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Greetings Open Colleagues:

The Babson Survey Research Group has released a new report: Growing the Curriculum: Open Education Resources in U.S. Higher Education (download links below).

This sentence is of particular concern to me: "One concept very important to many in the OER field was rarely mentioned at all – licensing terms such as creative commons that permit free use or re-purposing by others."

I think I'll run a webinar series (as many as it takes) for Chief Academic Officers to help them better understand: (1) OER and (2) the difference between "free" and "open."
  1. Hewlett's OER Definition begins:  “OER are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others.”
    • Notice the “and”. An OER cannot be freely available or openly licensed – it must be both freely available and openly licensed (or in the public domain) to be an OER.

  2. Open vs. Free: “Free” gives you “no-cost” or gratis access to a resource. “Open” provides both gratis and libre access to a resource. It is the open license that gives you the legal permissions to reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute the resource.
And... it is (again) disappointing to see a report, about OER, licensed "all rights reserved."  It would also be helpful if they used Hewlett's updated OER definition.  Perhaps we can convince them to put a CC license on the report and update the definition.
Those points aside, there is a significant amount of useful and hopeful information in the report and infographic.  For example, I like this clear list of OER challenges to be solved:
  • Difficulty in searching
  • Lack of a comprehensive catalog
  • Concerns about the time to learn and use
  • Need better mapping to learning outcomes
  • Lack of support for non-local curriculum
  • Lack of faculty ratings and comments


Cable Green, PhD
Director of Global Learning
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Babson Survey Research Group <>
Date: Fri, Nov 9, 2012 at 1:26 PM
Subject: Open Education Resources report released - download link

Dear Educator,

Thank you for your interest in our report on Open Education Resources. The report, entitled Growing the Curriculum: Open Education Resources in U.S. Higher Education, is available as a free download.

We hope that you find our survey reports valuable.  You can download other Babson Survey Research Group reports at:

We always welcome comments. Please use our suggestion form to let us now how we can improve the survey process or the content of the reports. You can also contact us at
Best Regards,

I. Elaine Allen, PhD
Jeff Seaman, PhD
Co-Directors, The Babson Survey Research Group

********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at


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Hi Joshua:

I agree - for many end users - "free" is enough.

Though I expect (and would hope) Chief Academic Officers will want to (a) understand and (b) help their faculty understand why the legal rights to reuse, revise, remix and redistribute educational content is important in (and for) the academy.


Message from

Hi Cable,

Agreed lots of work needed to inform decision-makers of what OER is, the dimensions of openness and enablers provided by Creative Commons licenses. We need to scale up access to capability development with initiatives like Open Content Licensing for Educators and the School of Open at P2PU / Creative Commons. 

We need to debunk the myths and red herrings that we so often hear associated with OER. For example, our survey data from +800 educators world wide confirms that:

  • The majority of educators have heard about the concepts of OER and CC (+ 78% of respondents)
  • 95% of educators believe that education materials funded by tax payer dollars should be released freely
  • +78% disagree that time, incentives and quality concerns are not the reasons for reluctance to use OER.
(See Slideshare summary of the OER Foundation's data.) 

I think the one way to address the barriers will be through open capability development for all educators worldwide using the OER model.


Message from

Cable et al., Here is a graphic that hopefully explains the difference between free and open a little more clearly. Note that it is openly licensed - please make it prettier if you'd like. :) David
Well said, David... and so quick ;)

I am now in direct conversation with the report authors.  I am asking them to (a) update the Hewlett OER definition and (b) put a CC license on their report.

I've also offered to set up the webinar series for CAOs I mentioned in my initial note.

Making progress...

Good weekend all,


Message from

Hi Jacky:

Always nice to hear from you.

My comments are inserted below.

Have a nice weekend all,


Message from


(1) I worked with the report authors this weekend, and they have revised the report to include Hewlett's updated OER definition.

(2) We also discussed if they were willing to put an open license on the report. After much discussion about their need for notification upon use, the opted to stay with their existing terms:
  • Copyright ©2012 by Babson Survey Research Group and Quahog Research Group, LLC. Permission is hereby granted for all non-commercial use of this report provided that notification is provided to and proper attribution is included. Commercial use may also be granted – inquire at
I'd like to that Jeff Seaman and Elaine Allen for engaging these topics over the weekend.

Have a good week everyone,