Today at Macomb College, President Barack Obama announced a proposal to commit $50 million for the development of open online courses for community colleges as part of the American Graduation Initiative: Stronger American Skills through Community Colleges. As proposed, the courses will be freely available for use as is and for adaption as appropriate for targeted student populations. The materials will carry a Creative Commons license. More information in the White House Page.
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This license opens up many possibilities in the academic world such as free online course readers, zero cost educational multimedia, gratis online tutorials-even the price of paper textbooks could be drastically reduced. Perhaps more important than cost, however, by using Creative Commons you are essentially “paying it forward” by sharing your intellectual output with the academic community because future generations of scholars will have greater access to your work.
Two recent Berkeley students to file their dissertations using a Creative Commons license are Joseph Lorenzo Hall and danah boyd. Hall navigated through much bureaucratic red tape, but found that most of his difficulty came from simple formatting issues, not any ideological disagreement by the university. Another School of Information graduate, danah boyd, also filed her dissertation under Creative Commons shortly thereafter.
On Jan. 28, the Dean of the Graduate Division committed to make Creative Commons licensing available to future students. All students interested in contributing to the effort to make education more affordable and accessible should consider using Creative Commons instead of traditional copyright.
Participating in this movement is as simple as making two modifications to a dissertation or thesis. First, the author writes, “Some Rights Reserved” instead of “All Rights Reserved” on the copyright page. Second, they include the full legal text of a Creative Commons license in an appendix.