Creative Commons licenses are enabling an international partnership of accredited universities, colleges and polytechnics to provide free learning opportunities for students worldwide with pathways to formal academic credit. The OER university (OERu) will create a parallel learning universe for learners who cannot afford a tertiary education by offering CC-licensed courses — with the opportunity to acquire formal academic credit at greatly reduced cost when compared to full-tuition studies. The OERu will assemble courses from existing open educational resources (OER) under CC licenses, reducing the overall cost of development. It has adopted the Free Cultural Works approved licenses (CC BY and CC BY-SA) as the default for OERu courses.
The OER Tertiary Education Network, the force behind the OERu, includes an impressive line-up of education providers, including: Athabasca University, BAOU (Gujarat’s open university), SUNY Empire State College, Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, NorthTec, Open Polytechnic, Otago Polytechnic, Southern New Hampshire University, Thompson Rivers University, University of Canterbury, University of South Africa, University of Southern Queensland, and the University of Wollongong. BCcampus and the OER Foundation are supporting the network as non-teaching partners. These founding OERu anchor partners are accredited institutions in their respective national, provincial or state jurisdictions, which means that the OERu will be able to provide formal academic credit towards credible degrees in Africa, Asia, Oceania and North America — all using CC-licensed courses. Senior executives of the network have facilitated agile and rapid progress targeting the formal launch of the OERu operations in 2013. (More on that here.)
The OERu anchor partners have shortlisted eight university- and college-level courses to be developed as prototypes for refining the OERu delivery system:
- College Composition
- Art Appreciation and Techniques
- Regional relations in Asia and the Pacific
- A Mathematical Journey
- General and Applied Psychology
- Critical Reasoning
- Why Sustainable Practice
- Introduction to Management
Collectively, these courses — all first year courses except for Critical Reasoning, which is a 2nd year-level course in Philosophy — will carry credit towards a Bachelor of General Studies, the inaugural credential selected at the OERu meeting in November 2011. Two of the courses will be based on existing course materials under CC BY from U.S. Washington State’s Open Course Library project and the Saylor Foundation.
The OER Foundation has been trailing technologies and delivery approaches of large OER courses to help inform the design and development of these prototype courses. One such course is Open Content Licensing for Educators, which was designed as a free online workshop for educators and learners to learn more about OER, copyright, and CC licenses. The course materials, also under CC BY, were developed collaboratively by volunteers from the OER Foundation, WikiEducator, the OpenCourseWare Consortium and Creative Commons, with funding support from UNESCO. In January, Open Content Licensing for Educators was conducted online with 1,067 participants from 90 different countries — demonstrating the success of a large, collaborative, and high quality OER project. The OERu model will build on successes such as these, and demonstrate how CC licenses can maximize the return on investment in education at a massive scale.
Kudos to Wayne Mackintosh and all of his colleagues at OERu. Well done!
To learn more, visit WikiEducator.2 Comments »
GoodSemester, a new learning platform geared toward academic productivity, has just announced Creative Commons note sharing, copying and remixing. GoodSemester allows learners to find, copy and modify CC-licensed notes throughout its learning service, then integrate these notes directly into their classes. The default license for all new notes created on GoodSemester is CC BY-SA.
While GoodSemester has made CC BY-SA the default, users can still opt out of sharing their notes. To encourage open sharing, GoodSemester has made sure there are noticeable benefits to keeping notes under the CC license. Restricted notes cannot be copied, shared or remixed. Learners who do share their notes have the opportunity to join a vibrant community of active learners and creators, and to contribute to a growing commons of open educational resources.
In addition, GoodSemester is releasing its own materials under the same CC BY-SA license, as noted in the footer of their website:
All text and images by GoodSemester are released under an open license. We love open things. To show our support for the open learning movement, all text and images on GoodSemester created by GoodSemester are released under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.
This is just another great example of a company integrating CC licenses into its platform to increase the functionality of its tools and the value to its community.2 Comments »
There was exciting open policy news from U.S. Washington State (WA) last evening.
HB 2337 “Regarding open educational resources in K-12 education” passed the Senate (47 to 1) and is on its way back to the House for final concurrence. It already passed the House 88 to 7 before moving to the Senate.
The bill directs the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to support the 295 WA K-12 school districts in learning about and adopting existing open educational resources (OER) aligned with WA and common core curricular standards (e.g., CK-12 textbooks & Curriki). The bill also directs OSPI to “provide professional development programs that offer support, guidance, and instruction regarding the creation, use, and continuous improvement of open courseware.”
The opening section of the bill reads:
- “The legislature finds the state’s recent adoption of common core K-12 standards provides an opportunity to develop high-quality, openly licensed K-12 courseware that is aligned with these standards. By developing this library of openly licensed courseware and making it available to school districts free of charge, the state and school districts will be able to provide students with curricula and texts while substantially reducing the expenses that districts would otherwise incur in purchasing these materials. In addition, this library of openly licensed courseware will provide districts and students with a broader selection of materials, and materials that are more up-to-date.”
While focus of this bill is to help school districts identify existing high-quality, free, openly licensed, common core state standards aligned resources available for local adoption; any content built with public funds, must be licensed under “an attribution license.”
Representative Carlyle introducing HB2337 in the House:
Creative Commons’ Director of Global Learning, Cable Green, testifying about the impact of the bill on elementary education in the Senate:
This legislature has declared that the status quo — $130M / year for expensive, paper-only textbooks that are, on average, 7-11 years out of date — is unacceptable. WA policy makers instead decided their 1 million+ elementary students deserve better and they have acted.
Congratulations Washington State!4 Comments »
Open Education Week 5-10 March 2012: Call for participation.
Please fill out the Open Education Week contributor’s form by January 31, 2012.
Join your colleagues around the world to increase understanding about open education! Open Education Week will take place from 5-10 March 2012 online and in locally hosted events around the world. The objective is to raise awareness of the open education movement and open educational resources. There are several ways you and your organization can be involved:
1. Provide a pre-recorded informational virtual tour of your project, work, or organization. This should be focused on the work you’re doing in open education, designed for a general audience. These can be done in any language.
2. Offer a webinar. Webinars are well suited for topics of general interest, such as what’s happening in open education in a particular area or country, or topics that offer discussion possibilities. Webinars can be scheduled in any language, 24 hours a day. Organizers would also like to feature question and answer sessions in a variety of languages and time zones.
3. Pre-record a presentation on open education concepts. Do you have an inspiring presentation about open education? Can you discuss the issues that open education seeks to address in your country, region or globally? Organizers plan to feature short, introductory overviews of open education and OER for different audiences, such as those new to the idea, policy makers, faculty, etc. Presentations in any language are welcome.
4. Create or share text-based, downloadable information. This should be information on the open education movement, in any language, appropriate to introduce the movement and its important concepts to a variety of audiences. Specific information on your project can be linked to from the open education week website.
5. Sponsor or host a local event during the week of 5-10 March. This could be a community discussions, a forum on open education, a challenge and/or a celebration. Organizers invite you to get creative with planning events. Suggestions and support will be available on the open education week web site, and the planning group is happy to work with you to create bigger impact.
Let Open Education Week organizers know how you would like to participate by filling out the attached form, also available on the www.openeducationweek.org website, or contacting them at firstname.lastname@example.org. The OCW Consortium is coordinating this community run event. There is no cost to participate. Follow us on twitter at #openeducationwk and facebook at facebook.com/openeducationwk.
Please fill out the Open Education Week contributor’s form by January 31, 2012.
Attribution to OCWC Blog post by Mark Lou Forward.3 Comments »
On Monday, the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) released the first 42 of the state’s high-enrollment 81 Open Course Library courses. The remaining 39 courses will be finished by 2013. Funded by the Washington State Legislature and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Open Course Library joins the global open educational resources (OER) movement, and adheres to SBCTC’s open policy, which requires that all materials created through system grants be openly licensed for the public to freely use, adapt and distribute.
All courses are available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 unported license (CC-BY).
The first 42 courses are available in multiple technical formats including:
- Common Course Cartridges and ANGEL course exports hosted on Connexions.
- Guest login to preview and copy parts of the courses:
- HTML via a partnership with the Saylor Foundation (most translations are still under development).
Michael Kenyon’s students at Green River Community College used to pay nearly $200 for a new pre-calculus textbook. Now they pay only $20 for a book – or use it online for free. Kenyon’s pre-calculus textbook (CC BY SA) was written by community college faculty David Lippman and Melonie Rasmussen, who teach at Pierce College Fort Steilacoom. “We looked at a lot of textbooks,” Kenyon said. “There are some people who think this is the best book out there.”
“The courses were created with the needs of Washington’s college students in mind,” said Tom Caswell, SBCTC Open Education Policy Associate. “And with the idea we would share the courses with the world.”
Each course was developed and peer reviewed by a team of instructors, instructional designers and librarians. Use of the course materials is optional, but many faculty and departments are already moving to adopt them.
According to an informal study by the Student Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), the Open Course Library could save students as much as $41.6 million on textbooks annually if adopted at all of Washington’s community and technical colleges. The study also estimates that the 42 faculty course developers will save students $1.26 million by using the materials during the 2011-2012 school year, which alone exceeds the $1.18 million cost of creating the 42 courses. “These savings will not only help Washington’s students afford college, but clearly provide a tremendous return on the original investment,” said Nicole Allen, Textbook Advocate for the Student PIRGs.
Justin Hamilton, press secretary for the U.S. Department of Education, said the Washington state effort was groundbreaking for the nation. “Lowering college costs increases a student’s ability to take more courses, finish their degree on time, and enter the workforce prepared for success in a global economy. That’s not just good for them, it’s good for the country.”
“It really is the beginning of the end of closed, expensive, proprietary commercial textbooks that are completely disconnected from today’s reality,” said Rep. Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle) of Washington State’s 36th District, a champion of the Open Course Library and OER. “This is a significant state investment in this era of massive budget cuts. We had little choice but to seize the opportunity of this crisis to challenge the status quo of the old-style cost models in both K-12 and higher education.”4 Comments »
On Tuesday, the Chronicle of Higher Education posted the article, “Publishers Criticize Federal Investment in Open Educational Resources.”
We strongly support the U.S. Department of Labor including a CC BY requirement in their recent TAACCCT grant which makes available $2 billion to create open educational resources (OER) for career training programs in community colleges. As we announced earlier, Creative Commons will actively assist the winning grantees by providing expertise in open licensing, adoption and use, and more, to help ensure that the OER created with these federal funds are of the highest quality.
Having just joined Creative Commons this week as its new Director of Global Learning, I look forward to leading these efforts and also to help clarify Creative Commons’ role in the education space. Below is my response, originally posted in the comments section of the Chronicle article:
4 Comments »
(1) The US Federal Government has, for decades, provided grants to higher education to produce new research and educational content. To say it is “dangerous for [the Federal Government] to be in the product business” is irrelevant. The Department of Labor (DOL) is exercising rational, responsible public policy that more efficiently uses public tax dollars to improve education opportunities.
The DOL has put forth a simple, effective public policy: Taxpayer-funded educational resources should be open educational resources.
Open educational resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use or repurposing by others.
Information that is designed, developed and distributed through the generosity of public tax dollars should be accessible to the public that paid for it — without undue restrictions or limits.
If you think about this open policy, it makes sense. We, the American taxpayers, should get what we paid for.
(2) Karen Cator is correct: the commercial publishers (textbook, journals, etc.) should be embracing and supporting this new public policy. When publicly funded digital content (courses, textbooks, data, research, etc.) is openly licensed with a CC BY license, everyone can use and modify the open content to meet their needs — including the commercial publishers.
Moreover, the CC BY license does not restrict commercialization of the open content. To be clear, the commercial publishers can take all $2B of content created in this DOL grant, change it, make it better, add value, and sell it. The consumer (states, colleges, students) will then have a choice: (a) use the free openly licensed version(s) or (b) purchase the commercial for-a-fee version. If the commercial content / services are worth paying for, people will pay. If not, they won’t.
Next step? We should applaud the Departments of Labor and Education for their work and encourage all US Federal agencies to follow suit: require CC BY licenses on all content produced with federal funding.
Cable Green and family / CC BY
Creative Commons is pleased to welcome Dr. Cable Green as Director of Global Learning. Most recently, Green was the Director of eLearning & Open Education for the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, where he provided leadership on strategic technology planning, openly licensing and sharing digital content, growing and improving online and hybrid learning, and implementing enterprise learning technologies and student support services. One innovative project, the Open Course Library, creates low-cost, digital, openly licensed (CC BY) instructional materials for 81 high impact community college courses. Cable holds a BS (international affairs) from Lewis and Clark College, MPC from Westminster College, and a MA (communication) and PhD (educational technology) from Ohio State University.
As Director of Global Learning at Creative Commons, Green will be responsible for setting strategic direction and priorities to build a global movement that will enable robust and vibrant practices and policies for free sharing of education and learning assets. Cable will lead Creative Commons’ recently-announced project to provide technical assistance to winning grantees of the Department of Labor Trade Adjustment Assistance Community and Career Training Grant program.
“We’re honored and excited to be joined by Cable, and we expect that his experience, passion, and vision for OER will greatly amplify the impact that Creative Commons continues to make in open education around the world,” said Cathy Casserly, CEO of Creative Commons.
Please join us in welcoming Cable to CC!7 Comments »
The Washington State Board for Community & Technical Colleges (SBCTC) recently adopted an open licensing policy for the competitive grants they administer:
All digital software, educational resources and knowledge produced through competitive grants, offered through and/or managed by the SBCTC, will carry a Creative Commons Attribution License … [and] applies to all funding sources (state, federal, foundation and/or other fund sources) …
The brief (PDF), prepared by Cable Green (who we interviewed in March about the Open Course Library Project), explains how the policy is aligned with SBCTC’s strategic technology plan. The policy draws inspiration from related initiatives working to support the sharing of research and OER, such as the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA), the Southern Regional Education Board’s openness recommendations via “An Expectation of Sharing: Guidelines for Effective Policies to Respect, Protect and Increase the Use of Digital Educational Resources”, and the open licensing requirements for foundation grantees explored in the Berkman Center’s “An Evaluation of Private Foundation Copyright Licensing Policies, Practices and Opportunities.”
Congratulations to SBCTC for this great step forward!No Comments »
Copyright and related rights waived via CC0
Late last year, I caught wind of an initiative that was being funded by the Gates Foundation—it had to do with redesigning the top 80 courses of Washington State’s community college system and releasing them all under CC BY (Attribution Only). The initiative was called the Washington State Student Completion Initiative and the specific project that was dealing with redesign and CC licensing was the Open Course Library Project. I decided to find out more, so I set up a Skype date with Cable Green, the head of the project. Below is the transcribed interview, edited for clarity and cut as much as possible for 21st century attention spans.
Tell me a little bit about who you are, where you come from, and what your role is in open education.
Sure, my name is Cable Green. I’m the eLearning Director for the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. Our system consists of 34 community and technical colleges and those colleges teach roughly 470,000 students each year. Our enrollments are growing fast in this recessionary period as people are looking to enhance their work skills and go back to college to get degrees and certificates.