A centre of research and practice to develop and promote open educational resources

Licensing and Source Materials

The mission of FCC is to support free curricula — open educational resources (OER). The two definitions for the word free that apply are "unencumbered" and "costless".

Unencumbered, or free in the sense of academic freedom, means that anyone is welcome to take an FCC curriculum and modify it to suit his or her needs. Our goal is to work together to light a fire of knowledge that spreads as quickly as possible throughout the world.

Costless, or free in the sense of not having to pay money, means that there is no charge to download curricula from the FCC web site. Text documents, like textbooks and instructor guides, are available in RTF and PDF format to any who wish to obtain them. Audio/visual presentations are similarly released in accessible formats.

The most free that a work can be is if it is released into the public domain or with a waiver through which authors completely disclaim copyright. In this case, the work is completely free of copyright, and no rights have been reserved. The work may be used, copied, downloaded, modified and sold as its readers see fit. It is irrevocable to place a work into the public domain or to release it under a comparable waiver, so those who do so may be comforted that it may not be copyrighted by anyone else. It is FCC's preference to release works in this fashion.

Sometimes it is better to adapt existing material that carries a license that does not allow adaptations to be released into the public domain, however. There are a number of licenses that can be applied to a curriculum or other document to provide wide ranging freedoms to its readers and other users. When a committee is organized to start a new project, its Chair selects the least restrictive license under which the project's output may be released. Options include:

However licensed, a project will include textbook chapters and related instructor guide materials. It may also include a series of audio-video lectures or other multimedia materials.

Suggestions for Source Materials

Although the task of drafting a set of textbook chapters sufficient for an entire course, much less an entire undergraduate program, may seem daunting, it is not necessarily required to do so starting from an entirely blank slate. There are a number of sources for material which may be incorporated into the curriculum with varying degrees of revision: