open education

OPEN Kick-off Conference for U.S. Department of Labor Grantees

Anna Daniel, May 29th, 2012

The Open Professionals Education Network (OPEN) – led by Creative Commons – is holding a conference tomorrow for grantees of the $500 million U.S. Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program (TAACCCT) program. Grantees will learn how to openly license (under CC BY) all educational materials created under the program so that they may be freely accessed, shared and reused by anyone. CC BY is a requirement of the funding. Grantees will also be shown how to:

  • use tools and techniques for improving access to their materials and universal design;
  • maximise interoperability, and
  • conform to best practice e-learning open standards and specifications.

Grantees will meet other grantees with similar projects for potential collaboration. Collaborating may increase the quality and speed of course development, and free up more time to adapt courses to local needs (for example to major employer needs). Collaboration is also important given many new courses are in emerging industries – such as robotics, mechatronics, health information technology, green construction, green energy and geospatial technologies – where existing materials are not as prevalent and where many projects aim to use innovative teaching tools such as virtual labs.

The conference is fully booked, which indicates strong interest in learning the best ways to enable open education practices.

OPEN includes Creative Commons, Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative, CAST, and the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. It has been funded by the The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to provide free support to grantees to help them meet grant requirements. For more information on OPEN see

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. Openly licensing the materials created under this program may create a multiplier benefit to course content and development nationwide. Benefits may include: accelerated course development and learning, improved pedagogies and retention, and broader access for citizens regardless of their location and wealth. Open licensing optimizes the impact of taxpayer funds spent on the TAACCCT grants.

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Saylor Foundation expands $20,000 Open Textbook Challenge

Anna Daniel, May 10th, 2012

The Saylor Foundation provides global grants of US $20,000 to college textbook authors seeking to openly license their educational textbooks for use in free Saylor college-level courses. Authors maintain their copyright and license textbooks to the world via Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) to enable maximum reuse, remix, and redistribution. To learn more and apply, visit Saylor’s Open Textbook Challenge page for more details.

In addition to providing grants for existing textbooks, the Saylor Foundation has announced a new option to award authors seeking to create open textbooks that will be CC BY licensed. Academics who are interested in creating a textbook can submit a brief statement about the proposed text and the relevant eligible Saylor course, and if successful they will receive a Request for Proposal from the Saylor Foundation (more details at the Open Textbook Development page). As a result of this new option and because preparing new texts is a lengthy process, the Saylor Foundation has decided to accept both textbook submissions and proposals for textbook development on an ongoing basis. The initiative has recently received funding from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Saylor Foundation expects to award millions of dollars for open textbooks under CC BY.

CC BY textbook
“CC BY” / opensourceway / CC BY-SA

The cost of education is spiraling, for example the average amount that a U.S. college student spends on textbooks is almost US $1,200 per year. Textbook costs may represent up to seventy-five percent of a Californian community college education, and education affordability is frequently cited as a reason for course dropouts (pdf). The Saylor Foundation tackles this issue by providing free, college-level curricula worldwide via Their Open Textbook Challenge aims to alleviate cost pressures by encouraging textbook authors to openly license their textbooks with CC BY so that students may use them for free.


LRMI integration workshop at Content in Context

Greg Grossmeier, May 4th, 2012


This year the Content in Context conference (organized by the Association of Education Publishers and the Association of American Publishers School Division) will host a free Metadata Lab centered around educational metadata adoption.

The main highlights of the lab:

  • Education data standards overview with Jack Buckley (NCES/CEDS), Ross Santy (US DOE), and Michael Jay (Educational Systemics)
  • LRMI info session
  • Group discussions
  • One-on-one meetings

Of particular interest is the LRMI session, which will include

  • A project update by Greg Grossmeier (Creative Commons)
  • A discussion led by Brandt Redd (Gates Foundation) about LRMI in relation to other initiatives like the Shared Learning Collaborative and Learning Registry
  • A demo of LRMI proof of concept by Mark Luetzelschwab (Agilix Labs)

Again, attendance is free but please register by contacting Dave Gladney (

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OER Policy Registry: Request for Help

Cable Green, March 26th, 2012

2071785 / / CC BY

Update June 2012:
The OER Policy Registry has moved to its permanent home at, please review and contribute any new policies there.

Update October 2012: We’ve removed the links to the Google Form and spreadsheet below. Please visit the OER Policy Registry’s permanent home at

The open community shares a need for more information to help us with our work. We know, for example, that there are many policies supporting open education at institutions and governments throughout the world. Many of us know of some of these policies, but it would be extremely helpful if we had a single database of open education policies that the entire community could access and update.

To meet this goal, Creative Commons has received a small grant to create an “OER Policy Registry.” The Open Educational Resources (OER) Policy Registry will be a place for policymakers and open advocates to easily share and update OER legislation, OER institutional policies and supporting OER policy resources. We have begun to enter OER policies into the registry, but we need your help to make it a truly useful global resource.

The open movement is reaching a stage where we’ve had some real, concrete OER policy victories and there is the potential to achieve many more. Sharing our collective knowledge of existing OER policies, in the same way we believe in sharing educational resources, will help advocates and policymakers worldwide be more successful.

Please join the effort:

(1) Contribute any OER policies you know about via this Google form.

  • We are collecting both legislative AND institutional (non-legislative) OER policies from around the world. Your form submissions will be added to the draft list of OER policies.

(2) Review the draft list of OER policies. (Google doc)

(3) Pass on this call to your colleagues, lists, blogs, and other channels, to ensure that we get as much input as possible. As the OER movement is global, it is critical that we capture OER policies from around the world.

Anyone can add OER policies to the Google form through the next month. Beginning May 1, the OER Policy Registry will move to the Creative Commons wiki. At that point, anyone will be able to edit and update the OER Policy Registry on the wiki, and all contributions will be licensed under CC BY.

We’re starting with a Google form because (a) it’s easy and (b) wikis require you to create an account before editing, and that may be a barrier to participation.

CC is in contact with other projects that collect similar information, including UNESCO, CoL, the Florida Distance Learning Consortium, EU OCW and a project in New Zealand. We will add OER policy data they gather as it becomes available. If anyone knows of other efforts to gather OER policies, please send them to Anna Daniel ( and we will reach out to them too.

If you have any suggestions or feedback on the content and/or framework, please let us know.

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CC News: Why Open Education Matters Video Competition

Jane Park, March 5th, 2012

Stay up to date with CC news by subscribing to our weblog and following us on Twitter.

Why Open Education Matters Video Competition! by Creative Commons, U.S. Department of Education, and Open Society Foundations

Creative Commons, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Open Society Foundations announce the launch of the Why Open Education Matters Video Competition. The competition will award cash prizes for the best short videos that explain the use and promise of free, high-quality open educational resources and describe the benefits and opportunities these materials create for teachers, students and schools.  Video submissions are accepted until June 5, 2012 and winners will be announced July 18, 2012. Cash prizes include $25,000 (first), $5,000 (second), and $1,000 (Public Choice Award). Judges include prominent artists and education experts, including Davis Guggenheim, Nina Paley, James Franco, and many others. Learn more.


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

The U.S. Department of Labor has 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 an additional $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…” As with the first wave of 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. Read more.

Creative Commons and Open Education Week

Creative Commons and its affiliates are participating in Open Education Week! a week-long series of global events on and offline to to raise awareness of the Open Educational Resources (OER) movement and its impact on universal access to education. 90 organizations are contributing by hosting workshops, conferences, evening events, and online webinars. The first events started March 1, but the official week is March 5 through March 10. It’s not too late for you to join. Learn more.

In other news:

  • The next CC Salon London — Open Educational Resources: Policies for Promotion — is Thursday, March 29! The event is free and open to the public but registration is required. Learn more.
  • The U.S. Washington State Senate passed an OER Bill for K-12 education! HB 2337 will help eliminate high textbook costs for one million students. Learn more.
  • The German Aerospace Center (DLR) also adopted CC by incorporating CC licenses, including CC Attribution, for its photos and media.
  • CC community member, Makerblock, has developed a new WordPress plugin that makes it easier for you to add CC licenses to your website and blog.
  • Lastly, we urge you to act now to support public access to federally funded research by supporting the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA) which would, "require federal agencies to provide the public with online access to articles reporting on the results of the United States’ $60 billion in publicly funded research no later than six months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal." Learn more.
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Learn about CC during Open Education Week

Jessica Coates, March 1st, 2012

As most of you are undoubtedly aware, next week, 5-10 March, is the First Annual Open Education Week – a time set aside each year to celebrate and raise awareness about open education and open educational resources (OER).

How better to spend it than learning how to share OER with CC… and to remind us all that open licenses are core to OER. OER are teaching, learning, and research materials in any medium that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others.

Open education is extremely important to Creative Commons, and vice versa. Educators are some of the strongest CC adopters and proponents, and the majority of OER are under CC licenses. This is particularly the case in areas such as Latin America, Asia and Africa, where the CC and open education communities overlap significantly.

So for our contribution to Open Education Week we want to do something big, productive, and most importantly, global. What better than a worldwide series of multilingual webinars on CC?

Over the course of next week, CC community members from around the work will be running webinars in their own local language around the theme “Introduction to Creative Commons Licenses.” CC webinars are currently being planned by teams from Chile, Israel, Russia, Poland and Korea, as well as CC’s Director of Global Education, Cable Green, here in the US.

So if you’ve always wanted to know more about CC, open education, or how to use copyright resources in the classroom, legally, now is your chance.

But this isn’t the only way to get involved. There are lots of other exciting events planned for Open Education Week. Activities being planned by the CC community alone include a Spanish language webinar on open repositories from CC Colombia, a March 9 Open Education Salon by CC Korea, and many, many others. Participation is open to everyone!

Please join the world in celebrating Open Education Week!
March 5-10, 2012

And a special thanks to our friends at the OpenCourseware Consortium for organizing Open Education Week. Well done!

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CC Salon London: Open Educational Resources — Policies for Promotion

Heidi Chen, February 29th, 2012

Creative Commons, Creative Commons United Kingdom (CC UK) and iCommons Ltd. are pleased to present the next CC Salon London on Thursday, March 29. CC Salon London will feature five panelists discussing the state of open educational resources (OER) and the effect of copyright and other policies on the development of digital tools and content for education. We will close with a period of questions and discussion from the audience. Our five panelists will be:

  • Catherine M. Casserly, CEO, Creative Commons
  • Victor Henning, Co-Founder & CEO, Mendeley Ltd.
  • Naomi Korn, Co-Founder, Web2Rights
  • Patrick McAndrew, OLnet Director, The Open University
  • Amber Thomas, Digital Infrastructure Programme Manager, JISC

CC UK Public Lead Joscelyn Upendran will moderate the panel discussion. This event is free and open to the public; however, advance registration is required. Light refreshments will be provided.

For more information, and to register, visit:

CC would like to give special thanks to Nature Publishing Group for generously hosting this event. Under the leadership of CEO Annette Thomas, a member of the CC Board of Directors, Macmillan’s Nature Publishing Group offers multiple scientific journals under CC BY-NC-SA and CC BY-NC-ND.

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Mozilla releases Learning, Freedom & the Web (e)book

Timothy Vollmer, December 23rd, 2011

Anya Kamenetz and Mozilla have released a great book called Learning, Freedom & the Web. It details many of the activities and ideas generated at Mozilla’s eponymous festival held last year, “a 500 person meta-hackfest that took place in a Barcelona city square,” says Ben Moskowitz from Mozilla. The book features participant interviews, project highlights, photographs and blog posts from the festival, as well as related content from across the Web reflecting on ideas around learning, freedom and the Web. One CC-related project conceptualized at the Festival is OpenAttribute, a browser plugin that makes it simple for anyone to copy and paste the correct attribution for any CC licensed work. Learning, Freedom & the Web is available as PDF download, HTML5 web version, or printed book. The book is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA) license.


Open Course Library Launches 1st 42 Courses

Cable Green, November 2nd, 2011

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:

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.”


WikiSym 2011 is open for registration and student volunteers!

Jane Park, September 9th, 2011

Earlier this year, we announced that Creative Commons is an official sponsor of the 7th annual WikiSym, the International Symposium on Wikis and Open Collaboration. WikiSym is taking place right near Creative Commons headquarters in Mountain View, CA on October 3-5 at Microsoft Research Campus in Silicon Valley.

WikiSym is the premier conference on open collaboration and related technologies for researchers, industry, entrepreneurs and practitioners worldwide. It is supported by relevant organizations and companies such as Microsoft, Wikimedia Foundation, Creative Commons, the National Science Foundation, and CosmoCode. As an Associate Partner and like-minded organization concerned about the instrumental role of open content and open licenses in today’s society, Creative Commons supports WikiSym to further disseminate the goals of this forum among their audience around the world.

Key topics in WikiSym include open collaboration and related technologies, open content, open licenses and their connections and implications for different areas of interest (education, e-democracy, data transparency and industry). A CC Salon on Open Educational Resources organized in San Francisco in June already served as a preview of some interesting discussions in this field that will be developed at the conference.

The conference program is packed with presentations, workshops, panels, demos and keynotes. Alongside is the Open Space, an unconference track in which attendees can self-organize their own agenda with discussions, presentations and informal gatherings.

This year, WikiSym is proud to host 3 outstanding keynotes by world-renowned figures in their fields.

  • Cathy Casserly (CEO @ Creative Commons) will talk about the forthcoming challenges for open content and open licenses, with special emphasis in their implications for the critical field of educational content.
  • Jeff Heer (Assistant Professor @ Stanford) will present a tour around the most compelling and innovative advances in information visualization (InfoViz), a field that is evolving rapidly, along with the emergence of open data sources, public transparency and data analysis.
  • Bernardo Huberman (Senior HP Fellow and Director of the Social Computing Lab @ Hewlett-Packard Laboratories) will emphasize the implication of the latest advances in the study of virtual communities, distributed systems and dynamics of information in large networks to understand the way open collaboration will likely evolve in the future.

WikiSym 2011 registration is still open. Don’t miss this unparalleled opportunity to tap into the latest trends and ground-breaking advances in open collaboration–the force that is reshaping the way we work, live and interact with each other everyday.

For updates, follow the WikiSym blog and Twitter feed. We look forward to seeing you this October in Mountain View!

Volunteer at WikiSym 2011!

You can also volunteer to help run WikiSym if you are a student (undergrad, grad, PhD). Volunteers will receive free access to the conference (including meals, reception and dinner) for the entire 3 days. Apply to be a volunteer by September 24!

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