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Educator’s Licensing Portal as a Gateway to the Open Education Movement

Creative Commons licenses are already integral to the open education movement, but there is a lot of confusion about the various CC licenses and the ramifications of choosing one license over another, especially in the context of education. In addition to providing specific language and supporting materials on CC licensing for educational works, the Educator’s Portal is a point of departure for educators to understand some of the bigger issues and hopes in open education, inspiring the creation of new forms of media and outreach to help even more people understand open education, CC licenses, and hopes for the future.

Why is Creative Commons important for education?

Creativity is especially important in the educational context, as teachers are constantly creating and adapting materials for the classroom and students are producing new work everyday. Creative Commons licenses encourage teachers to share resources to make them better, and encourage students to actively take part in the process of creation. Because learning is a process of re-creating and building off of what has been done before, teachers and students must reference and draw upon existing works. However, neither group has a very extensive knowledge of copyright law, which can lead to improper and even illegal use of materials, or simply inhibit usage altogether, which ultimately inhibits creativity. Increasing the educational commons, the pool of Open Educational Resources (OER) available, yields greater flexibility and creativity in education.

What is OER?

Educational resources consist of learning content and tools that facilitate teaching in and outside of the classroom. Learning content may consist of full or partial courses, course materials (such as syllabi, handouts, notes, curriculum), content modules (individual chunks of knowledge that can be incorporated into the former), learning objects (reusable, self-contained digital units of learning), collections, and journals. Learning tools are software or other technologies (such as search) that support the creation, search and organization of learning contents.

OER are openly licensed educational resources for teachers and students. All materials that are licensed with a Creative Commons license are OER. OER are “some rights reserved”, meaning that you are free to use a CC licensed work without asking permission as long as you adhere to the license terms. Depending on the license used, you can access, share (copy, distribute, display), adapt (perform, translate), or derive (modify, remix) OER. The openness of a resource increases with the uses allowed.