After running 26 CC Certificate courses, and certifying hundreds of graduates, CC is exploring the way the courses impact graduates and their communities.
In this interview, we highlight one CC Certificate graduate’s work within Connecticut, a #GoOpen state, and celebrate the momentum he’s built in open education.
This interview is with Kevin Corcoran. Kevin is the Executive Director of Digital Learning at the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System (CSCU) and the Statewide OER Coordinator for Connecticut. He graduated from the first official CC Certificate Educator course in 2018. Since then, he’s organized a 25-person cohort of academic librarians from the higher education system in Connecticut to take the CC Certificate. He’s also taught master’s level courses, such as “Intro to Ed Tech” and “Intro to OER” at Fairfield University. Kevin adopted the CC Certificate coursework to empower current and future K12 educators within their program to advocate and implement open practices in their classrooms and districts.
This conversation has been lightly edited for clarity and length.
Kevin, thank you for making the time for this interview! We want to learn more about your work post taking the CC Certificate, and the ripple effect it’s having within Connecticut. But first, tell us a little more about yourself. What makes you happy outside of work?
My family. My wife Lora and my daughter Kylie both share my odd sense of humor and the drive to help others. (My wife advocates for animal rights and my daughter supports an anti-bully campaign through her Girl Scouts troop.)
Why did you take the CC Certificate?
I had become recognized as a leader in the OER* movement within Connecticut. As people looked to me for answers, I wanted to ensure that I was giving the best possible information that I could.
*OER are Open Educational Resources. They 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 no-cost access, adaptation, and redistribution by others.
You were a member of first CC Certificate for Educators course. What were some of your impressions of the course?
The course exceeded my expectations. Not only did I explore the origins of copyright law and Creative Commons, I received a deeper understanding of the CC license attributes and connected with OER colleagues from around the globe. The threaded discussions and Slack channel provided even greater exploration of copyright and licensing questions. The course was rigorous, but all of the assignments had real-life application if you invested the time.
We understand that Connecticut is a #GoOpen state, and your work helps educators open their teaching practices. Tell us a little about your teaching at Fairfield University and how you’ve used the experience of your Certificate to reach future educators.
I am an adjunct within the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions for the Masters in Educational Technology program. The students within this program are pre-service and current K12 teachers. Integrating open practices alongside ISTE standards for 21st century learners seemed like a natural fit, especially with an emphasis on digital citizenship and collaboration.
When Dr. Joshua Elliott (Assistant Professor of Educational Studies & Teacher Preparation at Fairfield University) approached me to develop an introductory online course for OER, I, of course, revisited the openly licensed CC certificate course materials. There was rich information to pull from on copyright law, Creative Commons licensing, and the OER movement. I was also able to remix some of the discussion questions and assignments.
Our students (K12 teachers) were asked not only to create presentations, in any format that they like, that could be used for student or administration education on copyright and Creative Commons within their districts, but also a final reflective paper that also served as an action plan. I was able to see how our students would take the information that they had learned and implement within their classroom and advocate change within their district. Some students have remained in contact after the course completed to gather more information.*
What are the results from the course you just taught?
This one is hard to answer as an adjunct. I’ve had a few students remain in contact, especially Aimee Guerrero, a Library Media Specialist. I’ve provided additional resources to the students and tried to connect them with statewide K12 leaders. I’ve worked with Aimee to support her case to her district leadership.
Are there any ways in which CC can help you with future open pedagogy efforts?
The case for college-level adoption of OER are robust. There is/are plenty of research and supporting resources. The K12 setting faces slightly different challenges for adoption – cost savings vs. cost re-investment, school policy on content ownership, district/curriculum committee decisions vs. individual faculty/department, student privacy/under 18 copyright concerns. The open community needs to build on-ramps for K12 districts and I believe CC can be a leader here.
It’s so great hearing about initiatives like this one and to see how it works within the larger open education movement. If there’s one piece of advice you could give people, like educators or administrators, considering conducting open work at their institution, what would it be?
I would suggest starting the conversation the same way I did with my students: watch David Wiley’s 2010 TEDxNYED Talk on openness. While some of the messaging around OER has evolved (like the 5 Rs of permissions), his core message that education is fundamentally about sharing should set the proper tone. From there, I would encourage folks to explore a repository like OER Commons and see what’s possible.
Thanks again for your time with us here.
We celebrate Kevin’s excellent work, and we want to celebrate more of our CC Certificate alumni’s work, as well as the fantastic work of people in the broader open education community! If you have a story about something you’ve tried or an open project you’ve accomplished at your institution, please let us know by emailing us at email@example.com.