As can be learned in the Course Design Philosophy section of our resource center, Saylor Academy’s free online courses are specifically designed to match the learning outcomes and provide the content that would accompany their traditional counterparts in the higher education sphere. Therefore, they could very well be redistributed as is, with minimal effort taken.

However, for those of you who would like to adopt a Saylor Academy course as a base component, but also customize it, there are some things to remember, and best practices to follow:

1) What Can you Revise from a Saylor Academy Course?

Most any part of a Saylor Academy course that was actually created by Saylor Academy is licensed as CC-BY. That means any of those pieces can be revised and redistributed. The pieces of a Saylor course which are CC-BY are:

  • Course Name
  • Course Introduction
  • Course Syllabus*
  • Course Learning Outcomes
  • Course Outline
    • Unit Names
    • Unit Descriptions
    • Unit Time Advisories
    • Unit Learning Outcomes
    • Overall Structure/Layout of a course
    • Written instructions that accompany unit resource boxes (i.e. “framing notes”)
    • Individual pieces of content linked to from a resource box, which have been created by Saylor Academy (Could be readings, videos, activities, assessments**, or other educational materials)

* Some course syllabi do make use of logos from our own partner institutions, which have been reused by Saylor with specific permission. Any non-saylor logo found on our site should be considered the intellectual property or trademark of the original owner.

** Final exam items (the questions and answers that comprise our exam “banks” and/or an individual exam attempt) are not licensed for reuse. See our licensing information page for details.

2) How Can you Identify/Use Non-Saylor Resources?

Pieces of content linked to from a resource box which are not original Saylor Academy content, will have their own specific license and terms of use, and are identified as such in the terms of use section of the individual course. These can be:

  • Other CC-BY or Public Domain materials – which anyone can reuse, redistribute, revise and remix (the 4Rs);
  • various other Creative Commons/GNU/openly licensed materials – which have different use rights based on the applicable license and the individual or organization’s purposes for using them;
  • copyrighted content that Saylor Academy has received specific permission from the copyright holder to be able to host – in which case you would have to link to the copyright holder’s original version, Saylor’s version, or seek permission to host that material yourself.

Many of the resources that Saylor makes use of, but doesn’t own the license for, have been converted to host on our servers, or our Foundation YouTube page. Proper attribution has been given to these, to easily allow users to adopt either our version, or the original.

Resources linked to from our courses that do not appear on a course’s terms of use section with specific licensing information can be assumed to be copyrighted, and you should consult the original work to determine the terms of use.

3) Replacing and/or Adding Content to a Saylor Academy Course

If you do plan to replace or add new content to an existing Saylor course, it is strongly advised that you do so with existing openly licensed content.

Alternatively, this is a great opportunity to create your own original content for a course, or incorporate your own existing copyrighted educational materials, and subsequently license those content pieces under an open license.

There are a number of benefits to maintaining the Openly Licensed integrity of a course adopted from Saylor Academy; including greater potential to have your version adopted and used by others, and the opportunity to have your updates and revisions folded back into the original course on the Saylor Academy site.

4) Additional Notes

a) Generally speaking, if a piece of content is currently being hosted on Saylor servers, it will always be hosted on our servers (even when we update a course or swap out resources, we rarely delete the actual content from our site). So, even if the content is openly licensed, and allows you the right to host it, it may be more time effective to simply use the link provided in the Saylor Academy course, rather than actually make a new copy to be uploaded to your own server. There are of course instances where this may not serve your needs, for example, if your platform is running analytics and data tracking specific to your web domain and you need to track student time spent on individual resources. Knowing that such cases exist, we try to make all openly licensed and hostable content pieces easy to download from our site.