“CC and its licenses are part of the infrastructure that powers the web we know and love. But building the licenses is just the first step; the next step is to use those licenses as a tool for change. All of us can work together to demonstrate the value of sharing to individuals, governments, policy-makers, institutions, and corporations, and to build a future in which everyone is more free to participate in society.”
Read CC board chair Paul Brest’s letter from our annual report.
In his address on open government at the United Nations, US President Barack Obama underscored the importance of open educational resources.
OpenMedia.ca’s Our Digital Future lays out a set of common-sense recommendations for restructuring copyright law in a way that benefits everyone.
Your daily awesome from the internet. Check out the Creative Commons Thing of the Day.
The School of Open is taking off all over Africa. Find out what’s next and how to get involved.
- Creative Commons is proud to be named a Knight Prototype Fund recipient. We have exciting plans.
- Find out why CC policies are great news for education in New Zealand.
- ccMixter launches its first-ever crowdfunding campaign.
- What happens when open data professionals from 30 countries gather in Mexico City.
- A new California law will open the door to more public access to taxpayer-funded research.
- Being a distributed team lets us spend more time interacting with the people who use Creative Commons tools and share our mission. Creative Commons goes (even more) virtual.
In September, the School of Open Africa launched with nine programs distributed across four jurisdictions: Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, and South Africa. Kayode from CC Nigeria announced in the launch in August, and now we want to give you an update on how the programs (some ongoing) and launch events fared! We also want to preview more events to take place during Open Access Week and tell you our plans for the future of School of Open in Africa.School of Open Kenya
Simeon from Jamlab says, “We hosted 20 girls from Precious Blood Secondary School, Riruta for the [launch] event. The goal was to work with these students to map out education as they currently experience it in their school and figure out how best to incorporate Open Education in their learning. For most of the afternoon, the emphasis on the workshop centered on figuring out how the students could incorporate Open Education in their learning. After a brief discussion, we mapped out learning and education activities as follows:
- Lectures/Class instruction
- Private study/prep
- Group study
- Revision of past examination papers
- Student Symposiums
We asked them if we could add aspects of Open Education to this list. Very few of the students had heard about Open Education or understood its value at this point. We discussed Open Education in a little more detail: We explored the concept of the commons, copyright and copyleft and how the Creative Commons suite of licenses has enabled the Open Education movement globally.”
The future of SOO Kenya:
“One of the themes that stood out is getting school administrations and teachers to understand and make an investment in Open Education. This will be Jamlab’s focus in the coming year. While we work with administrators and teachers, we encouraged students to begin to demonstrate the value of Open Education by creating demand for it in the following ways: consume OER’s and integrate them in their learning, and pro-actively create and share OER’s with other students from other schools.”School of Open Tanzania
Paul from CC Tanzania says, “The program officially launched at Academic International Primary School (AIPS) in Dar es Salaam whereby 15 students from grades four to seven got the opportunity to learn how to code, designing animated picture (cartoons) by using open educational resources through the web.”
The future of SOO Tanzania:
“The event also marked the launch of three other training programs around ICT empowerment training for unemployed youth, teaching persons with disabilities how to use computers, and training educators on using ICT to improve how they teach their students in Tanzania that will be coordinated by CC Tanzania and the Open University of Tanzania.”
CC Tanzania will also highlight the importance of open access to research during Open Access Week in collaboration with the Tanzania Medical Students Association (TAMSA).School of Open Nigeria
Kayode from CC Nigeria says, “Creative Commons Nigeria with support from Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Linux Professional Institute (Nigerian Master Affiliate) and Mozilla Foundation hosted the School of Open. The School of Open is a five week open course that holds every Saturday between 11am till 4pm. The first week started on September 13th with participants been trained on the basics of Intellectual Property, Linux Operating System and using simple Mozilla tools to design websites.”
The future of SOO Nigeria:
The five-week programs wrapped over the weekend with a discussion on plans for sustaining the community. The next phase will be to take School of Open Nigeria online with the present participants acting as moderators. Meanwhile, people and institutions in two different states (Imo State and Obafemi Awolowo University, Osun State) have requested that Creative Commons Nigeria come replicate School of Open in their societies. The aim of School of Open Nigeria will be to have an online learning place where people can go to learn at any time without any cost or time restrictions.School of Open South Africa
Kelsey from CC South Africa says they already ran their School of Open CC4Kids course as part of Code4CT’s Maker Party back in July, and since then have been planning the next phase of Kumusha Bus, aka Kumusha Bus 2.0, which is “a remix of Libre Bus and designed to ensure collaboration with local members of the open community to have a week of Open Movement chaos and fun that spreads the ideas behind the movement and gets more people and organisations involved in your country.” Kumusha Bus is a collaboration of WikiAfrica, Creative Commons, and School of Open.
The future of SOO South Africa:
Kelsey & co are planning to expand CC4Kids into a full course pack designed to teach kids about Wikipedia, open journalism, open data, and open/citizen science. As part of this expansion, a session will be run at the upcoming Mozilla Festival called “OpenMe – Kids Can Open”.
School of Open Africa is hosting another event next week, 22 October, to launch its entrance into the higher education space. Four courses will be developed in collaboration with the C4DLab, the University of Nairobi’s innovation hub, and will be licensed CC BY. The project is a response to ICT playing a critical role in expanding the knowledge economy of Africa; the OER will be developed by and for Africans; and the hope is to replicate the process in other universities. In addition, certificates will be awarded to participants of CC Kenya’s CopyrightX satellite from earlier this year, a panel discussion on OER will be featured, and SOO Kenya will present its work to date. The event and C4DLab OER project is made possible with technical support from UNESCO and generous support from the Hewlett Foundation. Stay tuned for a more detailed announcement of this event next week!
At its core, School of Open is about equipping communities with the tools to help them do what they already do better. Creative Commons licenses and the open resources they enable empowers users around the world to, as Simeon of SOO Kenya says, “build on what we already know.” He says,
I think one thing we often forget to highlight when it comes to education is how we learn… We learn by building on what we already know. We believe Open Education is one sure way of building on what we already know to advance ourselves.
We are seeking to expand School of Open to other regions, in and beyond Africa. The upcoming Mozilla Festival will feature a session on mapping School of Open programs from around the world and hone in on areas with maximum potential for impact — where we can “train the trainers” or otherwise empower student and educator communities to start up programs for themselves. Find out how you can get involved!About the School of Open
The School of Open is a global community of volunteers that provides free education opportunities on the meaning, application, and impact of “openness” in the digital age and its benefit to creative endeavors, education, and research. Volunteers develop and run courses, workshops, and training programs on topics such as Creative Commons licenses, open educational resources, and sharing creative works. The School of Open is coordinated by Creative Commons and P2PU, a nonprofit that builds and supports learning communities on the web.
Today, the Knight Foundation announced the selected recipients of its latest Prototype Fund. We’re very proud to be among them, with a new project that probably sounds a bit outside of our normal work to those familiar with CC. Here’s why we’re doing it:
When I joined as CEO, I was tasked with imagining the next phase of Creative Commons. Now that we have the licenses, what do we want to do with them? How do we build a wide-reaching commons of creativity and knowledge, with easy contribution, use, and re-use? After talking with dozens of partners, funders, our global affiliate network, and our staff, I think it boils down to three areas: building a movement, driving content into the commons, and helping creators get content out.
Today’s announcement from Knight works in the first and second categories: pushing content into the commons, while engaging a new group of contributors. We will create a mobile app to encourage people to take photos and share them from a list of “most wanted” images. Organizations and individuals will put out the call, and users will be prompted to respond – including (eventually for those who want them) with geo-tagged notifications (“Ryan, we see you’re at the Mozilla Festival. Would you grab a photo of coders hacking the Web?”). All images will be uploaded to a public repository and licensed under CC BY, so anyone can use them. Creators will see their work used more widely, and maybe even “compete” to take the best photo. Internally, we’re calling it “The List, powered by Creative Commons.”
CC tech lead Matt Lee is working with the talented folks in Toronto’s Playground Inc. to create the prototype, and we will be testing our assumptions over the coming months. Everything will be done in the open – we’ll be at the Mozilla Festival in London, UK, later this month sharing our initial work and gathering ideas.
This is new ground for us, but we’re excited about the potential – for better stock photography, better photos on Wikipedia, better citizen journalism, and a wider pool of contributors who have helped to build the commons. Lots more to come, but we’re grateful for Knight’s support and guidance.
The following is a guest post by Ariel Diaz, Founder and CEO of Boundless, a platform for the creation of open textbooks that are community-built and CC BY-SA-licensed.
Boundless / CC BY-SA
By empowering a dedicated community of contributors in open resources, Creative Commons has given education a strong foundation for creating and sharing content. Beyond the broadly touted affordability and accessibility benefits of open resources, the flexibility these resources offer makes them practical for students and educators everywhere. Now, Boundless is leveraging the power of these open resources and the community to write the future of educational content — and we invite you to join us!
Universal access to education is a right
The wealth of Creative Commons licensed content is core to our efforts at Boundless to make access to high-quality educational content a universal right. All of our content is available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license — which gives us a great combination of openness and flexibility, and assures that derivative works stay in the Commons so others can benefit.
Boundless offers content in more than 20 introductory-level college subjects for free on our website and mobile app. Using the CC BY-SA license on our content means an educator can use an article about Long-Term Memory, for example, as content in their classroom and adapt it for their syllabus. Students will save money by using open resources, and educators can share their customized version of that content with the greater Boundless community for further re-use.
Boundless / CC BY-SA
Open content succeeds because of a powerful community
We’re seeing a transition in educational publishing from physical to digital. This transition has been slowed by a conservative industry and lack of great products, but we’re now in a time where entrepreneurs, educators, and more are challenging the status quo to create better teaching and learning opportunities. This gives us an opportunity to create communities of learners, educators, and content creators to build a better, more effective learning experience powered by open content.
I believe that open content succeeds because of its powerful community. The educators, researchers, and more who are motivated to share their work with others keep the flow of education materials moving to benefit their teaching and learning communities. The power of this community means we can challenge the status quo in education — and no longer tolerate static, expensive resources.
Over the past three years, the team at Boundless has worked with an internal community of hundreds of subject matter experts to create and curate open resources for our library of 21 subjects. This foundational content has served more than 3 million students and educators.
We’re committed to not only providing universal access to this content, but also building a collaborative, powerful community to create more content. That’s why I’m proud to share that we’ve brought on one of community education’s biggest advocates as a new Boundless advisor: SJ Klein, a veteran Wikipedian. SJ says,
“Tapping the minds of the teaching community brings great power to educational content. I look forward to working with Boundless as its community grows, not just to create more freely-licensed material, but to provide greater access to it, and make it personalizable.”
SJ is helping us grow and hone our cloud-powered community — so Boundless can do to textbooks what Wikipedia did for encyclopedias.
Write the future of education
For the first time, Boundless is opening up our platform to empower a community of educators and open resource supporters to create, improve, and share educational content. And we’re inviting Creative Commons supporters to help us write the future of education.
The new Boundless cloud-powered community allows for collaboration across disciplines, so contributors can create, edit, and customize content. All content created or customized uses a Creative Commons license (CC BY-SA) to ensure a greater distribution across platforms — making universal access to education a right, not a privilege.
Be part of the future of education by joining our community!
OpenMedia.ca just released Our Digital Future: A Crowdsourced Agenda for Free Expression. OpenMedia developed the publication through consultations and surveys with many organizations that care about free expression on the internet. It’s organized around three principles: Respect Creators, Prioritize Free Expression, and Embrace Democratic Processes.
OpenMedia’s report makes a clear and compelling case for a better copyright framework – one that is authored by all of us, developed in the open, and for the benefit of everyone. Too often, monied interests and secret negotiations work against the commons, and we all lose out as a result. We look forward to working alongside OpenMedia to make its thoughtful recommendations a reality, and we hope that this report inspires many more to join us.
At the very beginning of October, Creative Commons’ OER policy project organised a two-day workshop in Porto, gathering 15 Open Education enthusiasts, educators, advisors, lawyers and experts on Creative Commons licensing. Apart from representatives from CC Sweden, CC Spain, CC Poland, CC Netherlands and of course CC Portugal, we were very happy to be able to reach out to other communities and have Rob from OER Research Hub present, as well as Ana and Ricardo from Journalism++, Eduardo who is conducting a PhD on OER, and last but not least from Heitor Alvelos, creator of the Future Places festival. The event was the first official event organised by the “rebooted” CC Portugal, at the wonderful lab space of the Science and Technology Park of the University of Porto (UPTEC).
Proud participants: John (CC Germany, Lisette (CC Netherlands), Alek (CC Poland), Gwen (CC), Eduardo (U. of Porto), Kamil (CC Poland); bottom row: Fatima (CC Portugal), Rob (OER Research Hub), Teresa (CC Portugal), Ricardo (Journalism++/Manufactura Independente), Ignasi (CC Spain). Photo: Kristina Alexanderson (CC Sweden), CC BY
The workshop was organized at the end of the initial “OER Policy for Europe” project, with the goal of creating a basis for the continuation of our work. To this end, we decided to create a toolkit that can be used to organize a self-learning workshop on Open Educational Resources and policies that support them. With the help of the toolkit, we would like to ask OER enthusiasts to organize such workshops around the world, during the Open Education Week in 2015.
The toolkit, as we imagine it, should consist of following materials:
- Workshop materials:
- Concept of a modular workshop scenario, with each module addressing one of key aspects and issues around OER
- Guidebook with a step-by-step explanation of the scenario and with background materials for each module
- Concept of workshop activities: what good is a workshop without games and active elements that make learning fun?
- Background materials. There is a lot of content that can be reused but two additional items are required:
- FAQ file: there are many FAQs about OER, but this one will be tailored to the specific workshop modules
- Infographics: OER can be made easier to understand by visualizing information
- Promotional materials:
- Poster and invitation – that can be printed by workshop organizers
- Webpage design – for the Web hub through which we will coordinate the workshops
We’ve spent the first half-day on defining the concept of such a toolkit and the content needed for self-taught OER workshops to take place. As in every situation when over a dozen OER activists meet, we talked about definitions of open, avoiding flamewars on licensing choices, value- and benefit-based language. We imagined representatives of our target groups (having settled on academic librarians and school teachers), asked ourselves: why so few “do it”, if so many know about CC? and discussed policies as both barriers and enablers to sharing content.
Having settled the ideological debates, the participants quickly divided themselves into three groups, who continued to work on three specific pieces of content. One group worked on a leaflet explaining OER from the practitioners’ perspective, the second on policies – from the perspective of the barriers to openness that they remove, and the last on a scenario for a modular workshop on OER .Group One: What is there for me (in Open Education)?
After a profound discussion on identifying stakeholders, the group decided to focus on three perspectives: of consumers, creators who don’t share, and creators who do share. After brainstorming pros and cons of sharing, we created the first version of a leaflet for educators. You can download it here (PDF).
This working group created a scenario for a workshop about OER. It was quickly decided to make the workshop modular, allowing for individual modifications based on particular wishes and experiences. The workshop would rely on existing resources as background material. We produced a model slidedeck with an outline of the workshop, together with an accompanying guidesheet for the persons leading the workshopGroup Three: policy solutions
The last group tackled the challenge of finding a relatively simple way of describing OER policies. The general consensus among participants is that these are challenging issues to understand, and not necessarily important from a practicioner’s perspective. We nevertheless assumed that it is crucial to provide simple explanations for policies. To this end, we started with a list of barriers to the sharing and use of OERs; and defined policies (with examples) that help to remove them.Next steps
While our toolkit is still in an alpha version, we managed to come up with a concept of the workshop, produce part of the content needed and discuss two crucial issues for promoting OER: practical benefits that can be used to convince people to adopt OER; and ways of explaining difficult policy matters in an easy way.
With half a year to go before the next Open Education Week, we’re planning to finish the toolkit by the end of the year, and then build momentum for a series of local workshops around the world. Let us know if you’re interested in helping out with this project!