Schools increasingly work with and rely on digital and web-based materials – so understanding how copyright works, and making the most of resources, is essential for staff and schools. Using and creating open educational resources (OER) enables schools to connect and collaborate with others through sharing work. Sharing can can also help promote the great work that school staff and schools are doing.
Open Educational Resources (OER) are learning materials (including presentations, revision guides, lesson plans) that have been released under an open licence, so that anyone can use, share and build on them for free. Many openly licensed resources are available for schools to use and develop – but many schools are not familiar with open licensing and OER. These resources are designed to enable school authorities, districts, trusts, and individual schools get the most out of open education. They have already been adopted and adapted by people working in a range of sectors – including further and higher education, and adult education. They are released under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence, which means you are free to share and adapt the materials, as long as you provide appropriate credit. Information about how to credit material is provided on each document.
OER Policies – for authorities, districts, trusts, and individual schools
By default, the rights of work created in the line of employment are assigned to the employer, unless a specific agreement has been made. Leicester City Council is the first local authority in Europe to give blanket permission to employees at 84 community and voluntary controlled schools across the city to create open educational resources (OER), by sharing the learning materials they create under an open licence. This permission makes sharing resources simpler for everyone at these schools, and helps raise awareness of issues relating to intellectual property, including copyright and OER.
Giving permission for school employees to openly licensing digital resources incurs no additional cost to the employer or to the school, but provides a wide range of benefits. These include:
- Supporting digital literacy – especially in relation to copyright education and practice, and working with and creating digital resources.
- Making publicly funded works available for public benefit.
- Communicating intent – supporting open licensing sends a clear, positive message in support of access to knowledge for all.
- Capacity building – the creation and use of openly licensed resources can promote the development of connections and collaboration and the sharing of expertise across professional communities.
- Strategic planning for the use of technology to support education – open licensing policies enable staff working across institutions to take advantage of the affordances of technology through collaborative working, without having to seek multiple permissions for single projects. For example, the production of e-text books that are produced, updated and shared by staff from multiple intuitions; the collaborative creation and management of online courses to support learners unable to attend schools physically, or to support differentiation, or to enhance on site learning.
This document provides permission from the authority for employees to openly license educational materials created in the line of their work. This document can be used by authorities, districts or trusts to implement their own permission:
This document answers frequently asked questions about why an employer is implementing an open licensing policy, and what the benefits for employers and employees are:
- OER School Briefing 2016 (Word)
- OER School Briefing 2016 (PDF)
This document provides a template for schools who have been given permission to openly license educational resources by their employer (for example, a local or district authority):
- OER School Model Policy – Community and VC 2016 (Word)
- OER School Model Policy – Community and VC 2016 (PDF)
This document provides a template for schools whose employer is local – for example, in the case of academy schools or voluntary aided schools, where their governing body is the employer:
- OER School Model Policy – VA, Foundation and Academy 2016 (Word)
- OER School Model Policy – VA, Foundation and Academy 2016 (PDF)
OER Guidance for Schools
Leicester City Council released a range of resources to support school staff digital literacy, and to help schools get the most out of open licensing and open educational resources.
The pack consists of four key guidance documents, and a range of supporting materials.
- G1 Open Education and the Schools Sector January 2015 (PDF) Introducing OER, open education, OER freedoms, and benefits of OER to schools.
- G2 Understanding Open Licensing January 2015 (PDF) Copyright, fair dealing, different types of Creative Commons licences, and the public domain.
- G3 Finding and Remixing Openly Licensed Resources January 2015 (PDF) How to find OER, how to attribute them, and how to create new resources legally by building on existing work that has been shared under a Creative Commons licence.
- G4 Openly Licensing and Sharing your Resources January 2015 (PDF) OER school policies and processes, how to applying an open licence to your work, and ways of sharing your openly licensed resources.
You can also download the guidance as a single, print ready version:
Alongside the four guidance documents, there are six supporting additional resources, which include workshop activities, and step-by-step walkthroughs to help staff find, use and make open educational resources. You can download zip file packs containing all of the resources (the guidance plus supporting documents) here, in the version that suits you best:
- OER Guidance for Schools Resource Pack (2015) – a zip file containing PDF documents. The documents are provided with graphic design, but, like all PDF, can’t be edited easily. These documents are great if you want to use or share the resources as they are.
If you are wanting to edit the documents, for example to create your own versions, you can download an editable version. These are provided in zip files containing Word and OpenDocument text documents. These versions are not as attractive as the PDF versions, and are provided without the graphic design. All text and images are included. These are best for editing.
- OER Guidance for Schools editable resource pack WORD (2015)– a zip file containing word documents.
- OER Guidance for Schools editable resource pack ODT (2015) – a zip file containing OpenDocument text files.
Additionally, the supporting documents draw on a range of existing open educational resources and openly licensed information. These can be found online by following the links provided in the documents. For convenience (for example, if you want to run an OER workshop) they can also be downloaded in a zip file here:
A zip file with the InDesign files and other graphic files is also available for staff and schools who would like to make use of these
All of the original resources provided are released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence (CC BY 4.0) so that they can be shared and adapted openly, as long as attribution is given. All other resources included are available under their respective licences.