Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Education announced the awarding of $75 million in educational grants to 24 universities through its First in the World (FITW) program. FITW provides “grants to institutions of higher education to spur the development of innovations that improve educational outcomes and make college more affordable for students and families, and to develop an evidence base of effective practices.” The FITW program includes the requirement that any works created with its funds be made available under an open license.
On Monday, Vice President Joe Biden, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and Labor Secretary Thomas Perez jointly announced the most recent winners of grants through the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) program. This initiative funds community colleges and other educational institutions to expand and create education and career training programs, and all new resources are required to be made available under Creative Commons licenses.
This week, President Obama spoke at the United Nations Open Government Partnership, where he described his Administration’s efforts to “open up government data to fuel entrepreneurship and economic growth, modernize our Freedom of Information Act with input from experts, and harness American ingenuity to solve important problems.” During his speech he made a new commitment to “promote open educational resources to help teachers and students everywhere.”
Today, Creative Commons and Creative Commons U.S.A. are sending a letter to Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan supporting the Department of Education’s (DOE) adoption of the Hewlett Foundation’s definition of Open Educational Resources, and asking the Department to require open licenses for works funded by its grants. The full letter is available here. An excerpt follows: