Creative Commons licenses enable much of the open content across the arts, sciences, and academia, including open educational resources (OER). Creative Commons (CC) offers CC Certificate courses, or training on CC licensing and open tools, which have become a key tool for open communities around the world. Currently, 1,459 people from 65 countries have been  Creative Commons (CC) Certified, having taken and passed one of the CC Certificate courses. Given Governor Gavin Newsom’s historic investment in California Community Colleges’ (CCCs) Zero-Textbook-Cost (ZTC) degree programs, it is critical to ensure faculty, students, and staff have the capacity they need to create, use, and share the open resources supported by this funding. For this reason, The Michelson 20MM Foundation is elated to award a 2023 OER Spark Grant to Creative Commons. 

“Creative Commons likes to say we put the open in open educational resources,” Jennryn Wetzler, Creative Commons Director of Learning and Training shared. “We have six different licenses and two public domain tools that enable creators to legally share their copyrighted content much more flexibly than traditional, ‘all rights reserved’ copyright. They’re applied to over 2.5 billion works online and enable sharing, enable adaptation, and remix—and so much innovation and learning.” 

The Creative Commons Bootcamp is a proven model in California and beyond. CC has found that just one CC graduate on a campus can have a ripple effect—increasing open education awareness, acceptance, and use within their community. In January, Creative Commons, in partnership with the CCC Academic Senate’s OER Initiative, helped 12 individuals from the CCC system receive their CC Certification through a Michelson Spark Grant. Less than eight months later, the 12 graduates have hosted OER tutorials, planned OER conferences, developed Libretext training for faculty, and mapped ZTC conversions courses—further exemplifying the value of having a CC Certified individual on campus. 

Building upon the success of the Bay Area Bootcamp, and acutely aware of the importance of an impactful ZTC funding implementation throughout the CCC system, CC is partnering with the CCC Academic Senate’s OER Initiative again to host a Bootcamp for 25 Southern California CCC faculty. Not only does the expanded training further the goal of bringing more CC Certified experts to the 116 CCCs, but also it provides key stakeholders within the CCC system the opportunity to be connected with OER and ZTC experts throughout the world, providing support as the newly CC Certified individuals work on creating, adopting, and maintaining ZTC programs on their campuses. 

True to the nature of open access, CC Certificate courses are openly licensed, which enables graduates to not only reuse, but also remix the material within their institutions if other faculty and staff members are interested. This means that the investment in individuals from 25 community colleges has the potential to impact at least 22% of the CCC system.

As OER gains momentum throughout the state and nation, CC anticipates that the Bootcamp will fill up quickly. In order to ensure it has the intended impact, CC and the CCC Academic Senate will share registration information; they will focus on priority registration, but also establish a wait-list to maximize the number of CCC campuses involved. It will be exciting to see how the 25 campuses leverage the training and inspire other CCCs to embrace OER.

“OER lets students have access to the materials they need to succeed free of cost, largely due to open copyright and Creative Commons licenses,” Cailyn Nagle, OER Program Manager stated. “Creative Commons has been an invaluable resource to the state–and beyond–and we are thrilled to extend CC Bootcamp participation to an additional 25 California Community Colleges.”

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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