Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions


Who are we and why did we develop Open Author?

Open Author is a project of ISKME, a non-profit and leader in the field of open education. One of our projects is OER Commons, an award-winning library of open educational resources (OER). In OER Commons, we bring together the world’s finest open educational resources for teaching and learning. Open Author is a new tool in OER Commons and supports the teacher as professional and creator, providing an environment where educational resources can now be freely accessed and remixed to support an array of learning needs and diverse instructional contexts. We’re really excited about the potential of Open Author to support educators to build strong learning opportunities.

When I search OER Commons, how do I find Open Author resources?

You can search for Open Author resources in OER Commons with the Open Author resources filter on the Advanced Search page. All Open Author resources are also identified with the Open Author logo.

Using Open Author Resources

What is the ‘Make a Copy’ feature

The option to Make a Copy will appear on Open Author resources that have been given use licenses that allow for their editing and remixing. You may use this option to copy an Open Author resource to edit for your unique educational context. The option to make a copy will not appear on resources that do not have these permissions, so you do not need to worry about violating copyright laws when you use the make a copy feature.

May I translate an Open Author resource to another language?

Yes, we encourage educators to use the ‘Make a Copy’ feature to translate a resource in Open Author to another language. If you do this, you will be providing the resource to an entirely new group of users! Be sure to tag your resource with the new language on the Describe screen so that others can find it when they search by Language.

How do I export a resource from Open Author?

Open Author resources, and all of their related media files, may be exported using the ‘download teaching bundle’ feature. This allows you to use Open Author resources in other environments, such as for presentations or in a local content management system (CMS).

Creating Open Author Resources

Why do I have to register to use Open Author?

You do not need to register to use OER Commons, but only users who are registered and logged into OER Commons can create resources in Open Author. This ensures that those who create resources with Open Author are part of the OER Commons community and that we aren’t spammed with inappropriate content.

How do I contribute to an Open Author resource?

After you log in to OER Commons, you can immediately start using Open Author. Select Contribute on the homepage toolbar to find Open Author and get started.

What types of media can I embed in Open Author?

You may upload videos, images, documents, slide presentations, and audio files into Open Author. Additionally, Open Author is built to handle videos straight from YouTube and TeacherTube, as well as pictures from Flickr. Just copy the link to video or picture hosted on one of those sites and paste it into the media upload tool - the media will display inside of your resource! Note: only upload media that you have permission to reuse.

For more detail, please see Adding Media

I see a reference to a resource I copied in the footer of my resource. What does this mean?

Resources in Open Author that are copied and remixed automatically include a history of the resource in the footer of the page. This allows Open Author users to understand the original context of the resource and gives attribution to the original creator.

Why do I need to tag/describe my resources?

You will be asked to tag your resource with several descriptors on the Open Author Describe screen. These descriptors include: a brief abstract that will appear in OER Commons, your learning goals, as well as the subject, keywords, grade, language, and learning resource type. Describing your resource is an important step because our system searches over these descriptors to find resources for users. The better you describe your resource, the more ‘discoverable’ it is for other educators. A poorly described resource is ‘undiscoverable.’

Do I have to tag my resource with a Common Core State Standard?

You do not need to add a standards tag to your resource, unless it is designed to teach or learn that standard. The tool for adding standards tags on a resource is on the Open Author Describe screen. Once Common Core State Standards-aligned resources are tagged with this tool, they will be easily discovered by other educators when they search in OER Commons for standards-aligned resources.

Why can’t I change the license on a resource I’ve published?

Before you publish, you will be guided through a process in Open Author to select the type of license you wish to put on your resource. After your OER is published, other users may immediately begin using it. A change in the license would impact other users who have remixed your resource for their teaching needs. More about open licenses.

How does the system review resources?

Our system is built to identify resources that contain profanity, commercial advertisements, or do not contain significant content. These resources are removed from OER Commons. and are marked with a warning message in the user’s Published Items folder in ‘My OER’ so that the user can continue editing. If you find that our system targets and removes a resource you have published and you would like us to review it, contact us at

Why should I complete my profile?

Completing your user profile will help other educators understand your experience and knowledge and build the OER Commons community. You can also add links to social media like Twitter and Facebook to allow interested readers to follow you online.

Can I brand an entire set of resources for my organization?

Yes, contact us at if you are creating a set of resources for your organization and you would like to know more about how to add your logo and organization information to create a uniform look for your set of resources.