By Cailyn Nagle

After months of prep meetings, weeks of pre-reading, and five full days of programming, the Creative Commons Bay Area Bootcamp has wrapped up as 12 California Community College (CCC) faculty earned their certification in Creative Commons Licensing. The rigorous training program is designed to help educators, academic librarians, and other learners develop comprehensive knowledge in open education, open access, and open practices. 

The content of the CC certification was practical and useful for our work as OER advocates,” shared Andrea Sorce, Assistant Professor of Economics at Diablo Valley College. “The most valuable element of the bootcamp, though, was getting to connect with colleagues at other colleges throughout the state, build community, and share resources and ideas.” As the CCC system works to scale up the use of OER, having professionals with deeper knowledge of open licensing allows campuses to implement open materials correctly and confidently. 

While the week was fantastic, it was not without challenges. As final preparations were being made, the weather in the Bay Area and throughout California continued to worsen. “Atmospheric rivers” entered many of our vocabularies for the first time, as the area was inundated by harsh winds and rain. Creative Commons, the participants, and partners were dedicated to continuing the program and we moved online for the first two days of the Bootcamp for the safety of all. Luckily, as the week progressed, conditions improved enough that we were able to meet in person on campus for most of the week. 

In spite of the extreme weather conditions, the week featured colorful hands-on activities to build an understanding of how to mix and remix materials with different types of open licenses. Participants spent time working together on OER related projects that will benefit the entire CCC community. There were lectures from lawyers, experts, and advocates, as well as opportunities for participants to share their experiences as OER practitioners in less structured but still open circles. Participants rounded out the week by sharing the group projects they spent the past several months planning and the past weeks working intensively to finish.

Open Educational Resources are more than free in the monetary sense, they have the power to free, to be liberatory. When educators are able to craft the ideal materials their students can use without barriers and librarians are able to curate that knowledge for everyone’s benefit, we come closer to the promise of Open. The Michelson 20MM Foundation was thrilled to invest in the CCC educators and librarians who make this work possible in partnership with the Academic Senate’s Open Educational Resources Initiative and the generosity of our host, Skyline College. As the system works toward implementing the $115 million investment in Zero Textbook Cost degrees, Michelson 20MM is committed to ensuring that OER practitioners have the tools they need to get to work. 

Michelson 20MM is a private, nonprofit foundation working toward equity for underserved and historically underrepresented communities by expanding access to educational and employment opportunities, increasing affordability of educational programs, and ensuring the necessary supports are in place for individuals to thrive. To do so, we work in the following verticals: Digital Equity, Intellectual Property, Smart Justice, Student Basic Needs, and Open Educational Resources (OER). Co-chaired and funded by Alya and Gary Michelson, Michelson 20MM is part of the Michelson Philanthropies network of foundations.

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