Open education


Create and Share Open Educational Resources

Turning a resource into an OER is very worthwhile, but it's important that you consider the following best practice advice to get the best out of your work.

Creating your resource

Content preparation

The aim of an OER is for it to be portable and re-usable. It is important to make sure the file type, size, and formatting are fully accessible and adaptable. For example, open document formats (ODF) are open, accessible, and adaptable file formats and can be used for this purpose.

Further information can be found on the UCL Research Data Management 'Choosing file formats' webpage.

Summary of file types for different resources
Resource typeExample file types
Text filesODT, RTF, PDF, PDF/A
Tabular informationCSV
DatabasesXML, CSV
VideoMPEG4, WebM

Rights clearance process

This involves identifying who owns the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) behind or within a resource. You need to know this to determine whether you can legally make the resource open. You must get the author/rights owner's permission to release anything to which you do not own the rights. For example, if you use a photograph you have found on the Internet which does not belong to you (third-party content), you must seek permission for reuse or remove it from your resource pack.

Open Licensing

Decide how open you wish your resource to be and then select the corresponding licence to give access while preserving the author's rights. Creative Commons (CC) licences are a specific type of open licence, used commonly with OER, which allow you to share resources for free. More information, and the opportunity to generate and download CC licences, can be found on the Creative Commons website. The licence should be embedded within the resource so that users can see the terms on which they can make use of the resource.


For users to find resources online, and to understand the resource fully, it is vital to include good quality and relevant metadata. This includes basic information about the resource, such as the author's name, the date the resource was created, keywords, but also the educational context in which the resource was created, the processes that were undertaken and where/how it has previously been used. Further information can be found on the UCL Research Data Management ‘Creating and analysing data’ webpage.

Sharing your resource

Once you have created your OER, there are a number of ways to share them. They are commonly broken into three categories:

  1. Repositories: Upload your content to a repository. A high quality repository is a great way to share your OER and its metadata. UCL hosts its OER content on the OpenEd@UCL repository. A repository you choose should be high-quality, indexed by search engines like Google, and provide your resource with a unique identifier, ideally a DOI.
  2. Social media: Once your content is uploaded to your chosen repository, you can share it on social media which has the potential to draw a much larger audience to your resources.
  3. Other websites: There are many sites that can be used to share resources, and often they specialise in different types or on a particular theme or of a particular type (e.g. video, photographs). Understanding where your audience will most likely go to look for your content will help choose where to upload it.

We would recommend uploading your resource somewhere that you are confident will have longevity and provide an identifier, like a repository, and then promote it using social media and other websites to link back to a set location. This will enable the resource to collect citations and download data consistently using that identifier.