I came to the Creative Commons (CC) certificate program for educators upon being awarded an Open Education Resources (OER) training grant. As a community college nursing instructor, I was very interested in learning about potentially free resources for my students. The knowledge that I gained through the course has opened my eyes to so much more than I expected.
When I started searching for OER for nursing education, I found that OER textbooks for use in nursing education are very limited. This presents a wide-open opportunity for scholarly activity in developing these resources.
Nursing OER use in the community college setting can have a profound positive impact. First and foremost, these free resources will reduce expenses associated with nursing education. One of the great benefits of attending community college is affordability. Many students are first-generation college students and come from disparate backgrounds. Our mission is to make education attainable for these students. This will potentially change the student’s lives and the lives of future generations.
Textbooks are a huge expense for nursing students. The expenses can be a major barrier for students in the community college setting from a financial standpoint. This is where CC licensing of OER comes into play.
Creative Commons licensing is a method of copyrighting OER. Copyright entails the laws surrounding how creative works are used. Basically, the laws determine how others can use creative works.
The internet has opened access to sharing creative works vastly. With the endless possibilities of sharing, are the challenges of regulating how the works are used, specifically how the creator can control the use of their own works.
Creative Commons licensing provides a method for creators to copyright their creative works. Specifically, CC provides a global standard for use and reuse of creative works. Creative Commons has six different licenses that can be applied to OER, ranging from most restrictive to least restrictive. There are currently over 1.6 billion creative works licensed with CC licenses. The least restrictive license is the CC BY license, which enables users of the works to copy, adapt or modify, distribute (publish, display, publicly perform or communicate the work), or license to others. The most restrictive license is CC BY-NC-ND, meaning that the creative works cannot be used commercially and may not be adapted in any way.
The Goals of CC
One goal of CC is to increase the amount of openly licensed creativity in “the commons” — the body of work freely available for legal use, sharing, repurposing, and remixing. Using CC licenses, millions of people around the world have made their photos, videos, writing, music, and other creative content available for any member of the public to use.
Developing CC licensed OER, specifically CC-BY licensed works in nursing will help remove barriers to getting a college degree. Not only will this potentially benefit students of your own college, the OER has the potential to benefit students across the globe.
Nursing faculty have the knowledge and skills to develop OER. Most nursing faculty are educated at the master's and doctoral levels and are considered subject matter experts on the content that they teach. As a result, they could create OER for their classes and share these works with other nurse educators.
In the community college setting, we are not required to publish, as our major focus is on teaching. Developing OER for our students can be an integral part of the educational process. As an educator, I find myself scouring resources that my students have paid for in an effort to organize these resources to fit our curriculum. I can see where having an OER specifically adapted to my curriculum would be very beneficial to organizing the class, but also from the financial impact that it would have on my students. Thus, reducing their overall expenses.
From the educator’s perspective, time can be a limiting factor, especially when we have a full plate of activities in progress. Pooling resources can be a great scholarly endeavor. Additionally, this addresses the problems that have been outlined that can potentially impede the progress of nursing students in the community college setting from meeting their goal of becoming nurses.
The CC certificate program has broadened my horizons on how I can help further the mission of the community college nursing program. The problem is that many nursing faculty members in the community college system do not even know that CC licensing exists and the ease that it provides in helping them to share their creative works, specifically nursing OER. I was unaware myself before taking the CC certificate course.
My plan is to start sharing this information within my circles of influence. I plan to share with my colleagues within my nursing program, as well as, colleagues within the community college association, and my state nursing association. I will start by introducing CC licensing. I also plan to develop OER adapted to my nursing program curriculum. Finally, I will license my OER with a CC-BY license so that it can be shared broadly.
The Changing of Times
Change can be difficult, but I plan to collaborate with colleagues within the courses that I teach to start developing OER for those courses. I am developing OER for my
upcoming courses as part of my final project for the CC Certificate Course. This will provide tangible evidence to use when educating my peers on the development of OER, and the ease of the CC licensing process.
The knowledge that I have gained through the CC certification course has given me a new sense of accomplishment as a community college nursing instructor.
I feel that a new world of information has provided a mechanism to help impact the nursing profession and the students that I serve. I am very excited about the future with CC licensing of nursing OER for community college education. I hope to spread this excitement across the nursing community and create a spark for empowering our students to reach their goals.