Our project relies heavily on UCT staff and students adopting a Creative Commons (CC) or similar open licensing culture.  Read the “Beauty of Some Right Reserved” by Molly Kleinman for some background on what that may mean for higher education institutions.

So far we have been able to confirm that a CC license is a simple, yet powerful way to share whilst allowing the creator to maintain rights and gain credit for the content.  Of the two resources we have so far published to the OER Commons, the first was published with a CC license in mind, and the second was happy to adopt.  (Latter is still pendng review)

I believe the best way to sway people to adopt such a philosophy is to help them see how it can also benefit them and their work.  Today we are going to look at how we can find and use other people’s CC licensed work to our advantage.

CC licensed material comes in many flavours including text, documents, images, webpages, audio, and video.  We have all been there before; looking for an image to compliment a presentation or text, and not knowing where to start looking or what our rights are.

Familiarizing ourselves a little with CC licenses will help us to know what we can use a particular item for.

Source: Hodgkinson-Williams, CA, & Gray, E (2008) Degrees of Openness: The Emergence of OER at UCT.  Centre for Educational Technology, University of Cape Town

CC licenses have one thing in common, they all require attribution.  So the owner shall always be credited for the original works.  Thereafter increased degrees of protection can be tacked on limiting others ability to further share the work, change or adapt the content, and use it for commercial purposes.

We now have Creative Commons search engines which enable us to find content based on license terms.  When you add a CC license to your work, webpage, etc you also stamp it with a machine readable code which search engines can use to identify the license.

There are a number of independent repositories on the web.  Many of them are specific to the type of media offered, ie. Audio (ccMixter.org), video (lulu.tv)  See here for a comprehensive list.

One can also use the search engine available on the CC website.  Here the user can specify which engine they want to use to do the search ie. Google, Flickr, Youtube, etc.  I am going to do a search for “Occupational Therapy” as I recently had a colleague in to inquire about OER resources in this field.  We will use the standard google search.


We are searching for CC content that we can modify, adapt, or build upon. Ideally this would be for use in the classroom.  I just had a thought, would classroom use be considered a commercial venture?  The student is paying for the classroom experience right?  I have to assume this would not be a problem, considering the goals of the OA movement, but maybe someone can clarify this.

There are a number of excellent web resources that come up using the Google search.  Many of them actually linked to Open Educational Resources (OER) that I was unable to find yesterday when searching via the OER Commons, or a basic google search.


I did have some problems using Google Image search.  I found that a number of the images that came up were actually copyright protected.  I found image search much more consistent when using the Flickr tab.  Flickr asks about permissions for each image that is uploaded to the site.  So you can usually be sure things will be quite clearly defined.


Now that we have found some CC licensed journals and images about occupational therapy we can begin integrating them into our own course material.  They may be used to support my own teaching material or offer new perspectives on industry concepts.

Coming Soon: How to properly cite Creative Commons material.

How Does This Impact  Our OER Project
Not all CC licensed work is necessarily categorized or archived as an OER.  And not all OER material is necessarily coming up in our CC specific searches!!!

Finding Creative Commons Resources

CC BY 4.0 Finding Creative Commons Resources by Michael Paskevicius is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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