Creative Commons Licensing Now Available for MOOCs

Posted By Eliana Osborn on July 15, 2015 at 5:26 pm
Creative Commons Licensing Now Available for MOOCs

Professors at top colleges build classes, including videos and lectures and all sorts of other features, to be used over and over again as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).  EdX, one of the biggest MOOC providers, has now made it possible for those authors and creators to apply for Creative Commons licensing of their content.

What’s the big deal about Creative Commons? “The CC licenses make education content accessible and expand opportunities for innovation by providing everyone with the legal permissions to reuse, revise, remix, redistribute and retain educational resources,” according to the announcement.  Creative Commons licensing is similar to copyright, in that it has to do with intellectual property issues, but it allows usage instead of limiting it.  The creator of content gives permission for others to not only use their material but also to change it—a big deal in our increasingly collaborative society.

Globally, there’s a movement, called Open Educational Resources (OER), to make content—both physical and digital—available to those who would not otherwise be able to afford materials.  Creative Commons is a big part of that, allowing educators and innovators to share their creations with the world.  Creative Commons has long wanted to open up access to MOOCs, and edX has finally made that a reality.

For students, more access means more options.  While getting credits and a degree are still done through specific colleges and universities, unaffiliated MOOCs are a new path toward lifelong learning.  Moreover, if a course is licensed by Creative Commons, others can create their own versions of it—adding features the original professor never imagined, or updating facts as events happen and new information comes to light.  The world of educational possibilities continues to expand, and now, courses can better keep up.

Creative Commons licensing is available through edX but not required; some courses are owned by the institutions that sponsored them, and some creators are simply uninterested in losing their control. However, the process is incredibly simple – making it work with the edX system was a product of a 2014 hackathon.

Textbooks, websites, and other kinds of learning materials will inevitably change as we move forward.  Someone will have to pay for content creation, even if it doesn’t come in a bound, printed book.  But with Creative Commons licensing gaining ground, these resources can be shared with a wider range of people, at a lower cost, to help spread knowledge around the world.

Eliana Osborn
Eliana Osborn is an associate English professor at Arizona Western College, with degrees from Brigham Young University and Northern Arizona University. She’s published widely in forums such as The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Chronicle of Higher Education.

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