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Collaborating on Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs): Using open-access resources

A guide for academics on using library expertise and resources to enhance their MOOCs

Using open-access resources

There are many freely accessible, reusable and open-access resources available for education. By using these materials, you can simplify copyright and permissions issues. This gives you more flexibility in promoting, disseminating and reusing MOOC content.

For open-access resources appropriate for your MOOC, contact your subject librarian .

Using Creative Commons materials

Creative Commons (CC) licensed material can be a useful source of images, music or text for your MOOC.

You can find this by searching online under 'Creative Commons' or checking whether there is a link or Creative Commons licence button on the material you want to use.

There are six main licence types :

Creative Commons licence types

You cannot use material that is marked as 'non-commercial use' or CC-BY-NC in MOOCs because MOOCs do have a commercial component.

All Creative Commons licences require attribution. Best practice attribution is:

"Name of material" by name of creator is licensed under CC BY 4.0 (or which licence chosen).

If you have any questions about using Creative Commons material please contact the copyright adviser .

Searching for creative commons material

For tips on searching see where to find Creative Commons licensed material and searching for Creative Commons material .

To search Creative Commons own image search (over 9 million images) see Creative Commons search .

You can modify the Google and other search engines to look for creative commons material only. If you go to advanced search ( you can set a filter for reuse. Go to the bottom of the page to 'usage rights' and change it to the type of use you want. For example ''Free to use, share or modify" would be appropriate if you are changing the work, 'free to use, even commercially' would be appropriate if you want to use the material for promotion or short courses.

You can limit a Google image search to Creative Commons images only by selecting "Tools" then "Usage Rights" and choosing one of four options:

  • 'Labeled for reuse', 'Labeled for reuse with modification', 'Labeled for non-commercial reuse' and 'Labeled for non-commercial reuse with modification' 
  • 'Non-commercial reuse' would apply to classes at Monash and 'with modification' if you plan on altering the image.

Screenshot of Google image search results page with usage rights filter drop-down open