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We have created the following guide to help direct Iona faculty to open access resources and to low-cost e-textbooks.  We will follow up by offering workshops and tutorials for faculty to aid in utilizing any such resources they chose.  
Please note that this sector is new and consistently changing.  Please check back frequently for updates.

What Are Open Educational Resources?

The Definition of Open Educational Resources

Open educational resources (OER) are free and openly licensed educational materials that can be used for teaching, learning, research, and other purposes.

Source: Creative Commons

Defining the "Open" in Open Content

Retain - the right to make, own, and control copies of the content, Reuse - the right to use the content in a wide range of ways, Revise - the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself, Remix - the right to combine the original or revised content with other material to create something new, Redistribute - the right to share copies of the original content



One of the biggest challenges of open, online teaching is maintaining compliance with copyright protections.  While many of the activities of hybrid education fall under the umbrella of Fair Use, or are protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, these statutes do not allow for all the activities necessary to create a compelling hybrid, digital learning, flipped-classroom or MOOC environment - mainly that of providing good resources to disparate students in an efficient, cost-effective manner.

If you stick to using the resources suggested in this guide you should not have to worry about copyright compliance, but do not be fooled into thinking you do not have to worry, then, about copyright.  We live in a very litigious society and the more you know the better.

Please review the Copyright & Fair Use LibGuide for more information and resources on the subject.

What is Creative Commons?

All Creative Commons (CC) licenses help creators retain copyright while allowing others to copy, distribute, and make some uses of their work non-commercially. Every Creative Commons license also ensures creators get the credit for their work. The licenses are essential to move forward the initiative of open educational resources

Creative Commons Licenses
License What It Offers
  • This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon work, even commercially, as long as they credit the creator for the original. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered designed for maximum dissemination.
  • This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to the creator.
  • This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon work non-commercially, as long as they credit the original creator and license their new creations under the identical terms.
  • This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon the original work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit the original creator and license their new creations under the identical terms.
  • This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon the original work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge the original creator and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.
  • This license is the most restrictive of the six main licenses, only allowing others to download original works and share them with others as long as they credit the creator, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.

1100 Free Online Courses

Open Culture curated a list of free online courses from university to include Stanford, Yale, MIT, Harvard, Berkeley, Oxford and more. You can download these multimedia courses from iTunes and other platforms and include or embed into your Blackboard sites.

Creative Commons (CC) Search (Image Search)

Creative Commons (CC) Search aggregates images from publicly available repositories of open content. These repositories include: New York Public Library, Flickr, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Visual Hunt

Visual Hunt offers high quality free stock photos. 


The reason why Visual Hunt provides over 350 million high-quality photos is, that the service collects the best images from creative-common, and public-domain websites on the internet. Don’t worry, the service doesn’t accumulate the material from random sources. Instead, it focuses on sources like Flickr, and other services with a good reputation and quality." Source:


Search for Creative Commons Licensed Media

Enter your search query:

use for commercial purposes;
modify, adapt, or build upon.

Search using:

You should always verify that the work is actually under a CC license by following the link. Since there is no registration to use a CC license, CC has no way to determine what has and hasn't been placed under the terms of a CC license. If you are in doubt you should contact the copyright holder directly. 


With a license that allows for the legal remixing, sharing and reusing content, quality standards consistently need to be applied. UNESCO has recommended guidelines for use in higher education. These Guidelines outline key issues and make suggestions for integrating OER.

Read the Guidelines for Open Educational Resources (OER) in Higher Education published by UNESCO »

Open Access Resource Center

Copyright Clearance Center, Inc. (CCC), a not-for-profit organization creating global licensing and content solutions that make copyright work for everyone, has launched an Open Access Resource Center in partnership with the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP).

Check the site frequently for updates on legislation and to find new open access content.

Budapest Open Access Initiative and DOAJ

The Budapest Open Access Initiative was developed in response for the need for scientific, peer-reviewed research to be made available and freely on the open Internet, which is typically publicly funded. Open access journals, as defined by this initiative, allow readers to "read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to full text of these articles." 

The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is one such directory that subscribes to this model and its aim  "is to increase the visibility and ease of use of open access scientific and scholarly journals, thereby promoting their increased usage and impact. The DOAJ aims to be comprehensive and cover all open access scientific and scholarly journals that use a quality control system to guarantee the content." 

Search for peer-reviewed journal articles in the DOAJ »