#GoOpenVA Administrator
Professional Learning
Material Type:
Visual Media
Graduate / Professional
#goopenva, Adapt, Adapting, Attribution, Customize, Customizing, Edit, Editing, Oer, Openauthor, PD, Remix, Remixing, VDOEResource
Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
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Education Standards




Anyone who is customizing resources, or remixing as it is often called, should read these rules and notes to ensure they do the correct things when remixing.  Following these rules will make your customized resources much more usable for other educators, and that is what #GoOpenVA is all about!. And the various notes probably answer questions that have already occured to you, so definitely read them all.



PRIMARY RULE: No OER is ever completed.  It can always be changed!

COROLLARY: No OER is ever perfect for every teacher


Customizing a resource (or remixing, adapting, editing): What does it mean?

When you customize a resource, you are taking an idea that someone else had and making it work best for your students.  You may be building on the original idea, or you may be subtracting from it to make it simpler.  Something in that original resource sparked your own creativity.  Now it is your turn to pass that along—re-share your customized resource so that other educators with similar students can find it!


Here are some examples of why you might want to customize a lesson:

  • You found a cool lesson idea from an old site, but some of the links aren’t working anymore.  You can take the lesson idea and add new links.
  • A resource specifies the use of a particular technology, but your students don’t have that technology.  However, you have a way to adapt it to use a different technology, or even none at all.
  • A student handout for the lesson is written in English and you need to have it also in Vietnamese.
  • A few of your students need graphics to explain a concept whereas the original only has text.
  • You found a great unit, but really only need one lesson out of the unit and you need to change it to incorporate shortened versions of concepts that are covered in the rest of the unit.
  • You found two or more great lesson ideas that really complement each other and which you can mesh together to create a really cool project for your students.
  • There is a nice lesson but it is rather traditional.  You want to add a couple of new activities that would make it more engaging for your students.



TWO TYPES OF RESOURCES: There are two types of resources on #GoOpenVA, based on how they are included in the system.  Resources that are stored on a different website owned by their creators are inlucded in the system as links.  When you click on the resource you are sent to that other website and will see the resource in the format used by that particular site.  To remix these resources, you will need to download or copy-and-paste into a word processing document.  You use your local computer software to edit these resources, and then you load them back on to #GoOpenVA using the Open Author editor. It will be helpful to your fellow educators if you note at the beginning or by using a different font any changes your made to the original resource if you copy and paste the whole text of the resource.

TITLE: When you do a remix of a resource created using Open Author by clicking on the Remix button, the editor keeps the title of the original resource.  Make sure you change this by adding “Remix” on the end of the Title. Even if you upload a remixed resource into Open Author, it won’t hurt to title it using the term “Remix.”  This lets other educators know that you’ve personalized a lesson or resource for your students and that they can look at other versions of the lesson to find their own best use.

MENTOR VOICE: As when creating and uploading your own resource, make sure that you use your mentor voice.  Assume that the educator reading your resource doesn’t know as much as you do about either your topic or good teaching practices.  Provide not just the lesson idea or plan, but also explain why you do certain activities a certain way.  What are the benefits for students when you approach the topic this way rather than another way?  Make sure your resource reflects what your experiences with students have shown and include how you would work with your students with this resource (though this doesn’t need to be a step-by-step explanation).  Yes, it is just your individual experience, but other educators with other experiences will add their own “customization” to the lesson, so in the end we end up with lots of different experiences giving us all great insights.

CHECK OUT LICENSING: If you find a lesson idea you want to use from a different site, you must be absolutely sure that it is openly licensed for REMIXING and RESHARING, not just for using in the classroom.  Many free resources allow you to use the resource in your classroom and even adapt it for your students, but if they don’t allow you to RESHARE it by posting it electronically, then you cannot use it for #GoOpenVA.  Obviously, you should never post anything that is not openly licensed on #GoOpenVA as a resource.

ATTRIBUTION:  All openly-licensed resources should be attributed to the creator of the original resource.  If a resource has been added to the system using Open Author, attribution will be automatic.  However, if you download the resource, you will need to ensure that you include an attribution statement to give credit where credit is due. Learn more about Attribution.

LINKING TO A NON-OER:  If you need to link to a resource that is not openly licensed for remixing, or re-sharing, then you can do so within the context of your own lesson idea (which IS remixable). Your resource cannot be made up of ONLY a link to the non-OER resource; it must be embedded as just one part of your own resource.   When you link to this resource, please note to your fellow educators that this resource is not openly-licensed and may not be edited just before you provide the link. This will keep everyone from being confused about what they can and cannot edit!