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Open Educational Resources (OER): Adapt

How to Adapt an OER

Adapting OER means making changes to already existing OER material (Revise and Remix). You can edit the content so as to customize it to your needs (Revise) or finding other OER contents that you can combine and integrate with the original OER content (Remix). This is possible when an OER is released under a  Creative Commons license that gives users permission to reuse and edit a resource without requesting permission from the author.

Steps to adapt an OER:

Step 1. Find Existing OER Materials

Search for OERs that you can remix or combine into a new content. Use the course learning objectives to help focus your search. Make sure that you have permission to adapt the resources by identifying its licenses. If the resource has a Creative Commons license that does not include the No Derivative (ND) option, then you can make your changes freely. Customize the OER for your course, by removing irrelevant chapters or sections, adding new content, or reorganizing content to match how subject material is presented in your course. You may find sources from the list in the previous page--Adopt

Step 2. Determine Adaption Needs and Identify Editability/File Formats

  • To make changes to an OER, you will need a copy of the resource in an editable file format. Formats might include Pressbooks or WordPress files (.xml or .wxr), HTML files, Word documents, simple text files, EPUB, or LaTeX files. If the files are not freely available, consider contacting the author. See the Rebus Adaptation Guide for a list of formats and editability.
  • Add different media, charts, illustrations, graphs, or links to other resources
  • Create supplementary content for a resource, such as exercises
  • Update the resource with current information

Possible OER editing tools


Step 3. Make Adaptations to the OER

Organize your OER to align within learning objectives, then determine the format and access to the OER. Look for an open license

Creative Commons License Creative Commons License Creative Commons License Creative Commons License

See the BCcampus Adaptation Guide for specific considerations relating to adapting a restricted textbook with permission.


Step 4: Curriculum Approval 

When you have adopted or adapted an OER it should go through an evaluation process before use by students.  

Track Changes

Consider keeping a list of the changes you make to the OER. Track the content that you add to the OER so that you can be properly credited for your contributions. If you add content from other openly licensed material, make sure you note the source so that you can include the appropriate attribution statements.

Include an Adaptation Statement

If you are adapting an OER that was released under a license that requires attribution, then you must acknowledge the author of the original work, the copyright holder, the license of the original work, and what substantive changes were made. Consider including an adaptation statement with your work, which will provide the reader with this information. To see some example adaptation statements, see the BCcampus Adaptation Guide.

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