Sharing Your Educational Materials

So, I’m working on making the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike license easier for people to understand as part of my fellowship at CIS. I’d appreciate your thoughts on the following language. Once we get the language right, we’ll be adding visuals.

Educators are sharers by nature – the very essence of teaching is sharing what we know with others. And while none of us has the time to work with as many students as we wish we could, the Internet affords us an incredible opportunity to share our educational materials with as many people as are interested.

As the creators of textbooks, lecture notes, and other materials, many educators are interested in their rights with regard to those materials. Worries that we might somehow be throwing away our copyright or the opportunity to commercialize our work keep some of us from sharing. Concerns about other people misappropriating our materials prevent some of us from sharing. And the thought of seeing our efforts distributed and used without attribution stops some of us from sharing. There are many reasons why we, as educators, may hesitate to freely and openly share our educational materials with as many people as possible – even though we wish we could.

So, is there something that can help you share?

The Creative Commons project at Stanford Law School has proposed one solution to the worries many educators have about sharing their materials. Creative Commons has created a license that educators can use to share their educational materials. The license controls the ways your materials can be used as follows:

  1. Commercial Use Is Prohibited – Only individuals, nonprofit schools, nonprofit libraries, and other nonprofit groups are permitted to use your materials. They have to use the materials in not for profit ways – you retain the rights to profit from your work.
  2. Citation Is Required – Anyone who uses your material must reference you as the author of the material.
  3. Adaptation Is Encouraged and Sharing Is Required – Anyone who uses your material is permitted to translate, modify, and adjust the materials for their classroom context (or other permissible context). If modifications are shared, these modified materials must be shared back to you and others under the terms of this Creative Commons License.

3 thoughts on “Sharing Your Educational Materials”

  1. Will there be a place for people to share? I keep finding that certain things, such Understanding by Design forms or curriculum mapping or 6-trait writing forms are already online because districts post them for their staff. However, the amazing stuff that cutting-edge teachers make generally exists only on their own hard drives. That is the stuff we need to access, and those are the people needing CC protection.

  2. Susan, you make a good point. If an initiative like this is going to be useful, educators (particularly teachers who are somewhat disconnected with the online environment where these discussions are occuring) need to be educated. The language in this CC license makes it easier for educators to understand the license, but if they don’t know the license exists, then they won’t use it and they certainly won’t place their materials in a shared repository.

  3. One of our members is working on a piece like this to go with our CC release forms. When we have something ready I intend to post it on our site.
    Two points that I think open content providers will want assurance on is their liability for mistakenly using copyrighted material and what rights they retain on their original work.

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