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As a global nonprofit organization, Creative Commons (CC) helps advance equitable access to educational opportunities with legal alternatives to traditional copyright. CC licenses and public domain tools provide a free, simple, and standardized way to share, use, and build on others’ work. In addition to licenses, the Creative Commons Certificate program provides an opportunity for educators to become experts in the world of open educational resources (OER) and open licensing. To date, over 1,250 individuals have been CC certified with open licensing expertise.

Within the state of California, Community Colleges (CCCs) are gearing up to implement Zero-Textbook Cost (ZTC) degree programming following Governor Gavin Newsom’s historic commitment to the program. ZTC degrees primarily rely on open education resources to bring costs down to zero for students, but navigating the unfamiliar terrain of copyright licensing can be a serious barrier for educators looking to go open. To make the most of this enormous opportunity and help set educators up for success, the Michelson 20MM Foundation made building capacity within the CCC system to support the rollout of ZTC funding a key focus area for this round of Spark Grants. In line with that focus area, we are proud to award a Michelson Spark Grant to Creative Commons! 

Through the Spark Grant, Creative Commons will build upon past Spark Grants in the Bay Area to expand capacity in this region, in particular. To do so, we are teaming up with the CCC Academic Senate’s OERI Committee to support 15 educators, librarians, and others within the CCC system, focusing on Bay Area schools, to attend the Creative Commons Certificate Bootcamp. With CC Certification, the 15 OER advocates within the California Community College system will be equipped with the skills necessary to serve as an OER resource for their respective campuses, which includes garnering a deep understanding of the various copyright licenses that can be used on campus and their respective benefits. 

As a result of their participation in the Creative Commons Bootcamp, the 15 participants will ultimately help make OER more accessible to 1.8 million students throughout 116 campuses. By furthering the adoption of OER on California Community College campuses, courses will become more affordable for students, which has the potential to increase persistence and graduation rates. 

Additionally, by attending the Bootcamp together, the 15 participants will strengthen their OER networks and will be able to support each other through their OER adoption wins and challenges. We look forward to learning more about how the participants will leverage their Creative Commons Certification throughout the country’s largest postsecondary educational system.

Michelson 20MM is a private, nonprofit foundation seeking to accelerate progress towards a more just world through grantmaking, operating programs, and impact investing. Co-chaired and funded by Alya and Gary Michelson, Michelson 20MM is part of the Michelson Philanthropies network of foundations.

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