Case Studies/Commonwealth of Learning
(c) by Commonwealth of Learning http://www.col.org/about/Pages/COLLogo.aspx
Those organizations interested in adopting an open policy should start small, and work their way through the problems as they go. If you try to make your entire back catalog available, you’ll be lost. — Sir John Daniel, President and CEO of the Commonwealth of Learning
The Commonwealth of Learning (COL), an intergovernmental organization comprised of 54 member states. The overarching focus area for COL is “learning for development.” It aims to help its member nations—especially developing countries—use technology and develop new approaches to expand and approve learning at all levels.
In its policy for open educational resources (OER), COL recognizes the importance of OER for teaching, learning, and collaboration among institutions and governments. COL states that it will “encourage and support governments and institutions to establish supportive policy frameworks to introduce practices relating to OER.” The policy further specifices that COL will “release its own materials under the most feasible open licenses including the Creative Commons CC BY-SA license.”
COL has also developed guidelines for open educational resources (OER) in higher education.
COL's OER policy specifically states that it will,
- "release its own materials under the most feasible open licenses including the Creative Commons CC BY-SA license."
In an interview, Sir John Daniel, President and CEO of the Commonwealth of Learning, states,
- "We’re in the open business, so it made sense to communicate a formal open policy prominently on our website. It really wasn’t a problem, and there were few hurdles inside COL. We drafted the policy, it went through a few iterations within our staff, and then we adopted it. That said, we should be clear that we didn’t take this policy to the member states for review. We’re a small organization, and we do not have a general assembly of our membership. So, we didn’t have to wade through the politics of getting all the states to sign on. However, we didn’t develop the OER policy just pat ourselves on our back. We want to show the world that supporting open education is how we all should behave these days."
In response to why COL chose the CC BY-SA license specifically, Sir John Daniel says,
- "Well, our policy simply says COL will release its own materials under the most feasible open license, which includes the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license. We understand why MIT OCW adopted a noncommercial license for its materials—they were the first to do it and didn’t know what was going to happen. But now, we encourage people to not use noncommercial if they can avoid it, and we follow our own recommendation. It wasn’t until Dr. Balaji arrived that we were able to sort through the legal and technical challenges that COL, as an intergovernmental organization, faced in adopting an open license."
What is the impact of this CC-enabled project or resource? Specifically, what has the license enabled that otherwise would not exist? Provide statistics or other data if possible.
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- COL's policy on Open Educational Resources
- Guidelines for Open Educational Resources (OER) in Higher Education under CC BY-SA (English) (French)
- Interview with Sir John Daniel of the Commonwealth of Learning: Open Education and Policy