OER

Obama administration should require sharing of federally funded educational resources under Creative Commons licenses

Timothy Vollmer, August 4th, 2015

White House_600
White House by Diego Cambiaso, available under the CC BY-SA license.

Today, Creative Commons and a broad coalition of education, library, technology, public interest, and legal organizations are calling upon the White House to take administrative action to ensure that federally funded educational materials are made available as Open Educational Resources (OER) for the public to freely use, share, and improve.

We ask the administration to adopt a strong Executive branch-wide policy requiring that educational, training, and instructional materials created with federal funds be shared under an open license. Some agencies have already implemented an open licensing policy for the outputs of federal grants, including the $2 billion Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program, jointly administered by the Departments of Labor and Education. In order to receive these funds, grantees are required to license to the public all work created with the support of the grant under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC BY) license.

In issuing this public statement, we hope to ensure that the billions of taxpayer dollars invested in the creation of educational materials produce resources that are freely available to the members of the public that paid for them. The administration has both an educational and economic imperative to increase access to learning and workforce development opportunities. Further, it has the opportunity to spur innovation through opening access to a wealth of educational resources that can be improved and built upon.

To ensure that administrative policy advances these goals, the coalition has outlined five core principles for executive action:

  1. Adopt a broad definition of educational materials.
  2. Provide free online access to these educational resources.
  3. Create conditions that enable easy reuse of materials.
  4. Require prompt implementation of the policy.
  5. Mandate regular reporting of progress and results.

The following can be attributed to Cable Green, Director of Global Learning at Creative Commons:

“By embracing Creative Commons licenses for the digital education and training outputs of federal agency grant making, the Obama administration will be demonstrating its commitment to collaboration, innovation, and effective government spending. When we contribute publicly funded educational materials to the public commons, everyone wins. This type of sharing is worth fighting for.”

A copy of the complete letter is available here. You can show your support for open access to publicly funded education materials by signing it too.

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edX makes it easy for authors to share under Creative Commons

Cable Green, June 2nd, 2015

EDX_logo

edX has added the ability for authors to apply a Creative Commons (CC) license to their courses and videos on its platform. More than 50 academic institutions, including MIT and Harvard, use edX to offer free courses that anyone in the world can join. Now, authors at these institutions and elsewhere may license their courses for free and open reuse directly on the edX platform.

edx snedX license chooser. edX has also developed this step-by-step guide for course authors and a learners guide on adding CC licenses to courses and videos.

With the addition of the CC license suite, edX joins the global Open Educational Resources (OER) movement. The CC licenses make education content accessible and expand opportunities for innovation by providing everyone with the legal permissions to reuse, revise, remix, redistribute and retain educational resources.

Since massive open online courses (MOOCs) were first launched, CC has advocated that MOOCs have both open admission (in the classic Open University tradition) and provide authors the option to share their content as OER under Creative Commons licenses.

edX’s addition of the CC license suite is the result of demands for CC licensing options in edX from many schools and partner Universities who were already sharing their content under CC on other platforms. Special thanks goes to the Open Education Consortium’s OECx partners who pushed edX to add CC to the platform for their courses.

The Delft University of Technology played a major role in this work. During Open Education Week 2014, Willem van Valkenburg of TU Delft organized an Open.EdX hackathon to create a CC license plugin for edX. The winning plugin — developed by FeedbackFruits — made it simple to add a CC license to an edX course.

“TU Delft is all about open, so openMOOCs is what we prefer. Thanks to FeedbackFruits we can now publish our courses with a Creative Commons license.” — Willem van Valkenburg

Congratulations to edX for its leadership in furthering the Commons. We hope Coursera, FutureLearn, and other education platforms will follow edX’s lead and offer the CC license suite for their authors and academic partners.

edX joins CC’s new Platform Initiative, which works to create easy, clear, and enjoyable ways for users to contribute to the commons on community-driven content platforms. If you are a platform that would like to join this movement for the commons, please get in touch!

See edX’s post.

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CC Tanzania expands OER and CC training to more primary schools

Aristarik Maro, May 19th, 2015

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Aristarik is an Assistant Lecturer at the Open University of Tanzania and Creative Commons Tanzania volunteer.


CC Tanzania SOO Training Training
SOO Tanzania Training by CC Tanzania under CC BY

Creative Commons Tanzania through School of Open programme trained 50 pupils from Kumbukumbu primary school on the benefits of the Internet, computer programmes information/knowledge sharing, and Open Education Resources (OER). This is one of the planned activities for School of Open (SOO) Tanzania where this training was preceded by a donation of computers, chairs and tables to the computer lab as part of CC Tanzania’s initiative to enable public schools’ use of ICTs in teaching and learning.

This event was officiated by Prof. Tolly Mbwette, the former Vice Chancellor of the Open University of Tanzania (OUT), who agreed to be the patron of CC Tanzania. The university supported the training by providing two training labs that were used by the pupils. Open and Distance Learning (ODL) computer labs were used in the training.

Steven Lukindo, Acting Director of the Institute of Educational Technology & Management (IETM) kicked off the 3-day program on 17, April 2014. 50 pupils were introduced to the open web to aid teaching and learning and the use of Google, Microsoft Word and Excel. The concept of the commons, copyright, and how CC licenses have enabled the global OER movement was also introduced.

A one-month teacher training for 40 primary school teachers was also launched, commencing on 20, April 2015. The training equips teachers from the same school with ICT skills in teaching and learning. Internet, OER and the concept of the commons were introduced to comply with school’s ICT syllabus. This training was SOO Tanzania’s follow-up activity after the donation of computers by CC Tanzania to the same school.

SOO Tanzania has planned for additional training to the school’s pupils on the benefits of sharing OER and the use of different teaching and learning tools customized to local content.

Challenges and lessons learned

A number of challenges were encountered by SOO Tanzania, including: lack of funding to carry out some of its key planned activities, time to merge busy schedules of facilitators work and volunteering activities, publicity, inadequate ICT facilities in most public schools, and low understanding of ICT in teaching and learning in most schools and perception change in sharing of innovations and creativity within the community. More publicity and training is required to take School of Open to the next level in the country.

CC Tanzania through its School of Open planned activities is planning to approach more donors and volunteers to support its 2015 road map, in addition to publicizing its activities to teaching and learning institutions to attract awareness of how CC affiliates work for a better and brighter future of sharing.

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U.S. K12 State Policy Recommendations for OER: Sign Letter of Support

Cable Green, May 8th, 2015

second grade writing class
second grade writing class / woodleywonderworks / CC BY


Achieve
(a nonpartisan education reform organization widely known for its CC BY licensed OER Rubrics) has developed policy recommendations with input from its OER Institute U.S. state partners for U.S. states to use OER as part of their college and career ready implementation plans.

These recommendations aim to provide helpful information and guidance for U.S. states that are interested in but have not yet begun an organized effort to use OER.

The OER policy recommendations center on:

  • States and school districts using OER as part of their strategy to support the implementation of college and career ready standards.
  • Recommending when public funds are used, the instructional materials created should be openly licensed.
  • States and school districts should ensure all instructional materials being used, including OER, are high quality and aligned to college and career ready standards.

To illustrate the broad array of audiences that support and have made effective, standards-aligned OER a priority, Achieve was recently joined by U.S. states, funders and organizations, including Creative Commons, in signing a letter of support for Open Educational Resources.

If your state or organization is interested in signing this letter, please contact Hans Voss at hvoss@achieve.org

This open letter outlines the benefits OER can provide to U.S. states and K12 school districts as they engage the hard work of college and career ready standards implementation. Particularly in an environment where many states are implementing the Common Core State Standards, OER can be used to leverage the benefits of these common standards by providing the legal rights and technical ability to freely share and modify instructional resources to help support the needs of individual classrooms (e.g., K12 OER Collaborative).

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TAACCCT Standout Vignettes

Paul Stacey, March 10th, 2015

TAACCCT Standouts

Starting with the first round of grants in 2011 Creative Commons and a team of partners have been actively supporting US Department of Labor (DOL), Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grantees. This multi-year, nearly $2 billion grant program provides funds to US community colleges who in partnership with industry, employers, and public workforce systems create stackable/latticed credentials that can be completed in two years or less. The goal of TAACCCT is to expand targeted training programs for unemployed workers, especially those impacted by foreign trade and to move unemployed workers into high wage, high skill jobs in high growth industry sectors.

There are many unique aspects to the TAACCCT program. Creative Commons involvement stems from the DOL requirement that grantees allow broad access for others to use and enhance project products and offerings by licensing newly developed materials produced with grant funds with a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). DOL is the first US department to require this in such a large grant program. Its size makes TAACCCT the largest Open Educational Resources (OER) initiative in the world.

There is a high interest in seeing curricula and course materials coming out of TAACCCT. This is partly due to the high level of investment but also due to the high growth industry sectors for which curricula is being created including health, IT, energy, transportation, and advanced manufacturing – areas where little prior OER exists. However, grantees get 3-4 years for development so examples of work are only now emerging.

TAACCCT Sectors

In Oct-2014 at the TAACCCT-ON convening in Topeka Kansas, Creative Commons hosted a round 1 TAACCCT grantee showcase fair. All round 1 grantees were invited to showcase, share, and describe some of the best work coming out of their projects.

Using a participatory process all the other grantees attending were invited to visit round 1 TAACCCT grantees at their showcase table to see and learn more about the work they are doing. To make it interactive and fun we asked grantees to put stickers on round 1 TAACCCT projects that were standouts for them. We sought standouts noteworthy for the way they fulfill TAACCCT grant priorities and standouts by industry sector.

TAACCCT Priorities

From that process, based on grantee selection, nine round one TAACCT grantee projects emerged as standouts. For each of the nine standouts we created a vignette with a video interview, a written story, and a graphic visualization of the project.

We’re pleased to share the results with all of you – see TAACCCT Standout Profiles. These nine round 1 TAACCCT vignettes are a small, early sampling of the work coming out of the TAACCCT program. All TAACCCT grant projects are standouts in their own way. We hope these early examples satisfy some of the interest around seeing TAACCCT work and wet your appetite for seeing even more.

Special thanks to all the grantees for agreeing to be interviewed and profiled in this way. Special thanks to Giulia Forsythe for the visuals she created to graphically illustrate each project, to Hal Plotkin for writing the stories, and to Billy Meinke for managing the whole production process. And most of all special thanks to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for funding our support of TAACCCT grantees.

We hope to see similar vignettes for rounds 2, 3 and 4.

More information on the support Creative Commons and its team of partners provide to TAACCCT can be found at Open4us.org.

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Open Education Week: 9-13 March 2015

Cable Green, March 7th, 2015

562x252-oew-web-banner
Banner by Open Education Consortium / CC BY

Open Education Week is an annual convening of the global open education movement to share ideas, new open education projects and to raise awareness about open education and its impact on teaching and learning worldwide. Open education encompasses resources, tools and practices that employ a framework of open sharing to improve education access, affordability and effectiveness. Participation in all events and use of all resources are free and open to everyone.

There are many ways to participate:

While all of the events are worthy of your attendance, here is a quick preview of events to be hosted by Creative Commons affiliates and staff:

We look forward to seeing you online!

Special thanks and congratulations to the Open Education Consortium for coordinating Open Education Week!
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Boston Children’s Hospital OPENPediatrics Launches Open Multimedia Library

Cable Green, January 6th, 2015

boston children's hospital
Children’s Hospital, Boston, Mass. [front] / Boston Public LIbrary / No known copyright restrictions

The OPENPediatrics program at Boston Children’s Hospital announced the launch today of a new open educational resource (OER), a multimedia library that presents animations and illustrations from OPENPediatrics instructional videos under CC BY-NC-SA for use by clinicians and academics in their own instructional materials.  OPENPediatrics provides online learning opportunities for pediatric clinicians worldwide on a website specifically for medical professionals, but some of the resources created for that site—including those in the new multimedia library—are now being made available to the general public as well.

“An important part of our production process is the addition of high quality animations and illustrations to our didactic and procedural videos,” said Steve Carson, Director of Operations for the program.  “Until now these resources have been embedded in our videos and only accessible to clinicians.  Now, inspired by MIT OpenCourseWare and other OER projects, we are making the animations and illustrations available under open licenses and in downloadable formats to encourage wide usage.”

The initial 48 animations and illustrations are among the hundreds that will eventually be made available. The first set of resources illustrates key concepts of airway management, respiratory care, neurology, clinical procedures and other areas of pediatric care. The animations and illustrations have all been peer reviewed for accuracy.  In the coming months, OPENPediatrics will continue publishing animations and illustrations from its back catalog as well as from newly released videos and other resources. The multimedia library is the second publicly available resource from OPENPediatrics, joining a collection of World Shared Practice Forum videos, which share global perspectives on key aspects of pediatric care.

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What School of Open volunteers accomplished in 2014

Jane Park, December 22nd, 2014

Another End of Year list, but one which I hope you’ll take to heart: the amazing accomplishments of the volunteers running School of Open programs around the world, comprised of the Creative Commons, P2PU, Mozilla, and related open communities.

SOO wreath
SOO logo on Holiday Wreath by Kelly Teague under CC BY-SA

This year, our community:

For 2015: Some changes are on the horizon. Mainly, we’ll be working to revamp our website to better support our volunteers wherever they are based, streamline the process for volunteers who want to run their own online courses, and re-strategize around what it means to develop and run a School of Open program. Above all, we want to increase our impact by combining forces with all open web and education advocates who are being leaders in their regions. Stay tuned…

On behalf of our intersecting communities, CC wishes you a wonderful holiday and a Happy New Year!

See how far we’ve come:

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CC goes to #Mozfest 2014

Ryan Merkley, November 26th, 2014

Creative Commons staff, affiliates, and supporters were active participants and contributors at this year’s Mozilla Festival, which has become an annual rallying point for the Open Web and our shared values. Our sessions covered a wide range of issues, from new technology, to open education and science, to working as an open organization. Thanks to Mozilla for inviting us. We’re already looking forward to next year’s event.

mozfest
Christos Bacharakis / CC BY-NC-SA

CC makes tools for makers

by Matt Lee and Ryan Merkley

In CC makes tools for makers, CC’s Ryan Merkley and Matt Lee joined Mozilla dev Ali Al Dallal to talk about tools and technology solutions that could enhance the reach and value of CC-licensed works. CC shared some early screens for The List, a new mobile app that allows anyone to create and share a list of wanted images, and allows users to respond by taking pictures and sharing them in a global archive, all licensed CC BY. CC also shared CC Search, which will aggregate results from publicly-facing search APIs of openly licensed works. Ali demoed a prototype of MakeDrive, which will allow a user to search for a CC image, then grab it into their own local synced storage.

Participants broke into smaller groups to discuss challenges and opportunities, and identified solutions that were shared back with the group. Issues ranged from UX and usability needs to opportunities for monetization. Everyone was encouraged to join The List mailing list at creativecommons.org/thelist for updates, and to head to hackspace.cc to join the development process and contribute.

Portrait of a Creative Commons Artist

by Jane Park

mozfest2014
#ARTOFWEB / Kat B / CC BY-SA

In Portrait of a Creative Commons Artist, a group of musicians, filmmakers, museum curators, and arts education practitioners gathered to discuss the kinds of art being created in today’s digital landscape and how and why they share their artworks and the artworks of others. Surprisingly, or unsurprisingly, the artists’ motivations for sharing included no commercial goals. Motivations cited included wider distribution; to grow a community of like-minded artists; to elicit feedback or emotion; and result in new inferences and ways of thinking.

We also identified barriers to sharing in certain environments, such as child privacy in arts education and the time-consuming effort involved in cataloging artworks for museums. We addressed individual artists’ hang-ups to sharing, such as fear of plagiarism and not being quite ready or confident in the quality of one’s art to open it up for public criticism. Lastly, we brainstormed potential solutions to overcoming these barriers and help artists feel more comfortable with sharing their works online under more liberal re-use terms, such as Creative Commons licenses. Such solutions included: a tool that could display a canonical representation of your work, including all derivatives made from the original; a better attribution prompt enabling artists to specify exactly how they want to be attributed; and a registry of artworks in the commons. Additional needs included improved interaction design with artworks online, consulting or advisement on how to share such networked art, and simplified best practices around sharing and attributing open artworks. Full agenda and notes from the session are available, in addition to Kevin’s coverage of the session in The Open Standard, “The Plight of the Open-Source Artist” — which is aptly licensed under CC BY-SA.

This session affirmed and informed our intentions with several CC projects in development, such as a registry of CC-licensed works, a smart phone application that would make it easier for photo contributions to the commons (The List), and the Free Culture Trust, a coalition of organizations that would offer comprehensive services to artists wanting to donate their art to the commons.

Mapping #SchoolofOpen and #TeachtheWeb to places

by Jane Park

In Mapping #SchoolofOpen and #TeachtheWeb to places, community members from Creative Commons, School of Open, and Mozilla Webmaker came together to physically map their open web education programs, such as Maker Party and the recent School of Open Africa launch. We “hacked” a map of the world by creating our own version of it, and most interestingly, Africa was front and center with the U.S. largely as an afterthought. After mapping, we self-organized into two streams: those leading open web education for adults and those leading open web education for kids and teens. After much discussion, we are now planning to better bridge our communities to increase our impact in several regions, including Africa, India, and the U.S. We will be creating a digital version of our Hack the Map activity, allowing others to add themselves virtually over time, and also planning a joint School of Open and Mozilla Webmaker event with our communities for 2015.

OpenMe – Kids can Open

by Jane Park

In OpenMe – Kids can Open, a few of us from the CC, School of Open and National Writing Project communities gathered to discuss current efforts around CC and open web education for kids and strategies for replicating those efforts in other jurisdictions. Kelsey Wiens, CC South Africa public lead and School of Open program lead for CC4Kids, shared her experience with piloting CC4Kids in schools. Generally, starting with private schools resulted in more favorable results, in addition to partnering with existing organizations with strong ties to schools, such as Innovate South Africa’s Code4ct. We are now in conversation to pilot the CC4Kids model in the U.S. with the National Writing Project’s Educator/Innovator network. To start, we will be hosting a webinar as well as sharing a call to the network for after school pilot participants.

Walking the talk – How to work open

by Jane Park

In Walking the talk – How to work open, CC facilitated the strand on Partnerships and collaboration, or how to better work together as open organizations with overlapping missions and projects. How do we not reinvent the wheel and collectively have greater impact? Part of the solution lies in better communications and transparent organizational practices, but how do we translate these needs into an action item? We brainstormed several “best case scenarios” and in the end came up with a strong list of concrete solutions, with an Annual Capacity Building Conference for open organizations at the top of the list. Such a conference would focus specifically on knowledge sharing for the purpose of building capacity within and outside of our organizations to achieve our missions and realizing our vision for universal access to research and education and full participation in culture. Other ideas included:

  • A Natural Language Processing tool that links cross-organizational communications in different languages in one hub
  • Culture training for organizations that encourages failure and knowledge sharing, versus an environment where keeping information secret results in a competitive edge
  • Working groups of ambassadors in each city to represent all open organizations in that city (and that would work to bring in new organizations seeking representation)
  • A Task Rabbit-like platform for open organizations that would match organizations needing capacity in a certain area with an organization that could provide it

Complete notes from the session are available, in addition to results from the Community Building track of which this session was a part. The wranglers for the track are now working on a community building toolkit and will be rallying all organizational representatives in the next few months to make one of the above ideas into a reality. We vote for the Annual Capacity Building Conference of open orgs!

Skills Mapping for Open Science

by Billy Meinke

mozfest science
Billy Meinke / CC BY

In the Skills and Curriculum Mapping for Open Science session, facilitators and participants on Mozilla Science Lab’s “Science on the Web” track came together to build a map linking together the many nouns and verbs that describe interactions between people and scientific research, all of which are connected the Commons. An underlying focus of the session was to identify the ways scientists and citizens interact with outputs of research including content, data and code.

Taking a simplified approach to mapping these nodes will lend to the ability of others to expand on the map, and to translate the nodes into learning objectives that can be included in education and training programs around open and reproducible science. Over the two days of the festival, we facilitated the mapping of outputs and interaction types, aiming to capture key statements that describe the way scientific artifacts are created, reused/remixed, and shared. We welcomed scientists and non-scientists alike to stop by and critique the map as it was constructed, and to add nodes or connections where they felt something was missing. Did you ever once produce a dataset for your research blog? Then you’ve created data! Have you ever downloaded an Open Access research paper? If you have, then you’ve reused content! Have you ever uploaded a script to Github? Then you’ve shared code! It’s easy to drop most interactions people have with science into these buckets once we take a step back, and simplify the statements around what we do with scientific content and code in the Commons.

To allow others to build on the skills mapping done at Mozfest this year, a digital version of the map has been uploaded to Github , and is open for anyone to revise, tweak, and add to as they wish. Plans to expand this work include a full build out of high-level learning objectives, and alignment to existing Open Educational Resources in science training programs. A number of universities have expressed interest in piloting an undergraduate or graduate-level course on open and reproducible science, and the idea is that this map will be useful when developing such a course, revealing how and where skills learned in such a course apply to the way we work with content and code in the Commons.

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K-12 OER Collaborative launches RFP for math and English

Cable Green, November 26th, 2014

Math, Math, Math, math, mathh....maaah.....
Math, Math, Math, math, mathh….maaah….. / Aaron Escobar / CC BY

The newly founded K-12 OER Collaborative has released an RFP for the creation of open educational resources (OER) in mathematics and English language arts and literacy. As all content developed under this RFP will be openly licensed under CC BY 4.0, U.S. states, territories and school districts (and anyone else in the world) may freely reuse, revise, remix, redistribute and retain these educational resources.

Forty-three US States + Washington DC + Guam + American Samoan Islands + US Virgin Islands + Northern Mariana Islands (map) have adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)… and they all need current, high quality, affordable, CCSS-aligned educational resources for their students, teachers, parents and districts.

Will these US States and territories have the public funds necessary to update educational resources (including textbooks) for these two subjects?

According to the Association of American Publishers school districts across the U.S. spend over $8 billion on instructional materials every year. Textbooks quickly fall into disrepair, students are not allowed to write in or keep their books as they graduate each grade, and teachers are not legally and technically empowered to update outdated educational resources. In addition, much of this spending is on costly, yearly subscription fees for digital content which school districts merely lease (not own).

This aggregate demand represented by the nationwide need for new CCSS-aligned educational materials creates a unique opportunity for states to acquire higher quality, more effective content in a smarter, far less expensive, and far more flexible manner, and make these resources available to teachers, parents and districts. Specifically, states and districts can transition from expensive and rigidly controlled materials to OER.

The RFP specifically seeks complete courses for the following grades and subjects:

  • K–2 English Language Arts/Literacy
  • 3–5 English Language Arts/Literacy
  • 6–8 English Language Arts/Literacy
  • 9–12 English Language Arts/Literacy
  • K–5 Mathematics
  • 6–8 Mathematics
  • 9–12 Mathematics — Integrated/International Pathway (Secondary Mathematics I, II, III)
  • 9–12 Mathematics — Traditional Pathway (Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2)

Courses will be designed to meet Common Core State Standards, accessibility standards, technical specifications, and an open licensing requirement of CC BY 4.0 on all new content produced. For details on the development process, see the complete RFP.

An informational webinar will take place next week on December 3, 2014 at 10:00 AM PST for those interested. RSVP at http://k12oercollaborative.org/rfp/webinar/.

The deadline for an initial Letter of Intent is January 9, 2015 by 5:00 PM PST.

About the K-12 OER Collaborative

The K-12 OER Collaborative is a coalition of eleven U.S. states and eight organizations, including Creative Commons. Together we are working to make quality K-12 educational resources aligned to state standards and accessible under the most open Creative Commons license, CC BY, so that we can drive down the cost of K-12 education for everyone. Learn more about the collaborative at http://k12oercollaborative.org.

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