Guest post by Elizabeth Kiragu Wanjugu and Tobias Schonwetter
As we were busy getting ready for our community Global Summit a few weeks ago, we nearly missed the announcement of another very important addition to that community – our new CC Kenya affiliate.
Our new Kenyan team is based around two Nairobi-based affiliate institutions: Strathmore University‘s Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology (CIPIT) and the National Council for Law Reports (NCLR). CIPIT – led by Dr. Isaac Rutenberg – is Kenya’s Public Lead, while the NCLR – led by Michael Murungi – serves as CC Kenya’s Legal Lead institution.
The Kenyan team is supported by a large existing CC community in the country, which has been active for quite some time. Unsurprisingly, therefore, a number of projects and activities are already under way. The NCLR’s Kenya Law Report already uses CC’s Public Domain Mark for its content, the team has been a major contributor to bringing the School of Open to the region, and there is an exciting initiative to translate some of CC’s licence tools into Kiswahili. According to the new team, Kenya’s thriving cultural industry requires access to shareable resources that facilitate remixing, and CC Kenya also strives to support newly realisable democratic freedoms by enabling widespread access to knowledge and information. CC Kenya makes East Africa now one of the most active regions for CC in Africa with affiliate teams in Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya.
One of the first major activities of the new team, even before they had formally launched, was Kenya’s inaugural Creative Commons Salon. Held on 6 June, 2013 at Nairobi’s iHub and themed, “using technology as a democratizing tool, especially one that will level the playing field for education and opportunity in Kenya,” the event drew approximately 50 participants from different backgrounds.
Organised by Akili Dada in partnership with newly established team, the Center for Intellectual Property and Information Technology (CIPIT) and Jamlab.
Akili Dada is a leadership incubator investing in high-achieving young African women from underprivileged backgrounds who are passionate about social change. CIPIT is CC Kenya’s Public Lead while Jamlab drives the School of Open in Kenya.
In her opening remarks Allison Domicone, Akili Dada’s Director of Development (and who incidentally ran CC Salons from late 2008 through early 2011 and helped grow them significantly while working with Creative Commons in San Francisco, California) welcomed the attendees then asked Alex Gakuru, Creative Commons Africa Regional Coordinator, to say a few words.
Expressing optimism for continued growth, Alex reflected on the positive reception thus far accorded to Creative Commons in Kenya and across Africa.
The panelists comprised Michael Muringi, CEO/Editor National Council for Law Reports; CC Kenya Legal Lead, Judith Owigar, President of Akirachix; Paul Kihwelo, Public Lead of Creative Commons Tanzania; and Simeon Oriko, Co-Founder of Jamlab. Akili Dada founder Wanjiru Kamau Rutenberg moderated the session.
Discussions on how technology can be harnessed as democratizing tool delved into how it can be made more accessible to all people with a special attention to girls and women given local statistics that they constitute only 15 percent of a technology field dominated by men. Discussion around access was extended to include access to online resources, empowering instruments and digital tools such as the mobile phone.
Discussants established among major barriers to access included: Inequitable financial access; Lack of knowledge; Absent or unpredictable electricity; Resultant societal stereotyping; to name but just a few. Probing, “What exactly is a level playing field?” was asked at the question session, with panelists responding as follows:
Jamlab – “A level playing field enables a person to achieve goals that s/he has set for own self.”
Creative Commons Tanzania – “A level playing field is where a person can have a balance between retaining ownership and encouraging open access to shared creative works.”
National Council for Law Reporting – “A level playing field is where any citizen gains access to justice without having to relying on costly representation through legal intermediaries.”
Akirachix – “A level playing field is where information is provided to enable girls to make informed career choices.”
Noted challenges included socialization in technology that favoured men over women, parents preferring to take the girl child to secretarial colleges to study languages and at best computer packages rather than encouraging them to venture into computer programming/coding and website development.
“Fortunately, the challenge is slowly being conquered by educating parents on importance of technology to the economy,” said Judith Owigar.
In Tanzania, librarians are championing the cause of Open Educational Resources (OER) due to their background and understanding of the importance of equitable access to knowledge.
Thereafter, the moderator invited audience participation with a reaction that children between 3 and 7 years were most impressionable urging stakeholders to focus their girlhood education and empowerment efforts on that age group.
Responding, Simeon Oriko said at that age the children were best under their parents care learning everything from parents. Jamlab chose to target high school students where youth peer influence, including what they see on social media, have the most impact on their adult character.
Professor Suki Mwendwa cautioned that technology, per se, should not be viewed as the solution to all access problems:
“Reading should be encouraged and technology used as a tool to increase access to knowledge. Technology having a seductive nature should also be regulated at home so that the children can be well rounded.”
The event ended with the moderator narrating inspiring stories of successful women providing role models for the younger generation — and encouraging others to do the same. She called upon more women to step forward to rally behind a solid community of mentors to change the world as we know it today.
It was a very informative interaction and well acknowledged. The audience later engaged and networked while enjoying the refreshments and food courtesy of NCLR sponsorship.
I thank Akili Dada, Creative Commons, Akirachix and Jamlab for taking the time to collect and relay information on matters of access and also women in technology. We look forward to the next CC Salon, perhaps in Tanzania, considering that CC Tanzania expressed their interest in replicating the event back home.
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Correction: The original article incorrectly listed Kenya’s Salon as the first CC Salon held in Sub-Sahara Africa. The first was actually held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in August 2006.
David Wiley, longtime open education leader, has joined Creative Commons as a CC Education Fellow. Welcome David!
David is also currently a Shuttleworth Fellow, on leave from Brigham Young University, and leading Lumen Learning, an organization dedicated to supporting and improving the adoption of open educational resources (OER) by middle schools, high schools, community and state colleges, and universities.
David will be promoting Creative Commons and its interests in open education activities and meetings and will:
- visit institutions of secondary and post-secondary education promoting OER and CC licenses;
- continue to share his “Intro to Openness in Education” course with the School of Open;
- actively participate in the Open Policy Network; and
- create, CC license, and publish primers on OER and open textbook adoption at the secondary level and post-secondary level.
To start, David addresses the problems with the “open” washing that is occurring with more frequency in education as OER gains popularity, over at his blog. Welcome David!Comments Off
California Community Colleges require Creative Commons Attribution for Chancellor’s Office Grants & Contracts
At today’s meeting of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges, the Board voted unanimously to require open licensing on publicly funded materials resulting from all Chancellor’s Office contracts and grants.
The previous policy for these grants maintained ‘all rights reserved’ copyright over grant materials by the Chancellor’s Office; the exact language (PDF) reading, “The copyright for all materials first produced as a result of this Work for Hire agreement shall belong to the Chancellor’s Office.”
Upon reviewing the existing policy, and discussing the benefits of open licensing for publicly funded materials, the Board of Governors voted to adjust its policy so that any works created under contracts or grants funded by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office will be made available under the Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY) license.
The Chancellor’s Office will maintain its copyright over grant and contract funded materials, while enabling wide dissemination, reuse, and adaptation of those materials under the CC BY license. With 72 districts and 112 colleges, the California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in world to now require a CC BY license on its publicly funded grant materials.
According to the press release (PDF),
Using a CC BY license also saves taxpayers money by not funding duplicate work that may only be accessible on the local level. For instance, under the old grant requirements a community college staff may have produced a report under contract from the Chancellor’s Office but was not required to openly license or share that report with other colleges. This made it difficult for other colleges to access and reuse the report, but with the new CC BY requirement, other colleges can both view the report and reuse, share, and improve upon it with updated information and data.
“The Chancellor’s Office already held copyrights to all materials that had been contracted,” California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice W. Harris said. “But the great thing about the action taken by the board of governors this afternoon is that those materials will now be available to a world-wide audience. Also, the tax-paying public shouldn’t be required to pay twice or more to access and use educational materials, first via the funding of the research and development of educational resources and then again when they purchase materials like textbooks they helped fund. So, ultimately this decision to change the board’s regulations will save taxpayers money over time. That’s always a good thing.”
Dean Florez, President and CEO of the 20 Million Minds Foundation added:
“These are exciting times as the California Community Colleges takes the lead in advancing higher education. Creative Commons licensing saves families and taxpayers money and the advancement of Open Educational Resources further expands access to materials for faculty members and their students.”
The video of the open policy discussion from the September 9th meeting is embedded below and available here. Learn more at the press release (PDF) and the presentation and analysis of the agenda item (PDF) from the meeting. Creative Commons is thrilled with this recent development and hopes this new policy by the California Community Colleges inspires other college systems to also implement open policies for their grants and contracts.
Thank you, California Community Colleges for ensuring publicly funded educational resources are openly licensed.
Related: California’s Community Colleges Shift to Creative Commons Licenses by The Chronicle of Higher Education4 Comments »
India has launched a new learning repository for open educational resources (OER). India’s Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, and the Central Institute of Educational Technology, National Council of Educational Research and Training have collaboratively developed the National Repository of Open Educational Resources (NROER). Dr. Pallam Raju, India’s Minister for Human Resource Development, launched the repository on Tuesday, and Dr. Shashi Tharoor, India’s Minister of State for Human Resource Development, announced the repository’s default license for all resources — Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA).
The repository currently includes videos, audio, interactive media, images, and documents, and aims to “bring together all digital and digitisable resources for the [Indian] school system – for all classes, for all subjects and in all languages.”
From Dr. Tharoor’s announcement,
This initiative is also a significant step towards inclusive education. Opening access to all requires a debate on the issue of ownership, copyright, licensing and a balancing of reach with legitimate commercial interests. This is particularly important for public institutions and public funded projects. I am glad that the NCERT has taken the initiative of declaring that the NROER will carry the CC-BY-SA license… This decision by NCERT is in tune with UNESCO’s Paris Declaration on Open Education Resources and will ensure that all the resources are freely accessible to all. To put it in the language of the Creative Commons — to reuse, revise, remix and redistribute.
To contribute to the repository, one must ensure that they are “agreeing to host the resources under a Creative Commons license” (CC BY-SA) and “that the documents uploaded are encoded using non-proprietary, open standards.” To learn more about contributing your OER, visit http://nroer.in/Contribute/.13 Comments »
As the open educational resources (OER) movement continues to grow, students and educators alike can benefit from openly licensed content. The use of Creative Commons licenses in education has allowed learning resources to travel farther, reach more people, and be repurposed to meet local needs.
I recently spoke with Ariel Diaz, CEO of Boundless learning about how his company utilizes Creative Commons CC licenses. This is a summary of our conversation.
So how does Boundless use Creative Commons licenses?
“Creating high quality textbooks is no easy task. It would have been impossible for Boundless to create close to 20 subjects worth of open textbooks without the availability of openly licensed content. While we can also use information that is in the public domain, the license on the content we predominantly use is called Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA). CC BY-SA allows us to tweak and build upon the work of others, even for commercial purposes, and we are required to license our derivative works under the same license terms. To maintain a connection to the original author, we give attribution/credit and mark our content with the same license.
“To create our open textbooks and study tools, our team of expert “Edcurators” find the best content that is openly licensed. They revise and remix the best parts of the best content so that it is aligned with the key concepts of a corresponding traditional textbook for subjects like Marketing, Chemistry, and Writing. In other words, we take openly licensed content and add our own layer of pedagogy (important because our audience is students) and copy editing (important because students deserve to have materials written in a consistent voice that is fit for their grade level). Once the curating process is finished, we’ve officially crafted a resource that helps students at over half the colleges in the U.S. excel. Our educational content is openly available to all students anywhere in the world.”
Why are Creative Commons licenses important to Boundless?
“Creative Commons has revolutionized the process of sharing information. Open resources available under a CC license broadens the distribution of knowledge, allowing people of different ages, socioeconomic statuses, and geographic locations to share and benefit from high quality content. It’s amazing to be part of this revolution.
“In addition to helping us find, curate, and remix high-quality educational content, the CC license helps us stand up for an important belief core to our mission: educational resources should be free and openly licensed.
“We make good on this belief by freely posting our open textbooks on the web, without any registration required. Any student, educator, or self-learner can access, quote, and remix our textbooks for their own purposes thanks to the CC BY-SA license. Openly licensed educational resources means that digital textbooks like ours will continue to improve over time, allowing students the chance to unlock the knowledge they deserve.”
Where can I access Boundless textbooks?
“In addition to the web, Boundless is has released these books for free in one of the world’s most popular ebook stores: the iBookstore (with Kindle support coming soon). The company’s iBooks include titles like Boundless Introduction to Marketing, Introduction to Statistics, and Introduction to Writing. Students can now access Boundless’ high-quality, college-level content online, offline, on any device, at anytime. The Boundless App is available for free from the App Store on iPhone and iPod touch.”2 Comments »
The School of Open is offering its second round of facilitated courses! Starting today, you can sign up for 7 courses during a two week period; sign-up closes 4 August (Sunday) and courses start on or after 5 August (Monday). All courses are free to take and open to reuse under the CC BY-SA license.
The School of Open is a community of volunteers from around the world passionate about peer learning, openness, and the intersection of the two. These volunteers helped launch the School of Open in March. And now they invite you to join them in the following courses.
To sign up for any of these courses, simply go to the course page and click ‘Start Course’ under its left Navigation column.*
1. Copyright 4 Educators (AUS) (7 weeks) – This course is open to anyone in the world, but will focus on Australian copyright law as pertains to education. This course will equip Australian educators with the copyright knowledge to confidently use copyright material in the classroom. It will also introduce OER and teach you how to find and adapt free, useful resources for your classes. Facilitators: Delia Browne and Jessica Smith
2. Copyright 4 Educators (US) (6 weeks) – This course is open to anyone in the world, but will focus on US copyright law as pertains to education. The course is taught around practical case scenarios faced by teachers when using copyright material in their day-to-day teaching. Facilitator: Laura Quilter
3. Creative Commons for K-12 Educators (7 weeks) – This course will help K-12 educators find and adapt free, useful resources for their classes. It will also help them incorporate activities that teach their students digital world skills — such as finding, remixing, and sharing digital media and materials on the web. Facilitator: Jane Park
4. Designing Collaborative Workshops (4 weeks) – This course brings together case studies of some great collaborative workshops that have been run in the past with an open invitation for you to share your own experiences with either running or participating in a workshop that worked well (or didn’t). Facilitators: Mick Fuzz and Jane Park
5. Writing Wikipedia Articles: The Basics and Beyond (6 weeks) – If you can read Wikipedia, you can learn to build it! In this course, you will learn about the software, the rules, and the cultural values that drive and support this ubiquitous and community-built online encyclopedia. It will focus on articles about openness in education. Facilitators: Pete Forsyth and Sara Frank Bristow *This course runs on Wikipedia; follow instructions to sign up at the course page
6. Open Science: An Introduction (4 weeks) – This course is a collaborative learning environment meant to introduce the idea of Open Science to young scientists, academics, and makers of all kinds. Facilitator: Billy Meinke
7. Why Open? (4 weeks) – This course will facilitate discussion on the different meanings of openness, how openness applies to different domains, as well as participants’ views of what it means to do things openly. Participants will engage in open activities, and examine the benefits and potential issues with openness. Facilitators: Christina Hendricks, Simeon Oriko, Jeanette Lee, Pete Forsyth, and Jane Park
Too busy to take a course this time around? Don’t worry, we’re around for a while. Sign up to be notified when we launch our next round of facilitated courses, or take a stand-alone course at your own pace, at anytime.
Don’t see a course you want to take but are full of good ideas? Help us build the courses you want to see with others. Join the School of Open discussion list and introduce yourself and your “open” interest.
Forward this to your friends
Want to take a course with your friends? Do these 3 things and call it a day.
- 1. Tweet this:
Open for sign-up: free facilitated #schoolofopen courses on #OER #openscience #wikipedia #copyright #whyopen http://creativecommons.org/?p=39060
- 2. Blog/forward this:
School of Open, Round 2 is open for sign-up! Take a free, facilitated online course on open science, collaborative workshop design, open educational resources, copyright for educators, Wikipedia, CC licenses, why open? — and more! at http://schoolofopen.org/. Take this course with me: [link to course of your choice here]. Read more about the launch at http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/39060.
- 3. Print out a copy of this pdf and pin it to the bulletin board at your work, school, or local coffee shop.
What is the School of Open?
School of Open
The School of Open is a 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 and offline workshops 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, an active peer learning platform and community for developing and running free online courses.
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Saylor K-12 Beta by The Saylor Foundation / CC BY
The Saylor Foundation recently launched a new K-12 program on Saylor.org, debuting courses for grades 6-12 in English language arts and mathematics. A team of experienced educators and staff are developing courses fully aligned to the US Common Core State Standards. Like Saylor’s college-level courses, the K-12 program incorporates open educational resources (OER), making the courses, as well as their contents, widely reusable by students, teachers, and parents nationwide. The course frameworks and instructions are available under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license. Thus, while the courses are ready for use as-is, anyone may also reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute their courses to meet local needs.
Following its higher education model, Saylor’s K-12 team focused on reviewing and vetting an existing pool of OER, selecting the best OER to develop instructions and learning outcomes. With Common Core standards providing a framework for each course, Saylor aims to make K-12 OER easy to find and use. Saylor is currently working on 18 additional courses which will be rolled out as they are completed.
How can you use K-12 courses on Saylor.org?
- Flip your classroom without shooting your own videos. Saylor provides recommendations on their site.
- Incorporate more engaging digital content in your class.
- Get current, openly licensed, Common Core–aligned materials for free.
- Provide extra resources to supplement what your kids learn in school.
- Use self-contained curriculum for home-schooling families.
- Accelerate or review subjects with your kids.
- Do more challenging work. Your school might not offer calculus, but Saylor.org does!
- Learn subjects in a different way and acclimate to an online learning environment.
- Review material you learned in school.
- Go further and prepare for your SATs/college (more on that on the site).
OpenStax College, an initiative of Connexions, the open educational resources (OER) authoring project at Rice University, is creating high-quality, peer-reviewed open textbooks. All of OpenStax College’s books, including the art and illustrations, are available under the Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY), allowing anyone to reuse, revise, remix and redistribute the books.
The first two OpenStax College books were published in June of 2012, and since then Introduction to Sociology and College Physics have been downloaded over 110,000 times, used by more than 1.5 million unique online learners, and adopted at over 200 schools. These adoptions represent real savings for over 30,000 students in classes around the world. OpenStax College estimates that it has saved these students more than $3 million (USD) so far.
OpenStax isn’t stopping there. Biology and its corresponding book for non-majors, Concepts of Biology, and Anatomy & Physiology have now been released and are ready for use in classes in the fourth quarter of 2013.
OpenStax College recently received grants to complete six more books from several major foundations, including the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, Kanzanjian Foundation and Lowenstein Foundation. The next phase will feature Introduction to Statistics, Pre-Calculus, Principles of Economics, U.S. History, Psychology, and Chemistry. These books are entering production now and are scheduled to be released by the end of 2014.1 Comment »
New Education Highway (NEH) is a nonprofit project that could not exist without open educational resources (OER). Launched this year in Myanmar, NEH leverages new and existing OER to provide remote and rural communities — often with no Internet connection — with access to a quality education.
NEH partners with existing organizations in local communities to open free learning centers with tablets or laptops installed with an offline, easily navigable learning interface. Resources are preloaded and span all manner of subjects, including comprehensive K-12 education, standardized test preparation, vocational skills, health/HIV education, sanitation, critical thinking, community development, foreign language training, and environmental and agricultural science. All resources are available under CC licenses, developed by NEH or other organizations. Because permissions have already been granted for reuse, NEH, as well as its communities, can adapt and redistribute the resources as needed.
NEH works with each community it serves to customize the offline interface and OER to that particular community. NEH is always seeking new and existing materials to incorporate, currently in the environmental and agricultural sciences. If you have suggestions for OER, materials that might be adapted and released as OER, or are interested in getting involved as a volunteer, visit http://www.neweducationhighway.org/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Informational content on NEH’s website is defaulted under the CC BY license. The OER used within the NEH Learning Interface is licensed under the CC BY-SA and CC BY-NC-SA licenses and will be made available on the site in the coming months.2 Comments »
I recently spoke with Larry Cooperman, director of OpenCourseWare at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). Larry also serves on the boards of the OpenCourseWare Consortium and the African Virtual University. I asked Larry about UC Irvine’s new OpenChem project.
Why, in the middle of such excitement over MOOCs, would the Department of Chemistry and the OpenCourseWare project at the UCI unveil their CC BY-SA–licensed OpenChem project, a set of video lectures equivalent to four years of classes? Because they’ve designed OpenChem to focus on building out an extensive path to learning chemistry via an open curriculum rather than offering highly designed intensive course experiences like Coursera and EdX.
OpenChem is designed to be reused, revised, and remixed — by institutions, departments and instructors. This differs in the most fundamental way from the fixed-path, single-instructor model of most MOOCs. OpenCourseWare and MOOCs aspire to provide access to high quality, higher education learning to those unable, for a variety of reasons, to attend either an “elite” institution or any college or university at all.
For some time, Larry has been arguing that we are falling short of this vision. 80% of Coursera users are college graduates and most of the rest are advanced high school and current university students. There is no doubt that others, for lack of access to a basic internet connection, much less the bandwidth required for high-resolution video streaming, won’t share in these benefits. But there is a second reason, even more troubling than the bandwidth problem, which should concern us. The design of university-level courses, when they come from “elite” institutions, is for that audience — namely, “elite” students. Courses aren’t designed for students whose secondary institutions have left them with gaps in their education.
And that gets me back to the design of OpenChem — or openly licensed curriculum in general. If there is one thing that we can do to use open education to improve higher education, it is to allow existing colleges and universities that serve these students to improve their educational offerings through adoption and adaptation. That means that those who best know a specific cohort of students must be free to choose from easily integrated, openly licensed materials that match their curricular needs and objectives. The very first use of OpenChem occurred locally at Saddleback College, when an instructor used ten minutes of a UCI video lecture that offered an explanation of a very specific topic to use in his flipped classroom. And that’s really the point. An instructor may find ten minutes useful. A department may adopt a course that had not previously been offered. An institution may adapt an entire curriculum. Further, if the content is not exactly what an instructor wants, the open license allows her to change it to meet local needs.
Of course, chemistry is a lab science. Allowing students to virtually sit in UCI lecture halls for four years via OpenChem could never substitute for a local institution offering a complete education. By creating a full pathway from a course designed for those without adequate high school chemistry preparation to graduate electives, UCI is making its chemistry education visible. But the goal of OpenChem isn’t substitution — it is to enable both educators and students to collaborate with others. Just as UCI hopes to support science education, they also hope others will adapt and improve OpenChem courses, translate them into other languages, and distribute them far and wide.
UCI also anticipates important learner benefits that are derived from having an open curriculum, including the ability to go forwards and backwards at will. For instance, looking ahead, an advanced high school student can go past the level of AP Chemistry. An entering college freshman could study Preparation for General Chemistry to ensure their readiness. Or an enrolled student can view the typical coursework and decide whether to become a chemistry major. Just as important, a student having trouble with a class can review the prior knowledge — the building blocks that are required to succeed in their current class.
This last point is perhaps the most crucial. Openness in education is about visibility. UCI uses an entire open curriculum to let learners and instructors alike see how it all hangs together. UCI has a lot of work left to do to optimize OpenChem for learning, but is excited to point its university and other institutions in a new direction that brings us all a little closer to the goal of universal access to higher education.Comments Off