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Open Education

High-quality 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.

Department of Education Final Regulation on Open Licensing

Requirement for Competitive Grant Programs

The Open Licensing Requirement for Competitive Grant Programs d requires , with certain exceptions, that grantees receiving Department funds under a competitive grant program openly license copyrightable grant deliverables created with those funds. We believe  the rule  significantly enhances dissemination of valuable educational resources and provides stakeholders with greater access to use, reuse, and modify these deliverables. Essentially, making 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.

Read the Final Regulation and our blog announcing its release.

Read the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and public comments.

NPRM Frequently Asked Questions: Open License NPRM FAQs, Updated November 18, 2015.

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.
  • Keep Content Relevant and High Quality – Traditional textbooks are perpetually outdated, forcing districts to re-invest significant portions of their budgets on replacing them. The terms of use of openly licensed educational resources allows educators to maintain the quality and relevance of their materials through continuous updates.
  • 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.
  • Reallocate 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.

U.S. Department of Education Announces Final Regulation on Open Licensing…

Building on the work of these and other grantees who have led the way with open licenses, today we are announcing a rule that will significantly enhance dissemination of…


Providing Course Access

The 2017 National Education Technology Plan, the most-recently issued national technology plan, issued by the U.S. Department of Education, defines openly licensed…


Department of Education Seeks Public Comment on the Open Textbook Pilot Program

Designing Postsecondary Education that Reduces Cost and Increases Access for all Students