Teaching Tip: Using Creative Commons

Creative CommonsEven if you’re not familiar with Creative Commons, chances are you’ve benefited from the licensing services it provides across the web to individuals and organizations such as Google, flickr, and Wikipedia.

The Creative Commons mission

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that, according to its mission statement, “develops, supports, and stewards legal and technical infrastructure that maximizes digital creativity, sharing, and innovation.” What does that mean? Let’s say one day you notice someone reading a magazine and the back cover has an advertisement that features a picture of a duck that you yourself took over a year ago and posted to your flickr account. You’re both flattered and frustrated — someone liked your picture enough to steal it, but you’re not getting any credit for it. This is where CC can help you out.


Creative Commons can apply six different license types to your work — whether it’s a picture of a duck, a scientific article or  a blog post — that will show users across the Internet how they can or cannot share, modify, commodify or in any other way use your work.

Why use Creative Commons?

You may well ask yourself, “Why would I bother sharing my work anyway? Isn’t it automatically copyrighted the moment I produce it?” As accessibility becomes a growing consideration, more and more creators — academic and otherwise — are looking to find reliable ways to share their work. Beyond more altruistic motivation, a Creative Commons license on your work (like a blog post or photograph) encourages users to share your work (because they don’t have to fear copyright infringement) and to credit you (since that’s part of the CC licensing agreement). The licensing process is also incredibly easy and free. Once you understand what license you want, it takes a few seconds to get an embed code that will accompany the work it represents anywhere you store it online.

Go to iTeachU for more ways you can use Creative Commons: http://elearning.uaf.edu/go/cc.

Teaching Tip by Brooke Sheridan, UAF eLearning instructional designer