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The author would like to acknowledge those whose help and leadership have been instrumental to the production of this paper. First and foremost are Marshall (Mike) Smith and Catherine (Cathy) Casserly, whose combined vision and tenacity at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation gave life to the global, fast-growing Open Educational Resources movement. Many years from now, historians will look back at this period as the time when a handful of innovative leaders began to transform education and higher education in particular, from a system that weeded people out to one that lifts people up. The first chapter in that yet to be written history book will be all about Mike and Cathy.

I’m also grateful to the many other inspired and inspiring leaders of the Open Educational Resources movement I have encountered over the years, all of whom share a common sense that ours can and thus must be the first generation that begins to more fully develop all of our shared human capital, not only to be fair to all, but also to maximize our full potential as a human family. The remarkable leaders who occupy the frontlines of this noble and important movement include Hal Abelson, Nicole Allen, Kwasi Asare, Judy Baker, Richard Baraniuk, Martin Bean, Ahrash Bissell, Carl Brown, Steve Carson, Tom Caswell, Karen Cator, Barbara Chow, Lucifer Chu, Susan D’Antoni, Mary Lou Forward, Erhardt Graeff, Cable Green, Melissa Hagemann, Mara Hancock, Barbara Illowsky, Joi Ito, Sally Johnstone, Martha Kanter, Neeru Khosla, W. Joseph King, Vijay Kumar, Larry Lessig, Douglas Levin, Michael Linksvayer, Gary Lopez, Anne Margulies, Gary Matkin, Judy Miner, Lisa Petrides, Carolina Rossini, Richard Rowe, Vikram Savkar, Jim Shelton, Simon Shum, Candice Thiel, Joel Thierstein, Vic Vuchic, Phoenix Wang, David Wiley, and Esther Wojcicki.

Free to Learn by Hal Plotkin is published by Creative Commons. October, 2010. Creative Commons, 171 Second St, Suite 300, San Francisco, CA 94105 USA

Except where otherwise noted, content of this document is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Free to Learn was produced as a result of a grant from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. A living version of this document, which you may iteratively improve, can be found at

This manuscript was edited by David Kindler (, who also contributed his original research and reporting. Design by Eileen Wagner of Wagner/Donovan Design (

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