Creating content

Creating content

Open Educational Resources (OERs) are digital materials that are made available online to be used or re-purposed for teaching, learning and research. They can include images, audio, video, animations, content modules and other digital resources.

If you create high quality original learning and teaching resources then you can choose to share them with the world by making them OERs. This involves uploading your resources to an online repository and attaching a legally binding licence to tell users what they can and cannot do with your work. Creating OERs allows you to:

  • Showcase your expertise in a particular subject area
  • Share teaching resources with your peers and with the world
  • Improve the quality of the student learning experience
  • Contribute to the GCU blended learning strategy

Creative Commons licensing

When content is created copyright on it is automatically assigned under UK law. The creator doesn't need to use the copyright symbol or assert their rights as creator. The fact that they have given the idea a fixed form means that they own the copyright. You can’t ignore copyright when reusing resources, but you can ensure you stay legal by only using licensed content.

The Creative Commons (CC) licensing movement was set up to enable creators to specify how they would like their content to be used. CC licences are legally binding and internationally recognised, ensuring that your work is protected when you make it available online. CC licences are made up of five main components which can be combined to specify how you would like your resource to be used.

  • CC = Creative Commons - Signifies a legally binding Creative Commons licence
  • BY = Attribution - Users must cite the original source when reusing your content
  • ND = No Derivatives - Users must not alter or change your content when reusing it
  • SA = Share Alike - Users must license any new resource under the same terms when reusing your content
  • NC = Non-Commercial - Users must not make commercial gain from any new resource when reusing your content

Several of these elements can be combined to produce a legally binding CC licence. Here are some common examples:

  • CC-BY CC-BY lets users distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you as the creator
  • CC-BY-SA CC-BY-SA lets users distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you as the creator and license any new creations under identical terms
  • CC-BY-ND CC-BY-ND allows redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as the content is passed along unchanged and you are credited as the creator
  • CC-BY-NC CC-BY-NC lets users distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon a work non-commercially, as long as they credit you as the creator

CC0 Public domain licence

CC0 There is one CC licence that we have not yet mentioned. CC0, or a public domain licence, lets you place your content in the public domain so that others may freely build upon, enhance and reuse your work for any purpose without any restrictions. This means that users don’t need to give credit to you as the creator when they reuse your work and that they can alter it freely. GCU does not recommend the use of CC0 licences when creating OERs.

Guidance on creating OERs

GCU staff use a wide range of self-generated teaching materials to support high quality teaching, including teaching notes, handouts, audio, video, images, animations and others. Staff who wish to create and publish these resources as Open Educational Resources (OERs) should use the following guidance:

  • GCU encourages staff to create and publish OERs to enhance the quality of the student experience, provided that the resources created are fit-for-purpose and relevant.
  • Staff should clearly identify themselves as the creator(s) of an OER by adding their names to the resource and, when publishing an OER, to any associated metadata. This allows those reusing the OER to clearly attribute the creator(s).
  • Staff should clearly identify their affiliation by adding it to the resource and, when publishing an OER, to any associated metadata. For example: 
    John Smith, Glasgow Caledonian University.
  • Staff should ensure that they are legally allowed to reuse any third party content within their OERs by complying with the terms of the licence of use on such third party content. For more information please visit our reusing content page.
  • It is expected that OERs created and published by staff will normally be single units (learning objects) or small collections (such as podcast episodes or small collections of images) rather than whole courses.
  • If you are creating a whole course, such as a MOOC, then you should consult your Head of School, Department or Service as they may wish to restrict publication based on the protection of GCU’s commercial interests.
  • All OERs created should where possible comply with the GCU accessibility guidance.
  • It is the responsibility of staff to ensure that they have the necessary rights to publish an OER.
  • GCU suggests staff publish OERs using a CC-BY Creative Commons attribution licence. Other Creative Commons licences may be used if staff feel this is necessary or appropriate for their particular resource, or to comply with the licence terms of any third party content used in the resource.
  • If possible OERs should include GCU branding. Templates and advice are available from the Marketing and Communications Department. 

Where students produce OERs as part of their programme of study or within a staff-directed project, these guidelines should be followed and a procedure for staff checking of OERs should put in place before external publication.

For further advice and guidance please email or call the library’s Digital Development team on 0141 273 1249.

Read the full GCU interim OER policy.

Publishing OERs

We recommend that all Open Educational Resources (OERs) be deposited in edShare@GCU, the University’s educational resources repository and, if mandated or desired, an external multimedia repository.

edShare@GCU is a repository for the GCU community. It allows staff to store, share and preserve a wide variety of learning and teaching materials in one central location. Staff can upload and manage their own resources and have the option to share them openly on the internet, with all members of the University, or with a select group of students or staff. The repository accepts any permanent resources created by GCU staff and provides a point of contact for copyright and intellectual property rights (IPR) advice within the GCU community. More information is available on the edShare web page and for queries or training requests please contact the library’s edShare team at

We encourage staff to collect data on the usage of their OERs by students and external institutions for quality assurance mechanisms (such as module or programme review). Collection of this data may aid staff recognition, reward and progression. Both Jorum and edShare@GCU have in-built statistics functions.

Read the full GCU interim OER policy.

Creative Commons Licence
SMILE by Imperial College, Loughborough University and the University of Worcester, modified by Marion Kelt Glasgow Caledonian University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.