Open EducationWe believe that educational opportunities should be available to all learners. Creating an open education ecosystem involves making learning materials, data, and educational opportunities available without restrictions imposed by copyright laws, access barriers, or exclusive proprietary systems that lack interoperability and limit the free exchange of information.
Openly Licensed Educational Resources
In the 2017 National Education Technology Plan, the Department defines openly licensed educational resources as teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under a license that permits their free use, reuse, modification, and sharing with others. Digital openly licensed resources can include complete online courses, modular digital textbooks as well as more granular resources such as images, videos, and assessment items.
The U.S. Department of Education’s #GoOpen initiative supports States and districts choosing to transition to the use of openly licensed educational resources to transform teaching and learning. Learn what it takes to be a #GoOpen District or State:
Implementing an Open Approach
Across the country, districts are choosing to #GoOpen and transitioning to the use of openly licensed educational resources to improve student learning in their schools. This resource is designed for districts that have decided to implement a systematic approach to incorporating openly licensed educational resources into their curriculum by becoming a #GoOpen District.
The Learning Registry is an open database where content creators and educators can share information about digital educational resources. The Learning Registry is based on the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI) which provides common language for tagging resources according to quality, keyword, and alignment to curricular standards. The Learning Registry supports educator voices to help define which resources are most relevant or useful.
Department of Education Final Regulation on Open Licensing Requirement for Competitive Grant Programs
On October 29, 2015 the Department announced proposed regulations that would require copyrightable intellectual property created with Department competitive grant funds to have an open license.
The Department has announced final regulations that require, with certain exceptions, that grantees receiving Department funds under a competitive grant program openly license copyrightable grant deliverables created with those funds. We believe that the rule will significantly enhance dissemination of valuable educational resources and provide stakeholders with greater access to use, reuse, and modify these deliverables. This will make it easier for education stakeholders, such as LEAs, SEAs, IHEs, teachers, students, and others to benefit from Department funded learning materials, even if they are not themselves recipients of Department funds. The final regulations became effective on May 22, 2017 and the Department will fully implement this rule for all applicable competitive grant programs beginning in FY 2018.
Read the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and public comments.
NPRM Frequently Asked Questions: Open License NPRM FAQs, Updated November 18, 2015.
How Williamsfield Schools Decided to #GoOpen
Building on openly licensed resources, the Williamsfield School District leveraged education technology to save families and taxpayers money while providing unique, targeted learning opportunities for each student.
Why use Openly Licensed Educational Resources?
Resources that are openly licensed benefit schools in a number of ways, but most notably they help to:
- Increase Equity – All students have access to high quality learning materials that have the most up-to-date and relevant content because openly licensed educational resources can be freely distributed to anyone.
- Empower Teachers – Openly licensed educational resources empower teachers as creative professionals by giving them the ability to adapt and customize learning materials to meet the needs of their students without breaking copyright laws.
- Save Money – Switching to educational materials that are openly licensed enables schools to repurpose funding spent on textbooks for other pressing needs, such as investing in the transition to digital learning. In some districts, replacing just one textbook has made tens of thousands of dollars available for other purposes.
Open data is the idea that data should be freely available to the public—both technically and legally—to use and redistribute without limitation. When high-value data sets are publicly available practitioners, researchers, and the public can use the data to inform their work in classroom and communities across America.
Open data follows the following principles:
- Public – available to all in accordance with the law and the Office of Management and Budget’s Open Government Directive.
- Accessible – available to the widest range of users in a machine-readable format that is non-exclusive and usable without restriction.
- Remixable – available under an open license that allows others to use, share, and add to data without restriction.