One of the issues that comes up repeatedly when talking about open educational resources (OER) is search and discovery. CC licenses provide the legal basis for sharing OER, but there’s a large technical component to sharing, as well. Publishers want to make sure their work is visible to users, and learners or educators need to be able to find resources relevant to the subject they’re interested in. Too often web scale search engines don’t do suffice: the amount of OER compared to the entire web is small, so the information you’re actually looking for is lost in the flood.
Last summer, CC, supported by Open Society Institute, organized a meeting of individuals working with OER repositories and tools to discuss the state of search and discovery for OER. There are many efforts under way looking at this issue, and the purpose of the meeting was to examine how these efforts can be made interoperable. For example, some countries are building national repositories, where the answer to the question is “put your OER in this big box”, while others — including Creative Commons, through our prototype DiscoverEd — are focusing on indexing a subset of the web, and trying to make results more relevant. We wanted to talk about how these different approaches can work together, so that consumers are able to find the resources they’re seeking, no matter where they’re located on the web.
What we discovered is that regardless of the approach being taken to solve the search issue, there are certain things that could be identified as best practices for publishers. We’ve pulled these together as an initial outcome from the meeting: Towards a Global Infrastructure For Sharing Learning Resources. As the title implies, this is the first step to building the interoperability needed to make OER discoverable. We’re going to be continuing examining these issues as part of the AgShare project, among others. If you want to keep up with that work as it develops, you can subscribe to the oer-discovery mailing list.3 Comments »
Can’t make it in person to tonight’s salon at PariSoMa in San Francisco? Not to worry, you’ll be able to participate virtually thanks to VidSF, who will be broadcasting the event. Tune in at 7:30pm PST to hear panelists CEO Joi Ito, Arab World Media & Development Manager Donatella della Ratta, International Project Manager Michelle Thorne, and Global Voices Outreach Director, David Sasaki discuss how globally diverse communities use Creative Commons, as well as challenges faced in various regions and projects around the world.
CC Salons are global events, and anyone can start one, no matter where you live. We encourage you to check out our resources for starting your own salon in your area.Comments Off
Chuck Severance, clinical professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Information, recently published a new textbook in 11 days because he was able to remix an existing textbook. The book, Python for Informatics: Exploring Information, is currently being used in his winter semester Networked Computing course. The textbook is based on the openly licensed book Think Python: How to Think like a Computer Scientist by Allen B. Downey. Students are able to take advantage of the University Library’s Espresso Book Machine to print on-demand copies for approximately $10. Python for Informatics is available under a CC BY-SA license.
Severance explains, “the book is a cool example of a situation where I’ve finally got to the ‘remixing’ bit of the Open promise.” The first 10 chapters are done and eight more are planned for completion by April 2010. Read more of Chuck’s thoughts about remixing an open book.
Creating this open textbook was a part of a larger effort by Chuck to support his course with openly licensed content, and current versions of lecture slides and videos are published via the PythonLearn website. In a past iteration of the course, Chuck went through the dScribe process developed by Open.Michigan to create an OER version of SI 502, available under a CC BY license.1 Comment »
The Creative Commons Salon NYC is back in action on March 3rd at the Open Planning Project‘s uber cool penthouse space from October. The theme for this salon is “Opening Education”, and if you don’t really know what that means, think CC licenses as applied to various learning contexts and you’re off to a good start. To learn more, come by for a good time and free (as in beer) beer. The basic line-up is as follows:
- Eric Frank, founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Flat World Knowledge, a commercial textbook publishing company that is leveraging CC licenses as part of their business model—basically offering free digital textbooks via CC BY-NC-SA, but charging for the prints and supplementary materials. (Is this business model working? Come and find out!) Eric was previously “Director of Marketing for Prentice Hall Business Publishing, a division with annual sales in the hundreds of millions.”
- Neeru Paharia, co-founder of the Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU), a grassroots education project that moves learning outside of institutional walls (for free) by leveraging the internet, social software, and CC licensed content. Neeru is formerly the Executive Director of Creative Commons and is finishing up her doctorate at the Harvard Business School in Behavioral Economics.
- A panel of K-12 technologists/educators on the cutting edge of their fields who incorporate CC licenses and social media into their classrooms. They will give a run-down on what they do, how they do it, and answer questions about the challenges they face from curious folk like you. The panel consists of: Dave Bill, Technology Integrator at the Dwight School and TEDxNYED organizer; arvind s grover, co-host of 21st Century Learning (a podcast about… 21st century learning) and Director of Technology at the Hewitt School (also a TEDxNYED organizer); and Kerri Richardson Redding, Director of Academic Technology at the Brooklyn Friends School.
I’ll also be available as the Communications Coordinator for Creative Commons to give updates on CC in education and answer your general questions. John Britton (Lead Developer at Flat World Knowledge) will also be available to talk about his experience organizing the Mozilla Drumbeat/P2PU course, “Mashing Up the Open Web.”
Wednesday, March 3rd, from 7-10pm
The Open Planning Project
148 Lafayette St
Between Grand & Howard
New York, NY
Beer is courtesy of Flat World Knowledge and we are generously being hosted by Gotham Schools, “an independent news source about the New York City Public Schools” that is “an initiative of The Open Planning Project, a Manhattan-based nonprofit dedicated to empowering civil society through technology.” If you’ve didn’t make it to any past CC Salons, don’t miss this one, and if you did, you’ll know to come early as space is limited.
RSVP to the event via Facebook or by e-mailing me: janepark [at] creativecommons.org.Comments Off
Many of you have heard about California’s Free Digital Textbook Initiative that launched last spring, which called for submissions of free digital textbooks in math and science for use by the state’s schools. Of the 16 textbooks submitted last year, 15 are openly licensed under one of the Creative Commons licenses—and all 10 that passed 90% of CA’s state standards are CC licensed.
In addition to individuals, the CK-12 Foundation, Curriki, and Connexions submitted open textbooks on subjects like Algebra, Calculus, Biology, Chemistry, Geometry, Trigonometry, and various other -ometries. You can check out the full textbook list and standards reviews at the California Learning Resource Network (CLRN).
Now, the Governor and his constituents are launching Phase 2 of the Initiative, calling this time for “content developers to submit high school history-social science and higher-level math course textbooks for review against California’s academic content standards.” From the press release,
“Resources like digital textbooks play a critical role in our 21st century educational landscape, and expanding my first-in-the-nation initiative will provide local school districts additional high-quality free resources to help prepare California’s students to compete in the global marketplace,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “I urge content developers to jump on board this second phase and submit social science and advanced math material to help ensure California’s shift to a more advanced and cost-effective education system continues.”
Phase 2 is accepting submissions on a rolling basis, so if you (or your project) have an open textbook completed or in the works, make sure the CC license info is marked up correctly and submit it to the CLRN website. For more on licensing, visit creativecommons.org/about/licenses.1 Comment »
Free Culture X, a conference of Students for Free Culture, will be held February 13th at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Keynote addresses will be given by Harvard Berkman Center co-founder Jonathan Zittrain, the co-founder of the public interest group Public Knowledge, Gigi Sohn, and the director of American University’s Center for Social Media, Pat Aufderheide.
The conference is focused on developing greater openness among institutions of higher education by specifically investigating:
- The politics of open networks,
- Global access to knowledge, and
- Open education.
Attendees have the option to pay-what-you-want with prizes (such as signed copies of books by Lawrence Lessig and Henry Jenkins or custom voicemail recordings by Jonathan Zittrain) awarded for sizable donations. You can register at http://conference.freeculture.org/register/. CC will be in attendance in addition to many past and current CC supporters.
All contents of the Free Culture X site are dedicated to the public domain with CC0.Comments Off
I’m pleased to announce that today the Creative Commons board of directors has elected Cathy Casserly as a new member. Cathy has been a foremost champion of the Open Educational Resources (OER) movement for a decade and of Creative Commons since its inception.
She served as Director of Open Educational Resources Initiative at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. A year ago she joined The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as Senior Partner.
Cathy has become a great personal friend and invaluable mentor as I ramp up my involvement in CC’s open education strategy. It is a great honor for me to welcome Cathy to the Creative Commons board of directors.
Addendum: CC board chair Esther Wojcicki on her Huffington Post blog writes Open Education Resources Get a Big Boost: Cathy Casserly Joins Creative Commons Board.Comments Off
Earlier this week we announced a reorganization of Creative Commons open education projects. The objective of this reorganization is to maximize CC’s impact by focusing our activities in support of the Open Educational Resources (OER) movement where we have unique leverage and expertise — developing and explaining the legal and technical infrastructure required to make “open” work.
Today’s post lays out the details of our structure going forward and highlights some of our open education projects and goals for 2010. Apologies for the length of this post (and that of the previous announcement), but there’s much to cover. If you just want to hear about new developments as they happen please bookmark or subscribe to the Open Educational Resources tag on this blog or follow us on Facebook, Identi.ca, or Twitter.
Brand and Websites
The ccLearn (sometimes written CC Learn) brand and website are going away. Over the past year we’ve realized two things that fed into this decision. First, the Creative Commons brand is very strong and we need to leverage it wherever we can, including in education and science. While the ccLearn brand has gained recognition among those in the open education community we’ve directly engaged with, we want our impact and visibility to scale far beyond those we talk to directly. Second, separate branding led to a separate website for our open education activities, which essentially meant nobody saw them — last quarter alone the main CC site had 400x more visitors than the ccLearn site.
It will take some time to migrate and rebrand all relevant content, but the net effect is that going forward you can expect to see much more OER-related content and news on the CC home page, main site, and wiki. This is a big win for the open education movement — many more people will learn about OER, and for CC as well — OER may be the single most compelling use of our tools, and one that any member of the public can understand right away. Free access to materials for learning, worldwide — of course!
Resources and Funding
Creative Commons is increasing, not decreasing, its resource commitment to open education projects. The reorganization results in the departure of one staff, but the addition of direct open education project responsibility to several of our most senior staff, including our CEO, Creative Director, CTO, GC, and VP. It’s fair to ask what these people will not be doing now that they have significant new responsibilities. In brief, we get some efficiency gains through less internal communications overhead due to the reorganization and some replication of efforts that both core and ccLearn have pursued in the past. Additionally, we’re doing less pure outreach and outreach-related travel. This is worth an entire post in itself, but the short version is that direct outreach by CC staff now constitutes drops in the ocean of the burgeoning commons movement, so we’re focusing on relationships where an official CC representative is required and implementation could have a major impact. We plan to leverage education experts in our worldwide affiliate network — who are better positioned and more knowledgeable than staff at times — to do more of the direct outreach on behalf of CC. And finally, we’ll be making some support hires to free up more senior staff time for education project management and strategy.
We also think that making OER part of CC’s core messaging and focusing more of our project energy on supporting OER makes CC more attractive to donors — see brand above.
Photo: Cathy Casserly by Joi Ito / CC BY. OER champion Casserly joined the CC board of directors this month.
Following are staff with direct open education responsibilities. All are listed on our organization chart (pdf), which you can always find linked from our people page. Note that all are completely integrated into the organization and that several others have (and always had) supporting roles for OER through as a matter of course in their work running CC’s operations, supporting affiliates, developing software, etc.
Joi Ito, CEO. Joi sets the overall direction of the organization, including our OER strategy. He will be greatly increasing the visibility of CC’s open education projects this year with the public and funders, including via keynoting conferences, writing, and personal appearances. He also has responsibility for leveraging the extensive education expertise of our board of directors and bringing external expertise to a new CC advisory board comprised in part of education experts. Joi will also play a key role in helping CC and OER grow in regions such as the Middle East and Africa — for those in the San Francisco, please come to our salon on February 16 to hear Joi speak on this topic.
Lila Bailey, Counsel, is focused on legal projects supporting OER and is supervised by Diane Peters, General Counsel, who leads the development of CC’s legal tools and overall legal strategy and policy, and will make OER one of the primary drivers in development of upgraded licenses and public domain tools.
Nathan Yergler, CTO, heads CC’s technology team, has direct responsibility for our OER search projects, and was lead developer for DiscoverEd, our OER search prototype. Nathan is currently hiring a software engineer to support further development of DiscoverEd.
Alex Kozak, Program Assistant, does project coordination for our Student Journalism project, works on OER metrics and other analysis, and provides support and documentation for our education-related technology projects. Jane Park, Communications Coordinator does much of our OER-related blogging and interviewing and liaises with both the media and community. Alex and Jane are supervised by Eric Steuer, Creative Director. Eric was CC’s primary representative at education events prior to the formation of ccLearn. In addition to education management responsibilities, Eric will be using experience gained from orchestrating major CC adoptions and improvements across many fields to help OER platforms improve their support for CC tools.
Tim Vollmer, Open Policy Fellow, is primarily responsible for supporting the OER policy community with analysis, explanations, metrics, and case studies concerning the benefits of open licensing for OER. Tim is supervised by Mike Linksvayer, Vice President, who manages CC’s day to day operations and oversees overall OER project planning, and is writing this blog post. If you have questions about CC’s open education projects, feel free to contact Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many of CC’s affiliates are heavily involved in OER projects worldwide. We’ll be featuring many of them over the coming months.
Following is a sampling of open education projects CC is working on this year.
- Licensing and copyright for OER, including its relationship to minors. Especially as OER becomes more prevalent in K-12, consideration must be given to the licensing of works created by minors. Our goal is to provide materials which allow parents, teachers, and learners to use and contribute to OER with confidence by following common-sense best practices, keeping parents and teachers involved.
- Explanations of all elements of our core legal tools for an education audience.
- A Continuing Legal Education course module for lawyers on copyright and open licensing that addresses education-specific issues.
- Development of education use cases to inform the future development of our licenses and public domain tools.
- Further exploration of copyright exceptions & limitations (including fair use) and OER production.
- R&D on metadata, discoverability, provenance for OER — a mouthful, but some of the key
challengesopportunities for increased OER adoption and impact.
- Publications on known best practices for OER metadata.
- Continued development and support of DiscoverEd, pushing ahead the state of the art for OER search.
- Consulting on implementations of CC tools on key OER platforms.
- Convening further in-person and online summits and code sprints concerning OER, discoverability and CC tools.
Social, Media, Policy
- A new introductory video focusing on CC and OER.
- A new and continuously updated slide deck for anyone to use and modify for presentation on CC and OER.
- Further interviews and case studies highlighting the best and brightest implementations and implementers of CC for OER.
- Analysis of lessons learned from Open Access policy and possible translation to OER policy.
- Metrics regarding CC and OER adoption.
- Further analysis of the reasons for heterogeneous copyright policies in online education and a new push for CC adoption and interoperability.
- Materials for teaching about CC in curricula where open licensing and remix are instructive, e.g., journalism and arts education.
As with staffing resources above, it’s fair to ask what projects we won’t be doing, given that we’ve said we’re focusing our support for open education on projects in which our core legal and technical expertise come to bear. Here are some examples of areas related to open education that we’ve considered or been lobbied to consider involvement in that are outside of our core expertise and therefore out of scope: advising on health privacy and education; translation, formats, and content management systems beyond their support for open licensing and discoverability; direct advocacy and political movement building; advising on pedagogy. This is not a complete list by any means — there is much demand for expertise within the burgeoning open education movement.
We believe that by focusing on legal and technology projects and explanations that further adoption of CC and OER we will make great progress on the in-scope projects above and more in 2010, setting up 2011 to be a breakthrough year for the open education movement. Onward!4 Comments »
If you’re in the SF Bay Area, we hope to see you at our next Creative Commons Salon, which will feature a panel discussion about CC from an international perspective. The panel will feature CC staffers CEO Joi Ito, Arab World Media & Development Manager Donatella della Ratta, and International Project Manager Michelle Thorne, who will be joined by David Sasaki, Outreach Director for Global Voices.
This will be a great chance to learn about how globally diverse communities use Creative Commons, as well as challenges faced in various regions and projects around the world. How do sharing norms, for example, or compelling use cases differ from country to country? What works in one context may not carry over to another, so where do models fail and what lessons can be learned? How can specific fields, such as open education or citizen journalism, solve some of these issues and foster healthier sharing communities?
Come meet CC staff and other free culture friends and enthusiasts from the Bay Area in an informal setting.
When: Tuesday, February 16, 7-9pm
Location: PariSoMa, 1436 Howard St. (map and directions). Plenty of street parking available. (Please note, the space is located up two steep flights of stairs, and unfortunately does not currently have elevator access.)
Light refreshments will be provided, and since we rely on the generosity of our community to keep us afloat, we’ll be accepting donations for CC at the door.
CC Salons are global events, and anyone can start one, no matter where you live. We encourage you to check out our resources for starting your own salon in your area.Comments Off
Creative Commons recently celebrated its seventh anniversary, capping an impressive year of success for the organization, including the launch of CC0, our new public domain tool, migration of Wikipedia to a CC license, and compelling new implementations — from CC-aware discovery in both Google and Yahoo! image search, to adoptions of CC licenses ranging from the U.S. White House to Al Jazeera, and by major educational and scientific institutions to countless individual bloggers, musicians, photographers, teachers, and more. We also surpassed our year end public fundraising goal, raising $533,898 to continue building infrastructure that makes sharing easy, scalable, and legal. Thanks again!
In light of our continued growth and maturation, we are ever mindful of how CC can best ensure that as an organization we continue to increase our impact sustainably. As a provider of critical infrastructure that millions and more depend upon, this is our responsibility. Sustainability is not only or first a financial issue — though we will ask for your continued support in funding the organization — but depends on staying focused on our goals, executing on our strengths and core competencies, constantly looking for ways to streamline operations while empowering our vast international community, and avoiding mission creep however tempting.
Over the last six months we’ve been putting these thoughts into plans and action. Last summer we integrated the team supporting our international affiliates with our core team of experts based in San Francisco, eliminating two of our three Berlin-based staff positions. Over the next several months most of our science team (Science Commons) will move from Boston to San Francisco to align message and operations with our core, also. This month, we are integrating our education team (known heretofore as CC Learn), the subject of the rest of this message.
CC Learn was conceived as a focus point for CC adoption in the education arena. Since its launch two and one half years ago, it has progressed itself into a valuable member of, and broadly engaging with, the open education movement, providing not only legal and technical infrastructure and expertise, but subject matter expertise on a range of issues relevant to open education. Education is one of the most compelling uses of CC legal and technical tools. CC licenses are mission-critical for the development and adoption of Open Educational Resources (OER) — the ecosystem would fail without standard, interoperable legal terms for sharing, using and reusing content. It relies on collaboration between many institutions and many individuals in many different jurisdictions. Only CC licenses are capable of providing such a bridge.
Yet as much as CC has to offer as a leader of the open education movement, we remain humbled by the many others with yet deeper expertise and experience in these areas and from whom we continue to learn. And while we have much to offer, and will continue to offer as a life-long member of these remarkable movements and communities, we feel compelled to consider our own sustainability. We come back to, as we always have, our irreplaceability on the infrastructure level of providing unparalleled legal and technical excellence that allows education, science, and culture to work — this is what we do uniquely, and this is what we do best. We’ve decided that we can best support the open education and OER communities by focusing our resources and support where we are strongest and provide the most unique value. This means engaging the open education community as legal and technical experts rather than as participants in a broad conversation about the potentialities of open education — which we fully believe in, making the need to support open education in the most leveraged fashion we can all the more compelling.
Such changes mean that some of the activities and, sadly, personnel cannot be integrated successfully with the new structure, consequently transitioning out of CC so that they can better pursue such work elsewhere. In this current transition, Ahrash Bissell, the Executive Director of CC Learn, has left the organization. As with all alumni, CC expects great things of the departing staff and looks forward to ongoing collaboration with Ahrash and the open education community, building on his excellent work. We extend to Ahrash our heartfelt gratitude for his passion, dedication and wisdom, and wish him well with his future endeavors.
In the coming months we’ll be making further announcements about our comprehensive integration of education and science into our core activities and messaging. Exciting developments are on the horizon with respect to new and enhanced legal and technical tools as well as explanatory materials and support for policy development in education and science. More importantly we’ll be asking for your support and input, including specific feedback on designs, prototypes, messages, and initiatives as they develop. Most importantly, we will be asking for your input on whether we’re on the right track. Have something to say about CC? We’re listening!
Addendum: See a follow-up post with specifics concerning CC’s plans, projects, and team for open education in 2010 and beyond.1 Comment »