Letter to Department of Education on Open Educational Resources As a Priority for Its Discretionary Grant Programs

Today, Creative Commons and Creative Commons U.S.A. are sending a letter to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan supporting the Department of Education’s (DOE) adoption of the Hewlett Foundation’s definition of Open Educational Resources, and asking the Department to require open licenses for works funded by its grants.  The full letter is available here.  An excerpt follows:

Thank you for continuing to support Open Educational Resources (OER) as an important priority the Department’s discretionary grant funding. We are especially pleased to see that the Department’s definition is now fully aligned with the definition championed by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and open education advocates in the United States and around the world:

Open educational resources (OER) means 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 and repurposing by others.

A strong definition is crucial to ensure that creators and users know the legal conditions under which Department-funded materials will be made available to the public. Creative Commons licenses are the global standard for open content licensing, and are easy to understand and use.We hope that the Department will consider extending the example already set by the First in the World Program and the Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grant program. Both of these grant programs requires grantees to share grant-funded works under open licenses. We hope that open licensing of publicly funded educational resources will be extended across all other Department of Education programs to ensure the ability to find, access, reuse, and remix publicly-funded educational materials. When publicly funded resources are openly licensed, all universities, colleges, and schools can use and revise Department-funded resources.

Download the letter (PDF).

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