Ask Paul: One day with an expert Q&A

Ask Paul: One day with an expert Q&A

by Sylvia Currie -
Number of replies: 9

Have you been saving up your questions? If you've had a chance to explore some of the Week 2 resources and to ponder how you will apply all of this to your own work, you've no doubt been curious or fuzzy about a few things. Now is your chance to get those questions answered!

We're delighted to have Paul Stacey from Creative Commons join us for:

One-Day With An Expert Q & A 
Thursday, October 3rd

Paul will be on board to respond to YOUR questions. Hit the reply button and ask away!

Paul Stacey - Ask me anything!

p.s. This captioned image was created on the website. There's nothing superlame about us! :-)

In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: Ask Paul: One day with an expert Q&A

by Sylvia Currie -

First of all, thanks so much for participating in this workshop, Paul!  

I'm going to jump in with a question that's been on my mind. We hear over and over again about how students will benefit from open textbooks (and other OER) because they are free. 

What are some other benefits for students working with faculty that adopt Creative Commons Licenses for their courses/materials?

In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: Ask Paul: One day with an expert Q&A

by Paul Stacey -


Thanks for inviting me.

I enjoyed reading through the general forum. Great to see SCoPE sessions attracting such a diverse and distributed group of participants. Also good to see the various open textbooks and open textbook initiatives people are mentioning. Feels like some real traction and progress is taking place.

I too have been thinking a lot about the benefits to students from open textbooks and other OER.

The one that gets touted the most is cost savings but I've come to think that there are additional benefits that may end up being even more important than saving money. Lets deal with the cost savings one first and then move on to explore some of the other benefits.

Textbook prices have been rising at four times the rate of inflation. The average annual cost for college textbooks is over $1200. The cost of textbooks is cited as one of the top 2 reasons students drop out. Interestingly faculty have for the most part not been particularly sensitive to the price of the books they assign.

Open textbooks are changing this entire picture by reducing the cost of textbooks dramatically. The 20 Million Minds infographic shows the picture well and there are lots of other report outs on the cost savings such as this from OpenStax and this from Open Course Library.

Clearly the cost savings alone are compelling but there are other benefits such as:

  • open textbooks can be revised continuously ensuring the content is up-to-date
  • open textbooks can be modified, localized and customized to meet faculty and student needs
  • open textbooks can be complemented with other supplemental resources - worksheets, exercises, activities, videos, links to other resources creating a richer more dynamic learning experience
  • open textbooks can be kept by the student as reference resources for their entire academic career

Open Intro produced an interesting couple of graphcis comparing the Expensive Textbook Model to the Free Textbook Model which shows the kind of flow and enhanced learning experience that can be attained.

Finally let me just say that a relatively untapped benefit is that students can become co-creators of education materials in this process. If I was teaching courses right now I'd have have all students contribute something that adds to or improves the course overall. This could be a section of an open textbook or any resource used for teaching and learning.


In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: Ask Paul: One day with an expert Q&A

by Carole Mackewich -

Hi Paul,

I have been searching "high and low" for a college level Career Development Text that I can adapt. I've checked all of the OER resources that have been given in this course, and can't find a thing.  I know I can't write my  own text in the one quarter sabbatical I have to make this happen.  Do you have suggestions? 

I'm also looking for pieces I could use and then write transitions and exercises for.  I've found some material in the Gale Encyclopedia related to Career Development Theorists and am trying to figure out if this is a CC resource? Do Enclopedias fit this copyright?

Also, if my students download the text (if it ever gets written), is that a problem with copyrights?


Carole M.

Clark College

In reply to Carole Mackewich

Re: Ask Paul: One day with an expert Q&A

by Paul Stacey -


I did some searching through the open textbook sources I know of for a Career Development textbook but came up empty. Expect Career Development may not yet have a textbook written that you can adapt. You get to be the originating author! :)

Boundless has some interesting options related to open textbook replacements for traditional Career Development texts. You can check those out by searching for Career Development in the Find your Book field at

While I didn't find a complete Career Development textbook I did find Career Development Open Educational Resources (OER). These are instructional and course materials that are openly licensed and may be suitable for you to use/adapt as part of creating a textbook. To find these resources go to the following sites and search for Career Development:

The Open University in the UK has a openly licensed course on Careers education and guidance that may also be useful:

I also should say that the US Dept of Labor has a large grant program called TAACCCT that is funding collages to create stackable/latticed credentials that provide workers with skills and knowledge to work in high growth industry sectors. Everything the colleges develop in this program must be openly licensed with a CC BY license which allows everyone to reuse. All of the TAACCCT programs involve Career Coaches. If you do a Google search for "DOL TAACCCT; career coaching" you'll uncover some of this work and the people involved.

In my work with DOL TAACCCT grantees many of them are also searching for open educational resources. To help them I authored a Find OER page at which you might find a useful place to start searches from.

You mention you've found some material in the Gale Encyclopedia related to Career Development Theorists and am trying to figure out if this is a CC resource? Gale publishes a huge array of resources and I'm not sure exactly which one you found this in. However, the Gale resources I looked at are all copyrighted. This doesn't necessarily mean you can't use that material. But to use it you'd have to decide whether it fits within whats allowed in terms of fair use and then appropriately reference it or if you want to use a large amount ask for permission to use. Most openly licensed resources are readily identifiable as they are typically marked with the Creative Commons icons as shown in the Licenses section of this page When you find a resource look for one of those icons or look to see if it has the copyright symbol on it or read the terms of use.

You ask if it will be a problem if your students download the text you write. You will be the copyright holder for your textbook. However, as is being discussed in this open textbook seminar you can give permissions for others (including students) to use your work  by simply placing a Creative Commons license on it.

In reply to Paul Stacey

Re: Ask Paul: One day with an expert Q&A

by Carole Mackewich -


You are awesome! Thanks for the resources; I'm going to check them out.

I greatly appreciate your expertise and generosity; you've saved me a lot of time and given me some hope!

Carole :o)

In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: Ask Paul: One day with an expert Q&A

by Gina Bennett -

Hi Paul, it's great to see your expertise so openly exposed here :) :) :)

I have a question... more of a philosophical one I think. I understand the differences in CC licences & I certainly understand the value of having a "wide" open licence: a CC-BY gives incredible freedom to potential users. But I worry a bit that by honouring this ideal licence so much, we might de-value other good openness intentions. For example, at College of the Rockies this semester we have an instructor who took the bold move of adopting a free textbook for his students. (The course is Introductory Astronomy & the book is Astronomy Notes, by Nick Strobel & you can see it here: As you can see, this is NOT an open as in CC-BY sort of book. But to be honest, as far as the students are concerned it is "open" because it is openly available. The instructor is very happy with the quality too.

I'm just thinking we shouldn't be too hard on those who are generous enough to provide any level of openness to their creative works. Sure, it would be great if this particular author would re-licence his work for re-use etc. but if there's one thing we've all seen from this forum (& other places) openness is a journey & most people don't start at the ideal state.




In reply to Gina Bennett

Re: Ask Paul: One day with an expert Q&A

by Paul Stacey -


I agree with your observation that we should be thankful to anyone who is generous enough to provide any level of openness to their creative works. And its not just creative works. I see this generosity as a kind of sharing. I see this willingness to share as affecting lots of other aspects of society too. See Shareable for examples.

It's also great to hear how much students appreciate having course materials openly available on the web. I've looked at the example you gave - Nick Strobel's astronomy site. I totally agree that having available for free as a web site is great for students and I'm delighted to hear the quality is good too. This is worth celebrating and does represent a certain kind of openness and sharing.

Even though Nick's site is full copyright he offers it as a resource in astronomy education and encourages others to use it in their own astronomy courses or talks. That is generous.

Its also interesting to note whats in it for him. Whats in it for him includes:

  • Attribution: He specifies the notice of authorship he requires others to use. (In my view this is highly valuable to Nick. In higher education citations and examples of pervasive global use are part of how your performance is measured)
  • Money: Nick is offering his books for sale in hardcopy (unspecified amount) or as an e-book. The site says the e-book is cheaper than hardcopy - only about $55.60. Books are to ordered from McGraw Hill. (Supplementing your teaching salary with income from your course materials is certainly a practice that has been part of higher education for many years. If Nick teaches at a public institution and is paid by taxpayers to create his educational resources I think Nick should share them with the public.)
  •  Ownership Control - Nick's copyright notice specifies others should go to his site at for the updated and corrected version.

In Creative Commons lingo we might say Nick is using a CC BY-NC-ND license. NC meaning non-commercial (he retains commercial rights) and ND meaning he retains the rights to make changes.

There is nothing wrong with retaining these rights. However when I consider the educational potential of digital resources I see each of those as limitations. I think sometimes CC-BY is held out as the ideal license because it has the highest value and offers the greatest affordances for innovation - including pedagogical innovation.

In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: Ask Paul: One day with an expert Q&A

by Sylvia Currie -

Paul, we said "One day.." but we didn't specify which time zone :-D

I'd like to slide one more question in, if I may. If you're already onto your next project or running to catch another flight, I'll understand!

When choosing a license, I've never fully understood the implications of selecting a license jursdiction. I've tended to just leave the default "international" when using the license chooser. Does it mean if I'm in Canada I should select Canada? 

In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: Ask Paul: One day with an expert Q&A

by Paul Stacey -


Great question!

Creative Commons licenses are carefully developed by legal staff to work hand-in-hand with copyright law. Copyright law varies from nation to nation. Variations in copyright law have historically required Creative Commons licenses to be "ported" or adapted to particular nations to ensure legal accord.

When you are using the Creative Commons license chooser you can specify what nation you are from when choosing a license from the License Jurisdiction drop down menu. You'll see a large number of options (55+) available.

Creative Commons operates a wiki with extensive FAQ support. Others have asked a similar question. This link takes you to the FAQ answer to your question and provides another link to  "considerations you may wish to take into account before choosing an international or a ported license".

Creative Commons is just about to release version 4 of its licenses. A major effort in designing and developing the Creative Commons Version 4 licenses has been internationalization of the license language so that the default license addresses the needs (both legal and cultural) of users in all jurisdictions. To successfully accomplish the goal of internationalization Creative Commons engaged in a major collaboration with all of our CC affiliates around the world (+70)  as well as participation of our broader community of users. We're excited about the international nature of the resulting licenses.