Open Education Leadership Program 2017-2018

Will Cross

Open Education Leadership Fellow, Class of 2018



Will Cross is the the Director of the Copyright & Digital Scholarship Center in the NCSU Libraries and an instructor in the UNC School of Information and Library Science. Trained as a lawyer and librarian, he guides policy, speaks, and writes on open culture and navigating legal uncertainty. As presenter coordinator for the ACRL Scholarly Communication Roadshow, he has developed training materials and led workshops for international audiences from Ontario to Abu Dhabi. His research focuses on legal frameworks that support open culture and he currently serves as PI on two IMLS-funded projects on support for OER and open pedagogy.

Leadership Portfolio

Will served as a peer advisor in the first class of fellows to complete the Open Education Leadership Program during the 2017-18 pilot. As an OER advocate with a strong interest in developing legal and policy guidance in support of open pedagogy, Will’s work during the program focused on untangling the knots of legal and technical uncertainty related to openly licensing educational assessment materials such as test banks and answer keys.

With support from Creative Commons USA, Will’s capstone project guides educators through technical and practical questions about limiting access for students as well as legal issues related to copyright protection and licensing of materials with only thin copyright. This research resulted in a white paper that introduces the CLASS (Copyright, License, Attribution, Support, Share) framework that guides OER creators through key questions about the copyright status of these materials and the appropriate license for materials with uncertain or limited copyright protection. It also offers guidance and case studies that model proven approaches for collaborative work designing and openly-licensing these materials in traditional OER programs as well as in the emerging responsive platforms that support adoption and development of OER.

Current Work

Will’s white paper is currently under review as both a contribution to the legal literature and as a good practice resource for national OER organizations. It is expected to serve as a stream of research in his work on fair use and open pedagogy as a 2018-19 OER Research Fellow with the Open Education Group and an important component of his contribution to the Open Textbook Network’s OER Librarian Bootcamp, which will debut at ACRL 2019. It will also inform Will’s IMLS-funded work developing communities of practice that make OER a student-centered practice for scholarly communication.

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