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CC Talks With: Back to School: Peer 2 Peer University and the Future of Education (an interview)

Jane Park, September 1st, 2009

As students around the world return to school, ccLearn blogs about the evolving education landscape, ongoing projects to improve educational resources, education technology, and the future of education. Browse the “Back to School” tag for more posts in this series.

A recent emigrant to New York, I experienced the first turn in weather on the east coast marking the transition from summer to a fast approaching fall. Though a lovely relief from the hot, muggy season that has persisted here for the last few months, I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of sadness. Many students all over the world are feeling this same twinge, mingled with excitement, as their summer vacations skid to a halt. No more lazy, hazy days in the sun—instead, it’s time to hit the books and lockers, classrooms and lecture halls.

This is the vision of school we have had with us for ages. A first grader, when asked to draw school, usually draws a little red school house with a bell, or a teacher standing at her desk, with an apple for added effect. However, this traditional picture is hardly where the future of education is headed, as new technologies and mediums of communication, like the Internet, have already revolutionized the way we interact, learn, and live.

CC BY by Philipp Schmidt

CC BY by Philipp Schmidt

Peer 2 Peer University is one initiative that acknowledges this fact—that the world has already changed, and not everyone is going to settle for the traditional modes of teaching. First of all, not everyone can afford to dole out the thousands of dollars required for a higher education, and secondly, not everyone has the time to—those of us with full-time or several part-time jobs, families, and other responsibilities, especially.

P2PU, in their own words, is sort of like an “online book club for open educational resources.” It’s “an online community of open study groups for short university-level courses… The P2PU helps you navigate the wealth of open education materials that are out there, creates small groups of motivated learners, and supports the design and facilitation of courses.” Unlike formal universities or distance education, P2PU’s courses are all defaulted under CC BY, which means anyone can access, share, adapt, and redistribute them. In fact, the founders are more than happy for others to adapt the model they have begun to new and successful ways of thinking about education’s future.

What do you think is the future of education? P2PU co-founder Philipp Schmidt answers the big question and more.

P2PU has been getting a ton of attention lately. Courses are set to start on the 9th! What are you hoping to gain from these first six weeks? What are you most excited about?

This is the first time we will run courses. We have been thinking a lot about how to make sure participants get a lot out of the experience, but this is the real test. I am sure we’ll discover many things we did not anticipate at all—and I look forward to learning as much as the participants. This is an amazing learning experience not just for the participants, but also for ourselves.

I am most excited by the fact that we seem to be providing something that many people from all over the world find useful and want to participate in. One person is taking the Copyright for Educators course and intends to get credit from his university for it. The fact that he is thinking about the course in his own context and trying to “hack” the system in a way that makes sense for him is awesome. This is exactly what we were hoping to see. Another person said that she had always wanted to take a course about cyberpunk literature, but couldn’t find a place to take one. To realize that we can provide a type of learning experience that people are looking for and which simply doesn’t exist elsewhere, is incredible.

There’s so much speculation around the future of formal education. What are your thoughts on it? What will be P2PU’s role in this changing educational landscape?

It is clear to me that the education landscape will change dramatically. I should mention that I am a huge fan of the university as an institution where young people spend a few years learning and immersing themselves into knowledge. It’s wonderful and I wouldn’t want to miss it. However, learning is not just what happens in universities and there will be new and different organizations providing many of the components that today’s universities offer as a package. There are two areas where P2PU could fill a gap. One is to create the social learning experience that will make open educational resources more useful to more people. The other is to provide forms of recognition for informal learning—this could be by enabling pathways to formal credits or by creating a community based reputation.

What do you have to say to those who confuse P2PU with distance learning? How is P2PU more than that?

The core of P2PU is social learning—working with others who are interested in the same topic as you. The fact that it happens by distance is almost secondary and we are hoping to have local off-line groups joining the P2PU community in the future. Distance learning is a broad term, but too often it is used in the context of what I would call industrialized education. Content is delivered to students—either by an online teacher or in the form of course materials designed for self-study. Knowledge is considered as something that can easily be measured, like weight or height. It is a totally different model from what P2PU is doing.

All P2PU courses are licensed CC BY. Why CC BY?

The pilot phase materials are licensed CC BY because that places the least amount of restrictions on others who might want to use and re-mix our content. However, the licensing choice is still a big debate. Some members of the community feel that CC BY-SA better reflects their desire to create a global knowledge commons. It’s one of the topics we will discuss at our upcoming workshop and we will make a final decision there.

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Frances Pinter from GOOD’s “We Like to Share” Series

Jane Park, August 31st, 2009

We’d like to point out GOOD’s latest interview from its “We Like to Share” series by Eric Steuer—“Frances Pinter on the (Academic) Value of Sharing.” Frances elaborates on Bloomsbury Academic‘s decision to license their academic publications via CC BY-NC, academics’ need for exposure, and the changing landscape in publishing,

“So much of academic output is now available on the web, and when you talk to academics they are not 100 percent happy with how difficult it is becoming to find their works. They are looking for tools; a digital means of selecting, filtering, and ranking the materials they are using and recommending. We are actually in a period of transition where we are still relying on the old, but wanting to experiment with the new. People like myself who spend a lot of time with the open access crowd can kind of forget there are a lot of academics who aren’t so vocal, who are primarily interested in producing their content, getting materials in front of their students, and getting their promotion and their recognition for work that they produce.

In this period of transition there is a lot of investment required in experimenting with new technologies. And with the experimenting of new technologies, we have to make sure the recognition and the openness is absolutely essential and part of it.”

The interview is also available in audio, and if you want to learn more about Frances and Bloomsbury Academic, be sure to check out the longer ccLearn interview with her from last year, as part of our Inside OER series.

All GOOD “We Like to Share” interviews are available to share via CC BY.

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An Evaluation of Private Foundation Copyright Licensing Policies, Practices and Opportunities

Jane Park, August 28th, 2009

CC is pleased to announce that the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, in collaboration with the Hewlett Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Open Society Institute, has recently published a new study entitled, An Evaluation of Private Foundation Copyright Licensing Policies, Practices and Opportunities, by Philllip Malone. From the announcement,

“This project… undertook to examine the copyright licensing policies and practices of a group of private foundations. In particular, it looked at the extent to which charitable foundations are aware of and have begun to use open licenses such as Creative Commons or the GPL for the works they create and that they support with their funding. We surveyed foundation staff and leaders and examined a number of examples where foundations have begun to take advantage of new licensing models. Based on the survey results, foundation experiences and additional research, we identified a variety of significant benefits that the use of open licenses can bring to foundations and their charitable goals. In particular, open licenses permit knowledge and learning to be widely shared and more readily adapted, improved or built upon, and allow those later improvements to be readily distributed. The result can be dramatically faster and greater access to research, information, technologies and other resources in ways that directly benefit foundations’ core missions and the public good.

The study sought to develop an analytical framework and set of factors that foundations can use to begin considering when and where the use of open licenses would further their mission and day-to-day work and where such licenses might not be useful or appropriate. It provides a great starting point for informed consideration of open licenses and the new opportunities they create for foundations and related organizations.”

This report creates an amazing opportunity for foundations to propel themselves into the future via open licensing and open technologies. Please read and share far and wide, as the entire study is open via CC BY.

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Remix Open Ed 09

Jane Park, August 24th, 2009

This year’s open education conference was held in breathtaking Vancouver, BC and the ccLearn team (consisting of Lila Bailey, Ahrash Bissell, Alex Kozak, and myself) was there to soak it all in. Vancouver could be the emerald city, or an alternate reality to San Francisco, from whence three of us hail. This parallel universe yielded skyscrapers made of turquoise tinted glass, Lion’s gate (sea foam green instead of Golden Gate’s deceptive red), and a plethora of downtown eats and night life. The conference itself was located right next to the Vancouver Art Museum, home of the Dutch masters.

While my colleagues presented OpenEd (opened.creativecommons.org, the global open education community site we launched earlier this month), the OER Copyright survey, and cogitated on whether international copyright exceptions and limitations can support a global learning commons—I had the chance to run around with lots of people and talk to some of them. I was pleasantly surprised by the increase in diverse persons and locales represented, and I picked each of their brains for a few seconds with the help of my Flip cam.

The result is this video (blip.tv), which we hope you will enjoy and encourage you to remix! It’s all open via CC BY, including the soundtrack—laid with the album Ambient Pills by Zeropage (thanks to Jamendo). We also have lots of footage we didn’t include due to time constraints, so you may see snippier iterations down the line.

The video is also available at YouTube and Vimeo.

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Smithsonian Commons and Sustainable Content Usage Policies

Fred Benenson, August 3rd, 2009

Smithsonian Logo.gif
On Thursday, Michael Edson of the Smithsonian posted on the Smithsonian 2.0 blog that they had released their “Web and New Media Strategy” with the purpose of laying a groundwork for a Smithsonian Commons:

The strategy talks about an updated digital experience, a new learning model that helps people with their “lifelong learning journeys,” and the creation of a Smithsonian Commons—a new part of our digital presence dedicated to stimulating learning, creation, and innovation through open access to Smithsonian research, collections and communities.

Of particular interest to our community is that the report PDF itself (and its draft wiki) are both licensed under our permissive, Attribution license. More substantially is the report’s section on the proposed content usage policy of the Smithsonian Commons:

Content Usage: Establish a pan-Institutional policy for sharing and using the Smithsonian’s digital content, with particular focus on Copyright and Public Domain policies that encourage the appropriate re-use and sharing of Smithsonian resources.

Congratulations to the Smithsonian for thinking about the future lives of their content in such a sustainable fashion. We’re very excited to see the future developments that the Smithsonian Commons brings to free culture on an institutional scale.

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Reuse of material in the context of education and research

Jane Park, July 6th, 2009

Last December, when ccLearn issued its report to the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Creative Commons Netherlands published its own entitled, “Reuse of material in the context of education and research.” However, the report was only available in Dutch until recently. Now, thanks to Paul Keller (Creative Commons Nederland) and Wilma Mossink (SURF), the English version of the report is online. It recommends the most open Creative Commons license, Attribution Only, for reuse of material in the context of education and research. From the original announcement,

“The rise of the Internet and other new ICT tools have led to drastic changes in the options for distribution and reuse. These changes demand a reorientation in the rules for sharing educational and research materials.

Since sharing educational and research materials is high on the agenda of Dutch higher education and research institutions, SURFdirect and Creative Commons examined the different Open Content licences that are available and that will make clear to reusers what they are permitted to do with material held in repositories.

SURFdirect has indicated that the choice of licence must not create barriers to the future use of educational and research material, that it can be applied at both research universities and universities of applied sciences [hogescholen], and that this can in fact be done in 80% of cases, this report recommends using the most liberal Creative Commons licence for textual output…

Another important recommendation in this report is that SURF should set up an effective awareness-raising campaign in order to introduce and explain Creative Commons licences to those ‘in the field’.”

The report itself is licensed CC BY, and you can download the report as an openly editable document.

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Carmen and Camille Launch “Mix. Promote. Sell.” Remix Campaign on Indaba

Eric Steuer, July 1st, 2009

carmenandcamille

Twin sister pop-rock act Carmen and Camille recently launched a very cool CC remix project with Indaba Music. They’ve made the audio stems from their previously unreleased song “Shine 4U” available under a Creative Commons Attribution license, and are encouraging people to use them in new songs. Since the stems are under CC’s most permissive license, you’re free to not only share but also sell and commercially license your remix, as long as you give the duo credit for supplying the source material.

The sisters, whose music has been featured on MTV’s TRL and who have licensed many of their tracks to shows such as The Hills, worked closely with Indaba on the project. Says vocalist/guitarist Camille, in the project’s press release:

“I think what makes us most excited about the outcome of this campaign is getting to hear our song redone in many different ways. We can’t wait to hear what people can add to the track. And the new versions of the song may bring us new fans that it would have taken us a long time to reach, which is great.”

We think these two have the right idea!

Upload your remix to Indaba Music through July 21st, 2009. Winners will be announced on August 14th; prizes include Camel Audio software, Sennheiser headphones, and pro memberships to Indaba Music.

Indaba tells us that entries are currently at the rate of about 1,000 per week, which means there’s a huge amount of music being created that will be available for all kinds of uses under the CC license that Cameron and Camille chose. We’d love to hear from anyone who ends up selling or commercially licensing their remix – if this applies to you, please shoot us a note at press@creativecommons.org.

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GOOD: “We Like to Share” interview series

Eric Steuer, July 1st, 2009

weliketoshareheader
This past December, I conducted a series of interviews with people about the value of sharing information and resources in their respective fields of work. The interviews were edited into a podcast for GOOD entitled “We Like to Share” that was made available to people who attended the GOOD December series of events in Los Angeles. Last week, GOOD began posting CC BY-licensed text versions of the interviews on its website and will roll out one a week over the next few months. The first interview is with Chris Hughes, one of the co-founders of Facebook, who was the online strategist for the Barack Obama campaign. Check back at “We Like to Share” each Thursday (starting tomorrow) to read interviews with iconic sharers like Jimmy Wales, Chris Dibona, Frances Pinter, Jesse Dylan, and Curt Smith.

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Our OVC Wrapup

Fred Benenson, June 23rd, 2009

Open Video Conference

We wanted to give big thanks to Ben, Dean, Elizabeth, Adi, and all the volunteers to helped make the fantastic Open Video Conference happen. Myself, Jane and Alex K were all in attendance on behalf of CC and we figured we’d post a wrap up about our experience at the conference.

At the CC Salon NYC / OVC Pre-party, I was able to record my conversation with Brett Gaylor, the director and creator of RiP! A Remix Manifesto which also screened at OVC. You can download our interview in ogg here, or mp3 here, available under a our Attribution license. Fans of Adam McHeffey will be happy to watch a YouTube video of his performance here. And last but not least, thanks to Erik Möller from the Wikimedia Foundation for guiding us through Wikipedia’s switch to CC-BY-SA.

And of course, we couldn’t forget about Blip.tv for supplying the beer at the salon, For Your Imagination Studios for the space, and Parker and Wesley for helping out with setup and breakdown. We couldn’t have done it without you guys!

As for the OVC itself, we were blown away with the focus and intensity in every panel and session. I repeatedly heard from attendees how nice it was to have 100% of a conference focused on an issue that typically receives only 10% of the attention. One of my favorite presentations was by Chris Blizzard from Mozilla showing of Firefox’s 3.5 Ogg Theora capabilities. Here’s a quick screen cast some of the capabilities Chris showed off at the conference:

On Saturday afternoon I gave a well packed luncheon presentation on Open Video, Metadata, and Creative Commons. You can download the slides from my presentation here.

Here’s a brief summary from Jane and Alex who attended on behalf of ccLearn:

OVC by Alex Kozak / ccLearn

OVC by Alex Kozak / ccLearn

ccLearn also attended the first ever Open Video Conference and had a blast. We think much of the OVC’s success is due to the fact that so much of it was relevant to openness in general that education naturally fit the bill. “Open Video in Education” especially blew us away by the diversity of forward thinking present in the room by both open education advocates and those with little to no experience with open educational resources (OER). Most everyone in the room, including the audience, were in agreement that open video and open technologies are essential to the future of education. The expressed concerns were more about how to convince the higher-ups at their institutions to see the light.

To reiterate, the session was not lacking in representation. Someone remarked how the variety of perspectives yielded a kind of “transformer panel.” From Bjoern Hassler (Cambridge University’s Centre for Applied Research in Educational Technologies) who set the tone in the beginning by assuming that it is (or should be) apparent to everyone that CC BY is the best license for OER, Tiffiny Cheng (Participatory Culture Foundation) who highlighted Miro, the open source free high definition video player, to UC Berkeley’s webcast.berkeley, the panel was diverse but consistent in their view that open video for education is essential, that CC licenses for that video is a given, and that—to quote an audience member’s words—“You have to do more than just tape lectures.”

Finally, you can also watch most of the main hall sessions on the Livestream feed page for the OVC, though Flash is required. We’re assured these will be available in Theora in short order.

Great job OVC, we’re looking forward to the next one!

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Night Of The Living Dead: Reanimated

Cameron Parkins, June 15th, 2009

notldr

Night Of The Living Dead: Reanimated is a collaborative project that takes George Romero’s cult horror classic, Night of the Living Dead and very literally reanimates the entire film. Featuring work from a huge number of artists, the project as a whole is being released under a CC BY-NC-ND license with individual artists retaining rights to their contributions. It is well documented that the original film is in the public domain and in that spirit, Mike Schneider – the projects curator – is releasing all of his notes and documentation under a CC BY license so others have a leg-up in making their own iterations of the project.

The project is currently looking for independent venues to screen the film come this fall and is slating a DVD release for the upcoming winter – be sure to contact the project leads for more information. Similarly, they are currently soliciting collaborators for their next project, Unseen Horror.

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