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Dealing with Copyright in Education

What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?

When people create educational resources, they may choose to share them with others openly and freely. This means that others can use these materials as part of their courses and lessons without permission. A creator of an open textbook, for example, can give explicit permission to others to use their book free of charge. We call these open education resources (OER).

Many types
Not only books but also videos, scientific articles, images, music and much more can be shared openly. In the Using open education resources (OER) section, for each of the different types of sources you will find a list of websites where you will be able to find open education resources.

Creative Commons License

By sharing education material under a Creative Commons (CC) license, the creator is saying: “You may use and republish this material free of charge, provided you adhere to a few conditions”.

A CC license can be subject to four conditions.

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Attribution (BY):
You have to indicate who the creator is and it should be possible for people to find the source of the work (a link is often enough). This condition always applies.
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ShareAlike (SA):
If you want to edit the material (use part of it, change parts, etc.) then the new product you create with it must also be shared under the same CC license. If you use all the material without making any changes, this does not apply.
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Non-Commercial (NC):
You may not use the material for commercial purposes. Since the VU is not a commercial institution, this will rarely be a problem.
No Derivatives (ND):
You may only reuse the material in its original form, i.e. you may not edit/make changes to it (e.g., you cannot put some parts of a text on Canvas without the rest).

Since BY always applies, and SA and ND are mutually exclusive, a total of six different licenses are possible. For more information about these licenses, visit the Creative Commons website.

Using Open Education Resources (OER)

There are many ways in which you can use open education resources in your courses.

Save costs
You can use open education resources instead of copyright-protected material, for example, by using images that have been published under a CC license (thereby saying the VU money).

Enrich education
Open education resources can be valuable additions to the teaching materials that you already use in your courses. For example, you can refer students to an open textbook which they can use as an extra study tool. Sometimes, a slightly different explanation can be useful.