Melinda Boland
Educational Technology
Material Type:
Career / Technical
How to Guide, ISKME Resources for Librarian-Teacher Collaboration, OER Commons Help, Open Author
Creative Commons Attribution

Importing a Google Doc to Create an Open Author Resource

Importing a Google Doc to Create an Open Author Resource


This resource will walk OER Commons users through the creation of an Open Author resource based on a Google Doc, which is imported using the integration tool.

Create a Resource with Import from Google Docs


Open Author offers the option to create and share resources by importing from Google Docs. We recommend using the Google Doc Import feature rather than adding a URL link to your Google Doc within an Open Author resource for a few different reasons: 

  • This feature makes it easy for educators to share resources they've built in Google Docs in a remixable format, with the added value of Open Author's powerful version tracking.
  • You needn't worry about the permissions associated with your Google Doc
  • You are on your way to becoming an OER Super Star by contributing your truely sharable and remixable resource!

Importing a Google Doc to Create a New Open Author Resource

Step 1: Finding Open Author

There are multiple access points for Open Author on OER Commons. Try clicking "Add OER" in the header menu for quick access to authoring.

Screenshot of Add OER menu on OER Commons

When you click "Open Author" you will be taken directly to a new, blank resource where you can begin authoring.

Step 2: Prepare your Google Doc for Import

Using Styles

If you use the “styles” dropdown in Google Docs, you will have a more successful experience importing your Google Doc.
Google Docs Style menu

Styles used when creating a Google Doc will be carried over into your Open Author resource.

Using Heading 2

Heading 2 will map to the Heading 1 level within Open Author. Using these headings will create a structure for your resource that will improve the user experience with screen readers and in understanding the priorities of the resource overall.




To ensure that your resource is accessible to visually impaired users, it’s important to make sure that you add an ARIA description to the photos and videos embedded into your resource. You can do this directl yin Google Docs or add this information after you have imported your content.




Once a resource is imported into Open Author, users are able to collaborate on them asynchronously. That is, users can edit resources but not at the same time. When users are in a Group together, they are able to collaborate on the drafts.


Collaborating in Real Time


If users seek to collaborate in real time, we encourage them to do this in Google Docs, then import the final resource once that work is completed.

Step 3: Prepare to Import your Google Doc

  • If you already have content in your Open Author resource you would like to keep, you will need to click the "Insert New Section" button at the bottom of the screen. If you do not click the "Insert New Section" button, the import will overwrite your existing content. You will not be able to use the "Undo" button to revert this change. 
  • If you are starting from a blank document, there is no need to click the "Insert New Section" button. 

Step 4: Import from Google Docs

Import from Google Docs link at the bottom of the Section

Once you've clicked "Import From Google Docs", you should see a pop up window appear. If you are logged in, your docs will be visible in the pop up window. If not, you will be asked to log into your Google account.

*If you have a pop up blocker enabled, you'll need to allow pop ups on OER Commons before you can select your doc.*

Once you have selected your Google Doc, you will see your Google Doc appear in the editing window. You may see some differences in the formatting. You can use the editor clean up formatting, and continue to further edit your resource structure, add images, and additional multimedia.

Publish Your Resource

Once you've imported your Google Doc and completed your formatting tweaks, it's time to run the accessibility checker. The accessibility checker will run through your resource to ensure you've made your resource as accessible as you can. When it's met your criteria, click "Publish" to be taken to the Describe screen. This is where you will add your metadata and license.