Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Open Educational Resources (OER): Creative Commons

This guide offers ideas and resources for faculty interested in locating, adapting, or creating fully open learning materials as well as freely accessible and lower-cost textbooks and learning resources.

What is Creative Commons?

Creative Commons is a non-profit organization which created licenses that help you easily license your works to the specifications you want. These licenses tell users what they can do with the material. These licenses are useful for BOTH the creator AND the user (or re-user)! 

Creative Commons is also a place to search for content you can reuse.

Types of Creative Commons Licenses

As a creator you can select a Creative Commons license to place on the material you create to let users know exactly how they may use the material.

As a user you'll be able to easily see from a  Creative Commons license just what you can do with the material, in terms of sharing, adapting, etc.. If there is not a license, it's best to reach out to the creator to ask how or if you can reuse the material. Creator attribution is usually the minimum expected. Learn more about attribution in the Best Practices for attribution link to the right.

Licenses on materials can appear as icons, buttons, or descriptive phrases, such as these examples:


Creative Commons Icon


By Button from Creative Commons

Descriptive Phrases

"Dog in Snow” by John Doe is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0. 

Title should link to the source of the material (where you found it for reuse), author's name should link to their online profile (if available), and the license should link to the license deed.*

This work is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

*A license deed explains how you can reuse material. and can be found in the Creative Commons About the Licenses linked below.

Creative Commons Licenses

See the source image

Creative Commons licensing help chart from Foter. (CC BY-SA 3.0)