Creative Commons and The TAACCCT Federal Grant Program

Update: January 27, 2012

Please see for more information and to sign up for the free services of the Open Professionals Education Network (OPEN).

Update: September 26, 2011

The Department of Labor and Department of Education have announced the wave 1 grant winners.

Update: May 4, 2011

For a more in-depth description of the project, please view our proposal narrative and outcomes table that was submitted to The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Update: April 13, 2011

Creative Commons is pleased to announce we have been awarded a grant from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to provide support to successful applicants of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program with our partnering organizations Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative (OLI), CAST, and the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC).

Applicants interested in partnering with Creative Commons for this support should incorporate the following paragraph into their TAACCCT proposal:

Aligned with Section III D of the SGA “Leveraged Expertise,” [enter applicant name] will partner with Creative Commons, Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative, CAST, and the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. These highly experienced organizations will provide comprehensive infrastructure support and capacity building along the following dimensions:

  • Creative Commons is the global leader in open content licensing and will provide technical support in meeting the open licensing requirement and ensuring interoperability of TAACCCT funded content.
  • Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative brings expertise in applying results from the learning sciences to the design, implementation, evaluation and continuous improvement of open web-based learning environments.
  • CAST is a pioneer in the field of Universal Design for Learning and will offer grantees technical support and enabling technologies to ensure that all of the digital content and learning environments developed in this project succeed with the widest range of learners possible.
  • The Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges is one of the leading community college systems in the nation fully embracing open educational resources and open licensing, and will develop best practices in adoption and use, policies and professional development that work for participating institutions.

Services will be coordinated through Creative Commons, at zero budget impact to [enter applicant name]. The estimated in-kind value is $100,000 per TAACCCT grantee.

Good luck with your applications. Creative Commons will contact all successful grantees after the first round winners are announced. More in-depth detail on services will be provided after the DOL announcement. Questions should be directed to

High-level description of services

The partnering organizations will provide TAACCCT grantees a comprehensive set of support and technical assistance to ensure their success. Those services include reinforcing open licensing practices, increasing access to existing open educational resources (OER), Universal Design for Learning (UDL), accessibility and web-based design best practices, as well as professional development in critical policy and adoption practices. Every effort will be made not only to link grantees with existing resources, but also to encourage linkages among them to maximize benefits and build open licensing capacity in the community college space.

Open Licensing Support: Creative Commons will lend technical support in meeting the open licensing requirement and ensuring interoperability of content. Creative Commons will explain its licenses and tools (especially CC BY) to grantees, and provide both explanatory documentation and outreach to help institutions understand and effectively implement this requirement.

Course Design and Best Practices: OLI and CAST will provide expertise and enabling technologies to ensure that all of the digital content and learning environments developed in this project are designed to succeed with the widest range of learners possible.

Web-Based Learning Environments: Plus Platform and Plus Co-Development: OLI and CAST will offer two additional options for deeper involvement in building web-based interactive environments. Institutions selected to participate in the “Plus Platform” option will have access to OLI’s web-based learning platform to host their own open educational resources. A group of multiple subgroups will be selected for “Plus Co-development” support and engage in a full design process for OER resulting in 3-4 complete learning environments created and hosted on the UDL-enhanced OLI web-based learning platform.

Making the Case: Policy and Best Practices: SBCTC will utilize its system-wide experience in adoption, re-mix, re-use and distribution of OER to help grantee institutions develop best practices and policies that take full advantage of the TAACCCT grants and process. SBCTC will help grantees understand the direct connections between OER adoption and performance-based funding. SBCTC will develop and provide professional development on adoption and re-use of TAACCCT open content for faculty, deans, provosts, presidents and trustees.

What is the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program?

The TAACCCT is a grant fund cooperatively administered through the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Education. The program will make available US $2 billion over the next four years for grants that will “provide community colleges and other eligible institutions of higher education with funds to expand and improve their ability to deliver education and career training programs.” The solicitation for grant applications (PDF) requires that all resources created using these funds must be released under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY) license:

In order to further the goal of career training and education and encourage innovation in the development of new learning materials, as a condition of the receipt of a Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant (“Grant”), the Grantee will be required to license to the public (not including the Federal Government) all work created with the support of the grant (“Work”) under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (“License”). This License allows subsequent users to copy, distribute, transmit and adapt the copyrighted work and requires such users to attribute the work in the manner specified by the Grantee. Notice of the License shall be affixed to the Work.

The program supports President Obama’s goal of having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020 by helping to increase the number of workers who attain degrees, certificates, and other industry-recognized credentials. The first round of funding will be $500 million over the next year. Applications to the solicitation are now open, and will be due April 21, 2011.

The U.S. Department of Labor has posted a FAQ on the grant program.

What is Creative Commons?

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that develops copyright licenses and other tools used by individuals, nonprofits, governments, and companies to encourage sharing and innovation. Our free tools provide a simple, standardized way for creators to keep their copyright while allowing certain uses of their work — a “some rights reserved” approach to copyright. CC licenses incorporate a unique and innovative three-layer design, with a traditional legal tool (Legal Code), a “human readable” deed (Commons Deed), and a “machine readable” format that describes license information in a way search engines and other kinds of technology can understand. Creative Common licenses and tools are already in use by educators, schools, content platforms, and publishers. Our licenses make textbooks and lesson plans easy to find, easy to share, and easy to customize and combine — helping to realize the full benefits of digitally enabled education.

What is the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY) license?

CC BY is a copyright license that grants permission to the public to reproduce, distribute, perform, display or adapt the licensed materials for any purpose so long as the user gives attribution to the author or as otherwise directed by the copyright holder. CC licenses are built on top of and encourage respect for copyright and copyright holders. CC licenses are non-exclusive, allowing publishers of works to further license their works under different licence terms. For more information about CC BY, see the license deed and legal code.

Why is CC BY required?

Requiring the release of materials created using TAACCCT grant funds under CC BY maximizes the public benefit of the funding dollars expended. CC BY gives individuals, nonprofits and businesses permission to use and build upon material created with public funds, so long as the creator is credited. Innovative use of these materials may be made by any teacher, parent, and school district, nationwide and beyond. The materials will be available for reuse and value-add by creative entrepreneurs, education start-ups, and traditional commercial businesses.

In order to be used dependably by teachers, businesses, or institutions that desire to innovate, publicly funded materials must be clearly licensed and marked as such in order to modify the default copyright rule that “all rights are reserved.” CC BY is the gold standard for doing so, permitting publicly funded materials to be reliably leveraged and used alongside similarly licensed content and in conjunction with existing initiatives at community colleges and elsewhere.