CC Learn

CC Learn Advanced Topics

Jane Park, November 24th, 2009

Earlier this year, CC Learn launched CC Learn Productions, highlighting reports and three document series: CC Learn Recommendations, CC Learn Explanations, and CC Learn Step by Step Guides. Since April, we have greatly expanded our repertoire to about a dozen documents, touching on basic topics such as Why CC BY? to legally incompatible content in OER. We’ve verily become document-making machines, cranking out new publications every month.

In the course of production, we found there are certain topics that cannot be distilled to a general audience, mainly because these topics are too specialized, and impractical, for the majority of CC’s user base. We realized that another document series was necessary, one specifically dealing with advanced topics, topics which require additional expertise and address the concerns of a smaller cross section of the OER community. The CC Learn Advanced Topics series, which is not intended for general consumption or to serve as legal advice, aims for this.

The first CC Learn Advanced Topic is CC Licenses and Trademarks: A Guide for Organizational OER Creators and Distributors. This primer distinguishes between copyright and trademark as they pertain to OER, and clarifies some of the confusion surrounding CC licenses and trademarks. For OER organizations with a strong trademark, or with the plans and capacity to build and sustain one, this primer is a guide to understanding the relationship between your organization’s rights as a copyright owner using CC licenses (particularly CC BY) and your organization’s trademark rights within the context of open educational resources (OER). This primer is not relevant for OER creators generally, as trademark law only pertains to those entities with the capacity to build and sustain a brand.

Though CC and CC Learn are open to consulting around business models generally, we are not in a position to give advice around trademark law. This primer is simply an explanation of a separate set of rights you may have to protect your work – trademark rights – while still allowing for the downstream adaptation, translation, and localization of your work that are so central to the goals of OER. Additionally, this primer is an example of one way certain organizations may deal with their concerns, and we hope that it will become an important document in our ongoing work.

All CC Learn Productions are licensed CC BY.

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Donate Today to Have Your Donation Doubled by WhippleHill!

Allison Domicone, November 17th, 2009

whipplehill-logo
Our 2009 fundraising campaign continues, and to help us reach our goal of $500,000 by the end of the year, we’re delighted to announce a second corporate matching challenge, this time sponsored by WhippleHill Communications. WhippleHill will generously match every donation dollar for dollar for the next week – up to $5,000! Donate now to help us meet the challenge!

WhippleHill Communications was founded in 1998 and is based in Bedford, New Hampshire. This innovative company provides targeted communications solutions for independent schools seeking next-generation Web services. Like CC, WhippleHill values openness and innovation on the Web, with a particular focus on education, a realm CC is also heavily involved in through ccLearn.

Join WhippleHill in investing in the future of creativity and knowledge. Give what you can today!

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Commoner Letter #4: Molly Kleinman of the University of Michigan

Allison Domicone, November 16th, 2009

Molly Kleinman is a long-time friend of CC and has been doing incredible work for all things copyright over at the University of Michigan as Special Assistant to the Dean of Libraries. From Espresso Book Machines to a CC-friendly Scholarly Publishing Office, we continue to be inspired by the University of Michigan’s innovative approach to open content, copyright, and especially open education, an area of focus CC is highly committed to developing through ccLearn. We’re honored to have Molly, a self-proclaimed dedicated advocate of Creative Commons, write the fourth letter in the Commoner Letter series of this year’s fundraising campaign.

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Molly Kleinman2
Photo by Chan Wong CC BY-NC

Hello, Fellow Commoner,

Creative Commons licenses make it easier for me to do my work, and to help my faculty and students do theirs. Today I’d like to return the favor and encourage you to support the Creative Commons 2009 Annual Campaign, and help make sure they continue the wonderful work they’ve been doing.

Why is Creative Commons so helpful and important? Because it provides a balanced, sane alternative to the madly out-of-whack copyright system I deal with every day. I am an academic librarian and copyright specialist who teaches faculty, students, librarians, archivists and others about their rights as creators and their rights as users. Anyone familiar with the state of copyright law knows it’s messy and confusing stuff, and the very notion of users’ rights is contentious in some circles. Big Content has been waging a propaganda campaign to convince the public that all unauthorized, un-paid-for uses are infringing, illegal uses. It’s not true, but the widespread misinformation is bad for educators, bad for students, and bad for all of us who benefit from the fruits of scholarly research. Professors are afraid to share educational material with their students. Parents are afraid to let their kids post homemade videos online. All this fear hinders the ability of scholars, teachers, and students to do the work of research, teaching, and learning that is their job.

As my favorite CC video says, “Enter Creative Commons.” Creative Commons carves out an arena in which people can use and build on new works without fear. It frees us from both the looming threat of lawsuits and the time consuming and expensive demands of clearing permissions. Creative Commons helps people share openly, and the more content that CC helps to open up, whether it’s music or photography or scientific data or educational resources, the more it expands what faculty and students can teach and study freely.

I’d like to call particular attention to the work of one of Creative Commons’ offshoots, ccLearn. ccLearn is striving to realize the full potential of the internet to support open learning and open educational resources, and to minimize legal, technical, and social barriers to sharing and reuse of educational materials. I cannot overemphasize the importance of this work. In the United States alone, plummeting budgets and rising costs for both K-12 and higher education are making it harder for students and teachers to access the quality educational resources they need. Until recently, most educational content was locked behind digital paywalls or hidden in print books, and the free stuff you could find online was often unreliable. Now, the pool of high quality open educational resources is growing every day, with open textbooks, open courseware, and other experimental projects popping up all the time. Many of these projects have received support from ccLearn, and nearly all of them are built on the framework of Creative Commons licenses. Every one provides expanded access that is crucial to the future of a quality educational system, both in this country and throughout the world.

This is why it is so important to support Creative Commons, in any number of ways. Though I donate (and you should, too), I believe that one of my greatest contributions has been in helping to build the Creative Commons community from the ground up, one frustrated professor or librarian at a time. Every person I teach about Creative Commons is a person who may eventually contribute to the Commons herself, attaching licenses to her works and sharing them with the world. The bigger the Commons, the better for all of us.

Molly Kleinman
Special Assistant to the Dean of Libraries
University of Michigan Library

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Preparing Your Educational Resources for DiscoverEd

Jane Park, November 5th, 2009

ded-sbsIn July, CC Learn officially launched DiscoverEd, a search prototype that provides scalable search and discovery for educational resources on the web. We blogged about it again during Back to School week, emphasizing the future of search and discovery of educational resources and how we hoped DiscoverEd would catalyze efforts in that direction. Since then, we have been working with various organizations and projects who want to include their resources into DiscoverEd, and through all the back and forth about feeds and mark-up–essentially what’s required to get your stuff included for greater discovery–we realized we could streamline the process by putting some necessary information into a brief document.

Preparing Your Educational Resources for DiscoverEd is second in the CC Learn Step by Step Guides series, which is part of our larger Productions schema. It is a basic guide for those interested in preparing their resources for inclusion into search engines like DiscoverEd that utilize structured data. It is targeted at people or institutions interested in making their digitally published educational resources more discoverable. Though the document contains technical language and sample XHTML and RDFa, it’s really not all too complicated. Basically, you just need one of the right feeds to start, which you can then copy and paste the link of into ODEPO (the Open Database of Educational Projects and Organizations). ODEPO is hosted on OpenED, the community site for open education. It’s a wiki, so anyone can create an account and add their project or organization to the database.

But the guide explains all that, (as does the DiscoverEd FAQ) and the alternatives–which include contacting us directly. DiscoverEd already pulls from a number of institutions and repositories, and as it expands we hope to improve its search capabilities. Any feedback is welcome.

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