OER

School of Open gets a facelift, plus other news

Jane Park, June 17th, 2014

Since our last comprehensive update, the School of Open has been creating new courses, planning continent-wide launches, conducting research, and making itself over.

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New Web Space

We have a new web space! Previously, communications about our major projects have been scattered throughout the blogosphere and various wiki, Lernanta, and WordPress pages. But today we are happy to announce that there is one place you can visit to learn about and get involved with the School of Open, including newbies who just want to find a course to take.

Our web address hasn’t changed; it’s still http://schoolofopen.org. We invite any and all feedback at our new discussion space.

New Courses

After wrapping our first round of facilitated courses on copyright, Creative Commons, and Wikipedia earlier this year, we continued to develop courses for independent or group study. Here are the ones we recently launched, including a collaboration with Mozilla’s Webmaker initiative!

(Check out all of our stand-alone courses regardless of when they launched.)

How to use Open Educational Resources (OER)

Developed by Boyoung Chae and co. over at the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC), this course was initially designed to help onboard community college faculty and staff with the CC BY–licensed textbooks coming out of WA’s Open Course Library project. We’ve since worked with them to adapt the course for the general public!

The self-paced modules walk you through how to incorporate open educational resources into your teaching practice, in addition to using open licenses and locating existing OER. One past participant said,

“How to Use OER is a great introduction to this amazing development in education. This will establish a good foundation for understanding the various components of open resources or fill in gaps that you might have. I am grateful the course will remain open after completion so that the materials and discussions can be revisited.”

ABC of Copyright for Librarians in Latin America

This Spanish language course seeks to help librarians and library users strengthen their knowledge of copyright laws in Latin America and the challenges that exist to access to information in the 21st century. CC affiliates from Colombia, El Salvador and Uruguay, in collaboration with the Karisma Foundation, developed this course in response to increasingly restrictive copyright laws in Latin America and around the globe. The course contains examples, analysis and open models based on Latin American cases and legislation. Read more about the course launch here.

Mozilla Webmaker Training for Teachers (and other web users)

Mozilla Webmaker is all about transforming web users into web makers, aka citizens of the web who do more than just consume content, but also create it while leveraging open resources and tools. The new Mozilla Webmaker Training for Teachers embeds knowledge about open throughout its set of self-paced modules that will help you to:

  • “Integrate the mechanics, culture and citizenship of the web into your practice.”
  • “Bring creativity to your teaching through open, participatory methods.”
  • “Connect with fellow mentors and educators (especially those in your local area) to share knowledge and resources.”

New Survey

In collaboration with the OER Research Hub, we’ve been conducting research on the impact of School of Open courses. As part of this project, we invite you to participate in a survey we created for participants of stand-alone courses.

If you haven’t taken a course yet but plan to, the survey is linked at the end of every stand-alone course so you can take it when you do complete it. The survey will remain open through the end of August. If you have ever gone through a School of Open course on your own, please:

New Plans for a School of Open Africa

Volunteers in Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, and Nigeria are planning for a School of Open Africa launch in September. Each region will develop and run a training program or course on the use and application of open resources. Stay tuned for a guest post detailing plans, and check out the current programs running in Kenya and South Africa for now:

School of Open Kenya Initiative
Creative Commons for Kids (South Africa)
Activate Africa (South Africa)


Interested in any of the above activities? Get Involved.

To receive future updates like this one, sign up for School of Open Announcements.


About the School of Open

SOO-logo-100x100

The School of Open is a global community of volunteers focused on providing free education opportunities on the meaning, application, and impact of “openness” in the digital age and its benefit to creative endeavors, education, and research. Volunteers develop and run online courses, offline workshops, and real world training programs on topics such as Creative Commons licenses, open educational resources, and sharing creative works. The School of Open is coordinated by Creative Commons and P2PU, a peer learning community for developing and running free online courses.

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NSF grantee opens up wind technology training materials for fellow grantees

Jane Park, May 28th, 2014

WindTech TV, a collection of wind turbine technician training materials and simulation modules, is now available under a CC BY license. Developed as part of a National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technological Education project, WindTech TV’s modules are aligned with industry standards and designed to be integrated into two-year college wind technology programs to sustain workforce development in the field of wind power.

Modules are currently being used by community colleges across the United States, and Principal Investigator Phil Pilcher wants to expand that impact through reuse by other grantees, including those part of the U.S. Department of Labor’s $2 billion Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College & Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program.

“WindTechTV has always been free, but we think that the CC BY license will increase usage. One of our project goals is to disseminate the materials nationwide. The CC license lets instructors and administrators know that they can use our videos as they wish when they are developing and delivering courses. Also, TAACCCT grantees who are working on alternative energy courses will now be able to reuse our video content, which should speed up development.”

All modules are available at http://www.windtechtv.org and videos are available from WindTech TV’s YouTube channel.

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CC BY 4.0 required on U.S. Department of Labor $150M grant

Cable Green, March 28th, 2014

US Department of Labor Logo

Creative Commons actively works to support foundations, governments, IGOs and other funders who create, adopt and implement open policies. We believe publicly funded resources should be openly licensed resources.

To support these and other emerging open policy efforts, CC is about to launch, with multiple global open organizations, an Open Policy Network and Institute for Open Leadership.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has led the way in using open policy requirements in solicitations for grant requirements first with its Career Pathways Innovation Fund Grants Program (http://www.doleta.gov/grants/pdf/SGA-DFA-PY-10-06.pdf), then with its Trade Adjustment Assistance and Community College Career Training grant program (doleta.gov/taaccct). Now they are once again requiring the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license on all content created with the grant funds and modifications made to pre-existing, grantee-owned content using grant funds in their Ready to Work Partnership grant program. Bravo!

The U.S. Department of Labor has announced the availability of approximately $150 million in funds for the H-1B Ready to Work Partnership grant program. DOL expects to fund approximately 20-30 grants with individual grant amounts ranging from $3 million to $10 million. This grant program is designed to provide long-term unemployed workers with individualized counseling, training and supportive and specialized services leading to rapid employment in occupations and industries for which employers use H-1B visas to hire foreign workers. http://www.doleta.gov/grants/pdf/SGA_DFA_PY_13_07.pdf

Here is the open policy text in the grant solicitation:

  • To ensure that the Federal investment of these funds has as broad an impact as possible and to encourage innovation in the development of new learning materials, as a condition of the receipt of a Ready to Work grant, the grantee will be required to license to the public all work (except for computer software source code, discussed below) created with the support of the grant under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC BY) license. Work that must be licensed under the CC BY includes both new content created with the grant funds and modifications made to pre-existing, grantee-owned content using grant funds.
  • This license allows subsequent users to copy, distribute, transmit and adapt the copyrighted Work and requires such users to attribute the Work in the manner specified by the grantee. Notice of the license shall be affixed to the Work. For general information on CC BY, please visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0. Instructions for marking your work with CC BY can be found at http://wiki.creativecommons.org/Marking_your_work_with_a_CC_license.
  • Questions about CC BY as it applies to specific Ready to Work grant applications should be submitted to DOL to the Grants Management Specialist specified in Section VII.
  • Only work that is developed by the grantee with the grant funds is required to be licensed under the CC BY license. Pre-existing copyrighted materials licensed to, or purchased by the grantee from third parties, including modifications of such materials, remain subject to the intellectual property rights the grantee receives under the terms of the particular license or purchase. In addition, works created by the grantee without grant funds do not fall under the CC BY license requirement.
  • The purpose of the CC BY licensing requirement is to ensure that materials developed with funds provided by these grants result in Work that can be freely reused and improved by others. When purchasing or licensing consumable or reusable materials, grantees are expected to respect all applicable Federal laws and regulations, including those pertaining to the copyright and accessibility provisions of the Federal Rehabilitation Act.
  • Further, the Department requires that all computer software source code developed or created with Ready to Work grant funds will be released under an intellectual property license that allows others to use and build upon them. Specifically, the grantee will release all new source code developed or created with grant funds under an open license acceptable to either the Free Software Foundation and/or the Open Source Initiative.
  • Separate from the CC BY license to the public, the Federal Government reserves a paid-up, nonexclusive and irrevocable license to reproduce, publish, or otherwise use, and to authorize others to use for Federal purposes: the copyright in all products developed under the grant, including a purchases ownership under an award (including, but not limited to, curricula, training models, technical assistance products, and any related materials).

Well done U.S. Department of Labor for once again demonstrating how to properly implement an open policy.

The U.S. Department of Labor seal is in the public domain.

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Professor spends sabbatical building “50 Wise Speakers” open videos

Cable Green, March 17th, 2014

I recently interviewed Dr. Phil Venditti, professor of communication studies at Clover Park Technical College in Washington State (USA). Phil teaches public speaking and other oral and written communication courses. In 2010 Phil learned about the Open Course Library project and became an enthusiastic adherent. Phil developed two courses in the Open Course Library, wrote a textbook which he licensed CC BY, and has since saved his students roughly $60,000 by using open educational resources (OER).

The Open Course Library was Phil’s first exposure to OER, but it wasn’t his last. He testified to the State Legislature in favor of a bill which would have mandated that all educational materials created by state postsecondary education employees be openly licensed. As President of FACTC — the Washington Faculty Association of Community and Technical Colleges, Phil has promoted adoption of OER by college faculty members throughout his state. FACTC passed a resolution in 2012 endorsing the ideal of OER on economic, educational, and moral grounds.

Phil recently went on sabbatical and decided to interview 50 prominent speakers to gather tips on effective public speaking for his students — and for the world because all of Phil’s work and videos are openly licensed under CC BY 4.0 license. Nearly 30 hours of his videos can be browsed at Phil’s YouTube channel. Speakers included in the project are 29-time Emmy winner and “Almost Live” alum Bill Stainton, Tacoma News Tribune Executive Editor Karen Peterson, former NFL quarterback Jon Kitna, Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland, and wildlife artist and conservationist Becci Crowe. To complete the project, 40 of Phil’s public speaking students and a team of editors from Clover Park’s Media Design and Production program spent more than 700 hours reviewing and editing the interviews. When it is launched online in May of this year, the project will offer a database of free, CC BY-licensed materials at cptc.edu/fifty-wise on subjects ranging from how to conquer stage fright to how to organize a presentation.

On March 20, the “50 Wise Speakers” project will be presented in a red-carpet gala at Clover Park Technical College.

Phil says OER has changed the way he thinks about teaching and learning.

“I believe that the essence of education should be sharing. Every day I ask myself, ‘How can I help connect more people to more information that might change their lives?'”

Following Phil’s lead, what will you share today?

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Open Education Week: A focus on Latin America

Carolina Botero, March 10th, 2014

On Thursday, March 14 Fundación Karisma, in collaboration with UNESCO and Creative Commons will launch the report “Public Expenditure On Education in Latin America: Can It Serve the Paris Open Educational Resources Declaration’s Purposes?”

“Human rights are not left at the door when we enter the online world.” This is the premise on which we embark on a new research project related to one of the fundamental rights under threat in a networked society: access to knowledge.

In Latin America, paper textbooks coexist with digital technologies, but for the most part these digital resources are not yet an essential part of education systems. Despite efforts to foster the pedagogical use of information technology, in Latin America there is currently more emphasis on connectivity issues. Without adequately addressing the challenges to connectivity, the educational ecosystem is wasting real opportunities to boost the adoption and implementation of appropriate technologies.

Open education promotes knowledge as a public good based on the following elements: redistribution (sharing with others), remixing (combining resources to create new content), free reuse of whole or partial educational materials with proper attribution, the ability to revise resources in order to make modifications, enhancements, and adaptations according to context, and peer reviewing to ensure resource quality.

As described in the report, the increasing availability of Open Educational Resources open up a range of possibilities for the countries of the region that are still depending on a high level of negotiations between state educational systems and the publishing industry. But while many governments do not have the technological capabilities to facilitate the realization of human rights, the recommendations of important instruments such as the Paris Open Educational Resources (OER) Declaration can be a useful tool to prompt political and social change within the educational systems in Latin America. According to the Paris OER Declaration, Open Educational Resources include any teaching, learning and research materials which are in the public domain or released under an intellectual property license that allows for free use, adaptation and distribution.

The report was commissioned by the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science in Latin America and the Caribbean. It will be released on Thursday and published under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND license. The report seeks to identify and analyze public policy and the investment and expenditure that the governments of Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay and Uruguay have committed for the development and procurement of textbooks, books and digital content for primary and secondary education (K-12).

Because the purpose of Open Education Week is to raise awareness about the movement and its impact on teaching and learning worldwide, we invite you to be part of the webinar. The event will be a dialogue on open education issues in the region with the participation of Carolina Rossini, OER expert from Brazil, Juan Carlos Bernal from the Ministry of National Education of Colombia, and Patricia Diaz and Virgina Rodes, who are members of the Uruguayan OER community. In addition to these speakers, a Creative Commons and UNESCO representatives will join the talk, as well as the group of researchers from Fundación Karisma who developed the report.

Webinar details:

This post originally appeared via Fundación Karisma, a civil society organization based in Bogotá, Colombia. The organization supports and promotes access to information and communication technologies in Colombian and Latin American society.

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School of Open: Copyright & Creative Commons for Educators Courses Now Open for Sign-up

Jane Park, February 18th, 2014

fuzzy copyright
Is copyright a little fuzzy? / Elias Bizannes / CC BY-SA

Following on the heels of “Writing Wikipedia Articles: The Basics and Beyond,” three more School of Open courses are now open for sign-up. They are:

1. Copyright 4 Educators (AUS)

This course will equip Australian educators with the copyright knowledge to confidently use copyright material in the classroom. It will also introduce Open Educational Resources (OER) and teach you how to find and adapt free, useful resources for your classes. The course is open to all educators around the world, but it is specifically targeted to Australian teachers, teacher-librarians from K-12, TAFE teachers, University lecturers/tutors, and University students studying to become teachers. The course material is learnt around practical case studies faced by teachers when using copyright material in their day-to-day teaching and educational instruction.

Facilitators: Jessica Smith and Delia Browne

To sign up, click the “Start course” button on the bottom left of the course page.

2. Copyright 4 Educators (US)

This is a course for educators who want to learn about US copyright law in the education context. Educators who are not in the US are welcome to sign up, too, if they want to learn about copyright law in the US. The course is taught around practical case studies faced by teachers when using copyright material in their day-to-day teaching. By answering the case scenarios and drafting and discussing the answers in groups, you and other participants will learn:

  • What is the public domain?
  • What does copyright law protect?
  • What is fair use?
  • What other exceptions are there in copyright law?
  • What are open access educational resources?

Facilitators: Laura Quilter and Lila Bailey

To sign up, apply using the Google form — also linked at the top of the course page.

3. Creative Commons for K-12 Educators

K-12 educators would like to find and adapt free, useful resources for their classes. Some would even like to incorporate activities that teach their students digital world skills — such as finding, remixing, and sharing digital media and materials on the web. In this lightly facilitated course, we will learn how to do these things with each other in a peer learning environment.

Facilitator: Jane Park

To sign up, click the “Start course” button on the bottom left of the course page.

About the School of Open

school of open logo

The School of Open is a global community of volunteers focused on providing free education opportunities on the meaning, application, and impact of “openness” in the digital age and its benefit to creative endeavors, education, research, and more. Volunteers develop and run online courses, offline workshops, and real world training programs on topics such as Creative Commons licenses, open educational resources, and sharing creative works. The School of Open is coordinated by Creative Commons and P2PU, a peer learning community and platform for developing and running free online courses.

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Call for Participation: Open Education Week 2014

Jane Park, February 14th, 2014

oew-logo 2
OCW Consortium / CC BY

Creative Commons invites you to participate in the 3rd annual Open Education Week! Taking place from 10-15 March, 2014, the purpose of Open Education Week is raise the profile of open educational resources (OER) and the global movement of people and organizations behind them, in addition to highlighting the crucial role that legal tools, such as Creative Commons licenses, play in making OER possible.

The OpenCourseWare Consortium, organizer of Open Ed Week, cites several case studies demonstrating the growing impact of OER, including:

  • A pilot program in Utah’s K-12 schools that used printed open textbooks, cutting textbook costs by over 50%
  • A Haitian solar energy company that built their business to serve the needs of its local community thanks to open courseware that helped to deepen its knowledge about solar engineering
  • An engineer in India that developed his management skills and international perspectives to advance his career thanks to a self-designed study plan consisting of OER

…not to mention CC’s own set of Team Open and OER case studies!

You can contribute to the week by submitting an informational video about OER or a specific OER project; hosting a local event/workshop or webinar, and promoting the week to your networks. The deadline to submit your resource or event is 28 February, 2014.

We look forward to seeing your contributions in March!

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School of Open: “Writing Wikipedia Articles” Course Now Open for Registration

Jane Park, February 3rd, 2014

Below, Sara Frank Bristow invites you to join “Writing Wikipedia Articles: The Basics & Beyond”. Sara is a co-organizer of the course and a member of WikiProject Open. Both projects are part of the School of Open.


The School of Open will offer its popular “Writing Wikipedia Articles” course (WIKISOO) starting 25 February, 2014. This free introductory online course, now in its fourth incarnation, runs for six weeks. Enrollment is open to all.

WikiSOO_Burba

WIKISOO Burba Badge

WIKISOO students learn about the values and culture that have driven hundreds of thousands of volunteers to build Wikipedia. Through their work in the course, they join an effort that has generated millions of free articles in hundreds of languages since 2001.The course covers the technical skills needed to edit articles, and also offers practical insights into the site’s collaborative norms and social dynamics. Students graduate with a sophisticated understanding of how to use Wikipedia both as a reader and as an active participant.

The course focuses on articles about openness in education: open educational resources (OER), MOOCs, Creative Commons licenses and more. Students will forge connections with WikiProject Open, a community of volunteers focused on this topic area. Upon successful completion, students earn the WIKISOO Burba Badge.

The course is sponsored by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the University of Mississippi. Course instructors are:

  • Pete Forsyth, Wikipedia trainer & consultant (Wiki Strategies)
  • Sara Frank Bristow, OER and online education researcher (Salient Research)
  • Dr. Robert Cummings, Associate Professor (University of Mississippi)

Course registration is now open!

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U.S. PIRG report finds students would perform better with open textbooks

Jane Park, January 30th, 2014

The U.S. PIRG Education Fund released a report this week called, “Fixing the Broken Textbook Market: How Students Respond to High Textbook Costs and Demand Alternatives.” The report features responses to a survey administered to over 2,000 students across 163 college campuses in the U.S. in regards to the rising cost of textbooks and how it affects student usage and academic performance. The report has been making the rounds in major news outlets and is highlighted in a letter to Congress by Senators Durbin and Franken as a push for the Affordable College Textbook Act. It is available for anyone to read online under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license, but here are the tl;dr highlights:

What the survey results say

  • 65% of students choose not to buy a college textbook because it’s too expensive
  • 94% report that they suffer academically because of this choice
  • 48% say they altered which classes they took based on textbook costs, either taking fewer classes or different classes
  • Senator Durbin wholeheartedly agrees: “According to the students surveyed in this report, the rising cost of textbooks not only adds to the overall financial burden of attending college, it can also have a measurably negative impact on their academic performance and student outcomes.”
  • 82% of students say they would do significantly better in a course if the textbook were free online and a hard copy was optional!
  • Case studies at both Houston Community College and Virginia State University suggest that classes using open textbooks have higher grades and better course completion rates

Textbook industry facts

(as reported by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund and the Student PIRGs)

  • College textbook prices have increased by 82% in the past ten years, aka 3x the rate of inflation
  • Though alternatives to the new print edition textbooks exist, the costs of these alternatives (such as rental programs, used book markets and e-textbooks) are still dictated by publishers who re-issue editions every few years
  • Ethan Sendack at U.S. PIRG says: “[Students] can’t shop around and find the most affordable option, meaning there’s no consumer control on the market.”
  • On average students spend $1,200 a year on textbooks which = 14% of tuition at a four-year, public college; 39% of tuition at community college

Open textbook facts

  • Open textbooks are written by faculty and peer-reviewed like traditional textbooks
  • Open textbooks are free to access, use, download to electronic devices, and affordable to print — all thanks to the open content licenses on them that legally allows these uses
  • U.S. PIRG estimates that open textbooks could save each student ~$100 per course they take

Find out for yourself

Links to the press release, full report, and news coverage below.

What you can do

Support the Affordable College Textbook Act which would establish open textbook pilot programs at colleges and universities across the country! Learn more at http://www.sparc.arl.org/advocacy/national/act and read Senators Durbin and Franken’s Dear Colleague letter to Congress at http://www.sparc.arl.org/sites/default/files/S.%201704%20Dear%20Colleague.pdf.

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Help bridge our open communities: Open Coalition Project Coordinator Job

Jane Park, January 22nd, 2014


Construction of the Story Bridge, Brisbane, 1939 / State Library Queensland / No known copyright restrictions

Last November, a bunch of us from Wikimedia, Mozilla, P2PU, OKFN, Creative Commons, School of Open, and other communities got together for a session at Mozfest called “Collaborations across the Open Space.” That session not only laid the groundwork for better communication among open organizations, but also resulted in the momentum to draft a job description for a project coordinator who will “support the development of a stronger network of organizations working in the areas of open knowledge and open access.”

The part-time position is being funded by Wikimedia UK with the hope that another organization will pick up it up after the initial 6 month term. The full description is at https://wikimedia.org.uk/wiki/Open_Coalition_Project_Co-ordinator – but here are the highlights of what we envision the person to be doing:

  • Have a thorough understanding of issues relating to open knowledge, open access, open source, and open content licences
  • Lead on the development of a small event for organisations working in this space, including Wikimedia UK, Open Knowledge Foundation, Creative Commons, Mozilla, Open Rights Group, and OpenStreetMap, among others
  • Act as a conduit for organisations acting in the open space, facilitating discussion and collaboration
  • Lead on the creation of a website and booklet explaining what it means to be an open organisation, what the “open sector” is and the benefits it brings
  • Build a relationship of trust with the group and the wider open community
  • Develop and deliver sessions about the open coalition at Wikimania in London, August 2014

The position is based in London, but will be working with open community members from around the world. Have a look at the position and also at the notes from the original Mozfest session for reference.

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