Open Content

Next Steps

Your Journey So Far

This module took you from vision to action as you developed a plan for incorporating open content in your course. You created two essential resources to guide your OER development process — your OER vision and your OER Course Plan. In the process, you embraced and practised the following elements of an open educator:

  • You have chosen to use open content — when possible and appropriate — with the aim to remove all unnecessary barriers to learning.

  • You searched for — and made use of — OER created and shared by others and you made a plan to add you own expertise to improve what’s already there.
  • You made a plan to adapt and create open content with inclusivity, diversity and accessibility in mind.
  • You realize that your content is continually evolving, so you leave room for this growth/change and are comfortable with your content existing in a perpetual state of evolution. *We will address this element in more depth on this page.

What Happens Next?

Now that you have a vision and an OER course plan, you can begin to develop (adopt, adapt and/or create) the content. The time investment involved in this part of the process depends entirely on the scope of your plan. Here are some things to consider and some resources that will support you as you embark on the development phase of your work.


As you are adapting, creating and co-creating content, here are some excellent resources to help guide your development process:

  • The Adaptation Guide is a practical reference about how to customize — or adapt — an open textbook so that it better fits your needs in the classroom and elsewhere. This guide defines the term adaptation and discusses reasons for revising a book, why this is possible with an open textbook and the challenges involved.[1]
  • The BCcampus Open Education Self-Publishing Guide is a reference for individuals or groups wanting to write and self-publish an open textbook. This guide provides details on the preparation, planning, writing, publication and maintenance of an open textbook. Copyright, open-copyright licences and the differences between citation and attribution are discussed — as well as the importance of copy editing and proofreading. Checklists and templates are also provided. [2]
  • A Guide to Making Open Textbooks with Students is a handbook for faculty interested in practicing open pedagogy by involving students in the making of open textbooks, ancillary materials, or other open educational resources. [3]


When you searched for existing OER material, you were guided by your OER vision and by certain evaluation criteria to ensure you were finding high quality, inclusive resources. Similarly, as you are developing your own OER (adopting, adapting, and/or creating), continue to refer back to your vision and the key evaluation criteria to ensure that your OER is capturing the components you want.

Peer Review

Do you remember the virtuous tornado concept we discussed in the inclusive design section? It described an iterative design process that encompasses multiple needs, perspectives and dimensions of diversity to create a more inclusive resource. Who can join your development process to add their additional, valuable perspective? Who can provide feedback on your open content to help make the final product more inclusive and accessible? Try to extend your reach beyond people you know or have worked with before. Actively seek out those whose expertise, experience and/or perspectives differ from your own.


Be sure that your work is eligible to be shared. In order to release your work with a Creative Commons (CC) licence — or in the public domain — your work should be cleared from all copyright issues. To do so, your work should be one or a combination of the following types:

  1. your original work;
  2. built from open resources;
  3. built from the public domain;
  4. built from copyrighted work that you obtained permission to use; or
  5. a combination of above works.

The next step involves choosing a licence for your OER. There is no single answer for which CC licence is the best one for your work. Before making your CC licence choice, it is important to remember why you are sharing your work — and what you hope others might do with it. It’s also critical to respect the copyright permissions associated with any CC-licensed work you are reusing and remixing. Creative Commons for Educators and Librarians (Chapter 4) is an excellent resource to consult. You can also consult a copyright librarian to help you decide.

This section is adapted from:

Module 8: Sharing OER by Open Washington is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Creative Commons for Educators and Librarians by Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 4.0



Open Communities Module

For additional information on sharing open resources, please visit our Open Communities module.

Openly licensing your work is a fabulous first step. But if nobody can find your work, they will never be able to benefit from it! Sharing within — and beyond — your institution and making your work discoverable is an essential next step. Share your OER in a repository that allows free and unfettered access. Depending on your resource, you can choose an open textbook repository such as:

Or you can share in a OER repository such as:


Some Final Thoughts

One Step at a Time

messy footprints in different directions in the sand
Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash


Reminder: you do not need to convert your entire course to open content all at once. It can be a slow and thoughtful process. Take one step at a time. Your steps might even look like the ones in this photo, and that’s OK!


Embrace “Not-Yet-Ness”

Amy Collier’s concept of “not-yet-ness” also calls on educators and students to “be brave” (Amy Collier, 2015). Trying things you’ve never tried before, sharing your thoughts and ideas before they are perfectly polished, being open to the diverse thoughts and opinions of others all take courage! 

“Not-yet-ness is not satisfying every condition, not fully understanding something, not check-listing everything, not tidying everything, not trying to solve every problem … but creating space for emergence to take us to new and unpredictable places, to help us better understand the problems we are trying to solve.” (Amy Collier, 2015)

We would like to encourage you to be brave, be open and put yourself — and your unfinished, unpolished thoughts — out there. Embrace the potential of content that is continually changing and evolving.  

Final Thought — Thinking Beyond Open Content

Open Design and Assessment

If this is an exciting proposition, please continue on to the “Open Design and Assessment” module of this resource.

If we think of OER as just free digital “stuff” — as products — we can surely lower costs for students; we might even help them pass more courses because they will have free, portable and permanent access to their learning materials. But we largely miss out on the opportunity to empower our students — to help them see content as something they can curate and create to help them see themselves as contributing members to the public marketplace of ideas. Essentially, this is a move from thinking about OER as open textbooks to thinking about them as opening textbooks — and all sorts of other educational materials and processes. When we think about OER as something we do, rather than something we find/adopt/acquire, we begin to tap into their full potential for learning.

From OER to Open Pedagogy: Harnessing the Power of Open by Robin DeRosa and Scott Robison is licensed under CC-BY 4.0


  1. Adaptation Guide by BCcampus is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.
  2. Self-Publishing Guide by BCcampus is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.
  3. A Guide to Making Open Textbooks with Students by Rebus Community is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Extending Into the Open Copyright © 2022 by Paula Demacio; Alissa Bigelow; Tricia Bonner; and Shauna Roch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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