to make, own, and control copies of the content (e.g., download, duplicate, store, and manage)
  • Revise - Content can be modified or altered to suit specific needs - the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language)
  • Remix - Content can be adapted with other similar content to create something new- the right to combine the original or revised content with other material to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)
  • Redistribute - Content can be shared with anyone else in its original or altered format - 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)


What's the benefit of using OER?


Access. Students anywhere in the world can access OERs at any time, and they can access the material repeatedly.

  • OERs also provide alumni with the tools to continue their education after graduation.

Cost. OERs are available with little or no cost. Students who would delay or not purchase a textbook due to financial strain will not find themselves behind in a class.

Supplemental Information. OERs can be used to enhance regular course material, such as using videos to accompany text. Multiple formats can help students to better understand the material being taught.

Quick Circulation. Many textbooks and journals have a delay in publication or availability in databases, compared to the release of information. Quick availability of material may increase the timeliness and/or relevance of the material being presented.

Continual Improvement. OERs can be improved through constant direct editing by users. Instructors can take an existing OER, adapt it for a class, and make the modified OER available for others to use, or build off a modification by other instructors.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons is an American organization which produces several copyright licenses, and indexes some works under those licenses. Works are free to use for the general public, though certain licenses restrict adaption, and commercial use.


The Licenses



This license lets others distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered. Recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials.



This license lets others remix, adapt, and build upon your work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. This license is often compared to “copyleft” free and open source software licenses. All new works based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use. This is the license used by Wikipedia, and is recommended for materials that would benefit from incorporating content from Wikipedia and similarly licensed projects.



This license lets others reuse the work for any purpose, including commercially; however, it cannot be shared with others in adapted form, and credit must be provided to you.



This license lets others remix, adapt, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.



This license lets others remix, adapt, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.



This license is the most restrictive of our six main licenses, only allowing others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.


What can I find on Creative Commons?

  • Music
  • Videos
  • Images
  • 3D Models
  • Scientific Research
  • Government Open Data
  • Education Material (Lesson Plans, etc)
  • And so much more.

Try using the old Creative Commons search for a multitude of results here:

Or use the new CC Search for images here:


Please note: Creative Commons does not have their own search engine. The sites listed above search independent organizations that are affiliated with Creative Commons. Always double check the license on specific works. 

Ron Doyle Library
Sault College
443 Northern Avenue
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
P6B 4J3
(705) 759-2554 ext. 2711

Want to access our eResources? Use your Sault College Microsoft login!

Sault College library now uses the same login as all other college systems. If you need help with your login, check out TeamDynamix Accounts & Access

And don't forget to set up a Self-Service Password Reset
This allows you to change your Sault College password from anywhere, at anytime, without having to talk to an IT Service Desk Technician.