Activity: Adaptation and Attribution for OER

You can view this activity as a downloadable Google Doc. You can also view the full OER Starter Kit Workbook, which includes multiple additional activities.[1]

Find an Item

First, find a resource you want to edit. This can be a simple document, PowerPoint, or image. It does not need to be something you would use in your class.

Here are a few places you can look for practice items:

If you’re having trouble finding an item to use, try one of these example items:

Check the CC License

Once you’ve located an item you want to adapt, answer the following questions.

  1. What is the copyright status of the item? Is it in the public domain or available under a Creative Commons license?


  2. If the work is available under a Creative Commons license, what are you allowed to do with the item?
    • Edit and produce a derivative work
    • Reproduce the work in whole or in part
    • Remix the work by combining it with other materials
    • Share a derivative version under a different license
    • Produce a commercial version of the work
  1. If the work is available under a Creative Commons license, which other CC licenses are compatible with it? Use the CC License Compatibility Chart to see how you can license your adaptation.
    • CC BY
    • CC BY SA
    • CC BY NC
    • CC BY NC SA
    • CC BY ND*
    • CC BY NC ND*

*Note: ND-licensed works are not technically considered OER

Adopt the open item

Now that you know what you can do with the item, change it! Adapt the item in some way that adds meaning or value to the work. For literature, consider adding footnotes or improving the readability of the text by adding headers and images. If you add images or figures, be sure to include alt text and to use colors that are accessible for those with colorblindness.

Attribute and Share

  1. Craft your attribution statement. This should include four parts: The item’s title, author, license, and a link to its original source. Additionally, you can provide an overview of how it was adapted (images being cropped or texts being updated for a new audience, for example). For additional support, you can use the Open Washington Attribution Builder


  2. Add your attribution statement and/or license to the new item. Creative Commons provides this handy Wiki to walk you through the technical aspects of that process.
  3. (Optional) Share what you’ve created! Post your new OER in a repository like OER Commons and consider tweeting it out with the hashtag #OERAuthor so we can share your work as well.

  1. Attribution: “Adaptation and Attribution Worksheet” by Stacy Katz and Abbey Elder is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

OER and Alternative Textbook Handbook Copyright © 2020 by Ariana Santiago is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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