Creative Commons and Open Educational Resources
Creative Commons Facilitates Innovation and Collaboration in Education
CC enables translation of educational resources into different languages. A growing number of creators of educational resources are self-distributing their works openly via the Internet. When educational resources are released under a CC license permitting adaptations, anyone interested in the subject matter may translate those resources and otherwise customize them for local needs. For example, CC-licensed courses made available by MIT OpenCourseWare have been translated into at least 10 languages, including Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, French, German, Vietnamese, and Ukrainian.
CC enables educational resources to evolve and be improved through peer and student edits. CC licensed OER are living documents that can be built upon and improved not only by authors and publishers, but by colleagues and students as well. For example, when a University of Michigan professor was dissatisfied with currently available textbooks in his area of computer science, he was able to use an existing openly licensed textbook as the basis for developing a new book that met his needs, by changing the overall focus of the book, adding his own original content, and restructuring the original text.CC enables easier discovery of educational resources on the web. CC licenses provide the legal infrastructure that allows OER to be shared, but there is an important technical component to sharing successfully as well. Creators of OER want to make sure their work is visible to users, and learners and educators need to be able to find resources relevant to their chosen subject. CC has further broadened the impact of OER by embedding each of its licenses with software code that makes the license terms machine-readable—that is—discoverable by a search engine. In addition to creating licenses that can be indexed by prominent search engines such as Google and Yahoo! CC is also exploring ways to improve search and discovery of OER by helping to build a common metadata vocabulary for educational resources via the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI).
How Creative Commons Makes Sharing, Adapting and Finding OER Easy
Attribution. All CC licenses require that others who use your work must give you credit the way you request, but not in a way that suggests you endorse them or their use. If they want to use your work without giving you credit or for endorsement purposes, they must get your permission first.
NonCommercial. You let others copy, distribute, display, perform, and (unless you have chosen No Derivative Works) modify your work, but not for commercial purposes unless they get your permission first.
ShareAlike. You let others copy, distribute, display, perform, and modify your work, as long as they distribute any modified work on the same terms. If they want to distribute your modified work under other terms, they must get your permission first.
NoDerivatives. You let others copy, distribute, display and perform only original copies of your work. If they want to modify your work, they must get your permission first.
CC licenses are available in three different formats. The first is a human-readable deed that simplifies the terms of each license into a few universal icons and non-technical language. The second is the lawyer-readable terms of the license itself, which have been vetted by a global team of legal experts. And the final layer is the machine-readable code enables search and discovery.
The Success of OER Depends on Legal and Technical Interoperability
Find more information about CC, including helpful FAQs and videos at creativecommons.org.
Note: One of the fundamental design principles of all CC licenses is that of granting permission in advance to the public, without the need for users of the work to seek permission first. This feature is core to the success of OER and sharing. We actively discourage practices that interfere with or undermine that feature, particularly when those policies expressly require that users or some subset of users must ask permission first. Read more about the benefits of this feature.
Disclaimer: CREATIVE COMMONS DOES NOT PROVIDE LEGAL ADVICE OR REPRESENTATION. CONSULT YOUR OWN LEGAL COUNSEL FOR LEGAL ADVICE.