FAQ

This FAQ has been designed to address common questions that TAACCCT grantees may have regarding the production of materials with grant funding as well as support services provided by the OPEN Partners. Representatives from grantee institutions and consortia are encouraged to contact the OPEN Partners with further inquiries by emailing [email protected].

Open Educational Resources (OER)

The CC BY Licensing Requirement

Meeting Other Requirements for Grant-funded Materials

Services Provided by the OPEN Partners

 


 

OER

What is OER?

OER stands for Open Educational Resources, which are teaching, learning, and research materials in any medium that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others. All CC BY licensed educational resources are OER since CC BY allows sharing and remix.

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What are some examples of OER?

Many OERs can be found and downloaded from repositories on the web, ranging from MIT’s OpenCourseWare to Khan Academy‘s catalog of videos, to OpenStax College collection of open textbooks. See below for more information on how to find OER.

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How do I find additional OER?

For help finding OER, take a look at the Find OER page of this site, which includes links to repositories and libraries of OER and other open content in many media types (images, videos, etc).

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Which file formats help make sharing and remixing OER easier?

To enable others to easily access and work with all content created or modified with grant funds, grantees should make their content available in a file format that allows anyone to natively and directly edit the content. Grantees may choose to make content available in multiple formats, but at least one of these formats must be openly editable. For more information about open file format standards written by the OPEN Partners, please see the tech standards section of the “What is Open?” page.

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CC BY license requirement

What is the CC BY license and what does it do?

CC BY is a free copyright license that authors can apply to their work to grant permissions to the public to share, reuse, and remix a creative work. A more thorough summary of the license and access to the full legal code can be found at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0.

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Where can I find the CC BY license requirement language?

The CC BY license requirement is noted in the Solicitation for Grant Applications (SGA) for Rounds 1, 2 and 3 of the TAACCCT program, viewable on the Dept of Labor website.

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What materials and content are grantees required to license CC BY?

The CC BY license requirement applies to work that is developed by the grantee with grant funds, as noted in the U.S. DOL’s Copyright Materials Clarification:

“Only work that is developed by the grantee with grant funds is required to be licensed under the Creative Commons license. Pre-existing copyrighted materials licensed or purchased by the grantee are subject to the intellectual property rights the grantee receives under the terms of the particular license or purchase. Additionally, works created by the grantee without grant funds do not fall under the Creative Commons license requirement.”

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How can we deal with the release of tests, quizzes, and other assessment tools?

Ideally, assessment and evaluation tools created or modified with grant funds are designed to be released under the CC BY license. The following options may be useful to have on hand when considering the release of such tools and content:

  • Pedagogically rethink the way assessments are designed and marked. This may require a move away from simple assessments that are multiple choice, true/false, or that draw on a test bank of questions. This shift also means a move to higher level forms of assessment such as performance based methods, and may impact things such as automated scoring.
  • Seek a dispensation from DOL allowing an approach that curtails access to assessments to other faculty. It might include language like, “To access assessments, please contact [email protected] It could also be implemented as a feature/function in DOL’s TAACCCT repository where your TAACCCT resources will be stored on completion. In this scenario the assessments may still be licensed CC BY but there would be a built in security component whereby the assessments are only accessible to other authenticated faculty.
  • Design and construct the assessments with funds other than TAACCCT funds, which would not be subject to the CC BY license requirement.

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How do we properly mark content with the CC BY license?

For guidance with marking various kinds of content, please see the Marking Section of the CC Wiki.  If you are marking content you have created, please select the Creator section, otherwise select the User section.  Additional inquiries can be directed to the Google Group or to [email protected].

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Can we change the license on the materials after the project has ended?

All materials created or modified with grant funds must be released with a CC BY license, and will be deposited in a DOL-specified repository for archiving and reuse.  Materials created with outside funding, and future/derivative versions of content can be licensed separately, but must attribute the original openly-licensed version and it’s author.  See the Marking Examples section of the CC Wiki for more information.

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Meeting Other Requirements for Grant-funded Materials

When are grant-funded materials required be made publicly available?

The U.S. DOL requires that materials be submitted at the end of the grant. Please consult your DOL federal program officer for details.

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What materials can be made available when they are a mix of original content, existing OER, and proprietary (purchased) content?

Any material created with DOL funds must be made available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY). If the course content includes third-party proprietary material, those materials should be marked as such and are not subject to the terms of the CC BY license.

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Is there a central repository where we can upload our materials?

Grantees are required to submit all grant deliverables to a central repository, which will be specified by DOL at a later date.  Until then, grantees are encouraged to make their media and content available via platforms that both host media and allow CC BY marking for uploads.  Some examples:

See Publishing on External Platforms for more platforms that have enabled CC licensing. You can also use your own Learning Management System if it allows public publishing of the contents of a course (while maintaining student privacy).

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Who should be listed as the author of our materials (e.g., the consortium, college, faculty)?

The author of the material is normally the person or group of individuals who created the material. However, your consortium or college may have a policy on who is listed as the author (eg: it could be the consortium, the college, or the individual). No specific policy is not stipulated by the grant.

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How should the U.S. Department of Labor be credited as a funder of our materials?

See the Required Disclaimer for Grant Deliverables in the Round One SGA (pdf), Section III.G.6, which states that “The grantee must include the following language on all Work developed in whole or in part with grant funds, including its incorporation in the Licenses:”

“This workforce solution was funded by a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. The solution was created by the grantee and does not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Labor. The Department of Labor makes no guarantees, warranties, or assurances of any kind, express or implied, with respect to such information, including any information on linked sites, and including, but not limited to accuracy of the information or its completeness, timeliness, usefulness, adequacy, continued availability or ownership.”

Please note that this disclaimer is separate from the CC BY license notice which you are attaching to your works. The CC BY license is issued by you directly to the public for their reuse of your works, and does not involve the DOL as a third party.

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Should our materials be in a final version before being made available?

Grantees are encouraged to share draft and pre-final versions of content, through self-hosting or by depositing them in a publicly-accessible repository. Though no policy mandates sharing of content before final deposit with DOL, sharing content can help avoid duplicate efforts by other grantees and consortia.

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I am meeting resistance from faculty and/or others around opening the materials. What steps can I take?

The SGA explicitly states that any materials created through these funds will be made available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license, which is agreed to by institutions and consortia when DOL funding was accepted. Faculty should be informed of this early in the process of creating content, to help avoid concerns further along in the process.

When dealing with a faculty or staff member that is hesitant to openly license their materials, it can be helpful to describe the benefits that come with the sharing; wider recognition of their efforts, a larger population of learners who will benefit from the content they create, and the opportunity for a wider audience of peers to review and build on their work. These benefits are unique to OER projects like those within the TAACCCT program, and are useful in justifying the value of creating OER. Additionally, open licensing requirements are increasingly being included in educational content creation grants outside of the TAACCCT program, and often give grant applications priority when not included as a formal requirement. A visible shift towards OER-creation practices can strengthen future grant applications, which will likely be a benefit to alleviate faculty and staff hesitations towards openly licensing their work.

For more information about the CC BY license for grant deliverables that may be useful in explaining the rationale behind the open licensing requirement for grant deliverables, see Why CC BY for TAACCCT Federal Grant Program. If further resistance is presented, grantees can contact the OPEN Partners for additional assistance by emailing [email protected].

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Services Provided by the OPEN Partners

Are support services from the OPEN Partners really free of cost?

Yes, services provided by the OPEN Partners are free of cost to Round 1 and Round 2 TAACCCT grantees.

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How do I keep up to date with OPEN Partner events and activities?

TAACCCT Grantees are encouraged to join our Google+ Community, sign up for the Google Group, and pay attention to the Events page, where a information about upcoming webinars and face-to-face events will be posted.  You can also follow us on Twitter for these and other announcements.

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How can I connect and work with other projects?

There are many benefits to collaboration between grantees! When you are ready to connect with other projects, please contact the OPEN Partners at [email protected]. We’ll look for projects undertaking similar activities and refer you to them. You can also join the OPEN Google group and nominate ideas for collaboration there.

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How do I contact the OPEN Partners directly?

Inquiries that aren’t addressed in this FAQ and other resources on Open4Us.org can be directed to [email protected].

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Note: The Open Consortium does not provide legal advice. This FAQ is designed to be helpful in raising awareness about the use of Creative Commons licenses and other tools, course development and learning platforms, and the process of moving towards open practices. It is not a substitute for legal advice and it may not cover important issues that affect your project.