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OPEN Partners Host U.S. Department of Labor TAACCCT Grantee Kick-Off Conference

Billy Meinke, June 27th, 2013

OPEN Partner Keynote from Cable Green, visualized by Giulia Forsyth
Giulia Forsyth / CC BY

Wave 2 Kick-off Event, Minneapolis MN

Round 2 Grantees from the US Department of Labor’s (DOL) Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College & Career Training (TAACCCT) program were invited to attend last week’s Kick-off Conference, hosted by OPEN Partners: CC, CMU’s OLI, CAST, and SBCTC. This was a unique opportunity for the Gates-funded OPEN Partners to explain services made available to grantees at no cost, supporting the building of Open Educational Resources (OER) that meet current standards of accessibility, pedagogically-sound and technology-supported design, as well as legal openness. Creative Commons is leading the OPEN Partner services and support, lending expertise in legal and technical aspects of open education to the project. Representatives from forty seven Round 2 TAACCCT projects attended workshops to understand service basics, and a showcase to hear from select Round 1 Grantee projects that made use of the complementary services offered to all grantees.

OPEN Conference Attendee
Photo by Cable Green / CC BY

Highlighted Round 1 Grantees included The National Stem Consortium (NSC), the Colorado Online Energy Training Consortium (COETC), and the Missouri Online HealthWINs program, sharing their experiences in the program thus far. All grantees are funded to support the building of community college-level and technical training courses that will provide opportunities for unemployed and under-employed adults to gain certificates and degrees in high-skilled industries. The OPEN partners offer expertise to grantees around accessibility frameworks, open-licensing and technical interoperability, and quality standards for online education. All of the courses and learning materials created in this four year $2 billion DOL grant program are being licensed for reuse with a Creative Commons (CC BY) license, making this the largest OER production effort to date. The pool of courseware will include lessons, videos, images, and interactive content for learners in health care, information technology (IT), advanced manufacturing, and other industries that need high-skilled workforce support. It’s a big deal.

Keynote and Plenary Sessions

CC’s Director of Global Learning, Cable Green, provided the opening keynote for the conference titled Online Technology, Open Licenses, and Open Educational Resources – The Opportunity for DOL TAACCCT Grantees. The Center for Accessibility Supportive Technology’s (CAST) Samantha Johnston provided an overview of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles, and spoke about accessibility in distance education, which most TAACCCT courses are being developed for. Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) Boyoung Chae offered a session about creating and managing OER, targeted at new grantees that will likely be collaborating on content in the coming year. CC, CAST, and the Washington State Board of Community & Technical Colleges (SBCTC) offered multiple hands-on sessions to familiarize grantees with DOL-mandated aspects of their course design, and describe how the OPEN Partners are offering continue support. CC’s Jane Park led sessions on the CC-BY license and best practices for applying CC licenses to work.

As a special service to grantees, Giulia Forsythe joined the OPEN Partners to provide visual recording (see image above) for the major talks. The creation of visual notes offered another way for participants to understand the big ideas of the speakers’ messages, using sketch-based keywords and symbols to describe connections. During a lightning around for new grantees, participants from over forty of the funded college and consortia spoke briefly about their projects and plans. Visual representations of these descriptions will soon be posted to the OPEN4us.org site.

OPEN Kickoff Conference Attendee
Photo by Cable Green / CC BY

OPEN Supporting TAACCCT Grantees

Creative Commons and the OPEN Partners will continue to support TAACCCT Grantees in the upcoming months, maximizing the value and reusability of this amazing pool of OER. Handouts, visuals, webinar recordings, and additional grantee information can be found on the OPEN Partner website, Open4Us.org.

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$500 million available in Wave 2 of U.S. Department of Labor grant program for community colleges

Jane Park, February 27th, 2012

Today, the U.S. Department of Labor announced and released a Solicitation for Grant Applications (SGA) for Wave 2 of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program (TAACCCT). Wave 2 makes available $500 million to “eligible institutions of higher education… with funds to expand and improve their ability to deliver education and career training programs that can be completed in two years or less…”

The full announcement, including the SGA, is available at http://www.doleta.gov/grants/Find_grants.cfm, where you can access it as a pdf. As with the first wave of TAACCCT funding, all educational materials created from grant funds must be released under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license. For Wave 2, the CC BY license must also be applied to modifications made to pre-existing, grantee-owned content using grant funds.

The SGA also contains requirements for accessibility (“All online and technology-enabled content and courses developed under this SGA must incorporate the principles of universal design (see http://www.cast.org/udl/)”) and technical standards for digital assets (“All digital assets within online and technology-enabled courses… should be produced to maximize interoperability, exchange and reuse. In addition, all assessments and/or other content that result in a student score or grade must conform to industry-leading e-learning open standards and specifications…”).

As previously mentioned, Creative Commons, along with Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative, CAST, and the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, have been funded by the The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to provide free support to grantees to help them meet these grant requirements. Together, we have formed the Open Professionals Education Network (OPEN), to more effectively help grantees. For more information on OPEN and the free services we will be providing, see http://open4us.org. If you are a Wave 1 grantee, you can also sign up directly for our free services there.

The TAACCCT 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. Applications to the solicitation are now open for Wave 2, and are due May 24, 2012.

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Creative Commons Announces Support Program for Department of Labor C3T Grantees

Timothy Vollmer, April 13th, 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, CAST, and the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges.

The free of charge technical assistance services will offer a competitive advantage for organizations seeking TAACCCT grant funds and ensure that the open educational resources created with these federal funds are of the highest quality. The partnering organizations will provide the following areas of expertise: open licensing, learning and course design, professional development, and adoption and use. TAACCCT applicants interested in these free services should include boilerplate language in their proposal. This suggested language, as well as a high-level description of services, can be viewed at our TAACCCT information page.

Creative Commons is excited to participate in this groundbreaking effort and grateful to The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for its generous support in facilitating open learning.

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