School of Open

School of Open begins investigating its impact with the OER Research Hub

Jane Park, December 2nd, 2013

milton keynes
Milton Keynes / CC BY

I took up residence in Milton Keynes, England, for one week in October as the Linked OER Research Hub Fellow for the School of Open. The School of Open is a community of volunteers from all around the world who are developing free education opportunities on the meaning, application, and impact of openness in their field of choice, whether that’s education, science, research, or community design. The free education opportunities consist of online courses, face-to-face workshops, and in-person training programs. Whatever the format, volunteers seek to help people do what they already do better with the aid of open resources and tools. One obvious example is helping educators to find and use free and open educational resources (OER) for the classroom.

In developing these opportunities, we decided it would be a good idea to simultaneously attempt to measure the impact of our activities. We teamed up with the OER Research Hub for a Linked Research Fellowship, which would provide funding for travel/accommodations and a researcher to help with administering, collecting, and analyzing School of Open data. Since we only just launched in March and have a limited data set to work with, we decided to start by focusing on a subset of our online, facilitated courses. School of Open volunteers administered optional surveys in four courses: Copyright 4 Educators (AUS), Copyright 4 Educators (US), Creative Commons for K-12 Educators, and Writing Wikipedia Articles: The Basics and Beyond. The surveys gather feedback from participants on their sharing practices and attitudes towards OER before and after the course. In combination with feedback from the facilitators themselves and archival course material, we hope to write up a short report on our preliminary findings. This report will likely identify gaps where more research is needed, which we hope to conduct during our next round of facilitated courses in March 2014. Then we will publish a final report with our findings in the third quarter of 2014.

My week with the OER Research Hub

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As a linked fellow, my week with the OER Research Hub was organized around meeting with Beck Pitt, the researcher I have been working closely with around collecting the data, in addition to meeting the rest of the Hub’s research team and Open University staff working on open education projects of interest to the School of Open. Since I had been and would continue to work on aggregating and analyzing the data remotely, it was crucial to make the most of my stay through face-to-face meetings. Through these meetings, I was thrilled to discover additional areas for collaboration. They are:

  • OER Research course: A School of Open course on how to conduct research openly, especially in the field of OER, to be developed in conjunction with an OER research toolkit that the OER Research Hub team is already developing. The initial concept for the course is still being shaped, but we imagine the course to be for those who are leading open education projects of their own that don’t currently have the resources to measure the impact of their project. This course would equip them with the methods, tools, and familiarity with ethical, privacy, and cultural issues researchers need to consider when conducting research. We aim to have the course developed in time to be part of a facilitated round of School of Open courses in the second quarter of 2014, and to exist thereafter as a stand-alone course for anyone to take at any time.
  • Open Translation course: A School of Open course on open translation, or more specifically, how to translate materials that are openly licensed and what that means. The TESS-India project at the Open University already runs translation workshops for its volunteers in various regions of India to translate OER addressing regional, cultural, and linguistic issues for translation into several Indian languages including Hindi. As part of the workshops, TESS-India will include a day/session on OER and open licensing and what that means for translation. As these workshops will be recorded, we will have video in addition to the workshop resources which can be adapted into an online course for translators around the world. We hope to work with TESS-India to prepare this course for 2014.
  • OpenLearn OER course: A joint OpenLearn and School of Open course on OER, drawing on existing resources like Creating open educational resources.
  • CC license and OER education for the OER Research Hub’s K-12 educator networks, such as the Flipped Learning Network, in the form of webinars and media such as infographics.

mozfest candy
Mozfest candy / CC BY

For our main collaboration — research on School of Open courses — we were able to ready some of the data we had collected for the Mozilla Festival, where Beck hosted a “scrum” on visualizing open education data called the Open Ed Data Detective. Throughout the festival, several participants came by to experiment with the School of Open data along with other data the OER Research Hub made available. In addition to preparing for the data scrum, we collected and compiled most of the initial data on the School of Open courses listed above, including web analytics and data for all 13 stand-alone courses. We outlined a plan for completion of a report on preliminary research findings, follow-up interviews we will conduct with facilitators and course participants, and additional research we will conduct in 2014 during Round 3 of School of Open’s facilitated courses.

For a research residency that lasted less than a week, we made a tremendous amount of progress. I look forward to working closely with the OER Research Hub and Open University staff in the coming months!

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Creative Commons in London: Open Ed Timeline and Mozfest

Jane Park, November 12th, 2013

A few weeks ago, CC co-hosted an open education meetup in London with P2PU, the Open Knowledge Foundation (OKFN), and FLOSS Manuals Foundation. We also led or participated in sessions and tracks on open science, makes for cultural archives, collaborations across the open space, and open education data at the Mozilla Festival immediately following the meetup. Several interesting projects have arisen from both the meetup and sessions, so we thought it worthwhile to mention here in case others would like to get involved.

Hit the Road Map: A Human Timeline of the Open Education Space

A Human Timeline of Open Education
A Human Timeline of Open Education / CC BY

In addition to networking and sharing our common open education interests, participants of the Open Ed Meetup at the William Goodenough house collectively built a timeline of events that they felt marked important (and personal) milestones in the open education space, from the beginning of the Open University in 1969 to Lessig’s countersuit against Liberation Music this year. The timeline was a great collaborative exercise for the group, and one that we hope is only beginning. As Marieke from the OKFN writes in her post,

“…the plan is to digitise what we have by moving all the ideas in to Google Docs and then create a TimeMapper of them. This may form part of the Open Education handbook. At that point we will be able to share the document with you so you can add more information, correct the date and add in your own ideas. We may even try to run more open education timeline events.”

In fact, CC affiliates in Europe will be co-hosting the second Open Education Handbook booksprint with the OKFN and Wikimedia in Berlin as a result!

To see photos from the meetup, see both Creative Common’s and OKFN’s Flickr streams. Contribute to the timeline here.

Mozilla Festival

Getting hands-on with tools on the web for Open Science

by Billy Meinke

old gauges from automobiles
Gauges / Samuel Z. / CC BY

In another team-up with the Open Knowledge Foundation (OKFN), we ran a session investigating tools on the web that help make science more open. Hinging on the theme of alternative ways to measure (altmetrics) scholarly impact, collaborators joined us in the session and got hands-on with tools that we can use to see how publications and other research outputs are talked about and shared on the web. To help build content for lessons linked to the Open Science course in the School of Open, participants tested a handful of free tools to see what they were able to measure, how usable the tools were, and considered ways to share this with others who aren’t familiar with altmetrics. We will be organizing the content over the next few weeks, and offering the altmetrics lesson as a standalone exercise once it’s complete. For more information about how the session went, see this blog post.

Collaborations across the Open Space

Collaborations Across the Open Space
Mozfest: Collaborations Across the Open Space / CC BY

We also participated in a session with Wikimedia, OKFN, and other orgs to talk about how we could better collaborate and share news among our organizations so we don’t keep reinventing the wheel. I won’t go into detail here, as the wiki session writeup does it much better, and has continued to grow since the festival. For example, something as simple as a blog aggregator for all “open” related news would help those working in this space tremendously. To join our efforts, head over to the wiki and add your thoughts and be notified of follow-up meetings.

Digital Self Preservation Toolkit

mozfest candy
Seeking a lawyer… / CC BY

One neat thing to come out of this year’s Mozfest was the beginnings of a Digital Self Preservation Toolkit exploring the idea of what happens to your body of creative, educational, or scientific work when you die. Some questions we asked and discussed were: In your country, what happens to your work when you die? What steps can you take to ensure its posterity? How would you want it shared and who would you want to own it? Our initial aim was to develop a set of tools and tips to help people think through how they might want to release their work upon death, building on an idea that the Question Copyright folks had last year around a free culture trust. Skirting the technical and legal issues for the time being, we came up with a prototype IP donor badge that creators might use to signify their intent, a concept form that they would fill out, and a mock-up website where such a toolkit might reside. We are now continuing our efforts in collaboration with folks from numerous organizations interested in the same questions, and you can join us to move the project forward at the Free Culture Trust wiki.

OER Research Hub’s Open Education Data Detective

Lastly, we’d like to highlight our collaboration with the OER Research Hub, who held a “scrum” on visualizing open education data called the Open Ed Data Detective. Participants experimented with open education data that the OER Research Hub made available, including data on School of Open courses.

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University of Mississippi to incorporate School of Open’s Wikipedia course

Jane Park, November 6th, 2013

This is a guest post by Pete Forsyth, organizer of the School of Open’s “Writing Wikipedia Articles: The Basics & Beyond” course and member of WikiProject Open.

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The University of Mississippi’s Spring 2014 course “Open Educational Resources and Practices” will include the module “Writing Wikipedia Articles” (aka WIKISOO), which I developed and taught through the School of Open; as well as “Open Content Licensing for Educators,” developed and taught by Wayne Mackintosh as part of the OER university consortium. The new graduate level course (Edhe 670), taught by Dr. Robert Cummings, will invite learners from around the world to take these two course modules alongside graduate students, free of charge. This is the first time a university has adopted a School of Open course as part of a formal university course.

In the new course, both online learners and University of Mississippi students will actively participate in open educational practices, even as they learn the theory and history of open education and related concepts. Online learners will enjoy university-level instruction free of charge and without the need to enroll in a degree program.

Noting the advantages of this first-of-its-kind course, Associate Professor Robert Cummings said,

“University of Mississippi graduate students in the School of Education will prepare for their careers with this unique opportunity to engage the emerging global field of Open Educational Resources. UM students will not only learn about OER, its origins, and its role in the classrooms of the future, but they will have the opportunity to work with developers and theorists—both as fellow students and emerging practitioners—in a synchronous, global classroom of enrolled students and un-enrolled learners.”

The course’s subject matter should be of particular benefit to those interested in the future of education. Educators are embracing openness in education by using the increasingly interactive and ubiquitous Internet. In doing so, they aim to lower financial costs, reduce legal complexities, and otherwise eliminate barriers for learners worldwide.

“Open education signals a return to the core values of the academy, namely, to share knowledge freely,” said OERu founder Wayne Mackintosh, who teaches the “Open Content Licensing for Educators” module. “Working together we achieve far more than working alone. This course is an exemplar of open collaboration widening learning opportunities for all.”

The ability to engage and collaborate online and in real time, across geographical borders, presents opportunities that didn’t exist a few years ago. Wikipedia in particular has enabled hundreds of thousands of people around the world to connect in meaningful ways, united by a shared passion for freely sharing knowledge. As part of the team that created the Wikipedia Education Program, Dr. Cummings, Dr. Mackintosh, and I have long worked to bring Wikipedia’s community and the world of formal education closer, so that each may learn from the experience of the other.

Pete_Forsyth_demonstrating_Wikipedia_use_by_Ellis_Christopher
…demonstrating Wikipedia use / Ellis Christopher / CC BY

Wikipedia is important not only as a publication, but also as a vibrant learning community, and as a collection of highly effective collaborative processes. Wikipedia offers many valuable case studies in effective online collaboration, both in connection with and independent of formal academic study. I’m looking forward to this opportunity to work with UM students alongside learners around the world.

If you would like to take one or both of the open modules, sign up to receive updates today!

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WikiProject Open launches “Collaboration of the Week” for Open Access Week

Jane Park, October 21st, 2013

Below is an invitation by members of WikiProject Open to help improve two Wikipedia articles related to openness. Wikiproject Open is a collaboration with the School of Open.

wikiproject open.001

WikiProject Open is a community of new and experienced Wikipedians, dedicated to improving Wikipedia’s coverage of all things “open,” and to using openly licensed content to improve Wikipedia articles in general. In celebration of Open Access Week, we invite you to join us in improving two Wikipedia articles this week:

  • Open Access Week: We should have plenty of new news coverage to draw from in improving this article
  • Creative Commons license: Let’s make sure this central article is thorough and accurate; we will consider splitting off sub-articles, etc.

For those new to Wikipedia, you’ll find some tips to get you started on our “welcome” page.

Then, just get to work on the “Open Access Week” and “Creative Commons license” articles! Be sure to check each article’s talk page (you’ll find the tab in the upper left), because we’ll surely be discussing what needs to be improved and how we want to approach it as WikiProject Open’s Collaboration of the Week (COTW) gets underway.

Collaboration of the Week programs have been implemented by a number of wiki communities over the years. Academic studies have found them to be a highly effective way to keep people engaged and productive, in addition to building a sense of community. We hope you will join us as we launch this program, and help us improve Wikipedia’s coverage of important topics in the world of openness!

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Open Science Course — a cool connected science experience!

Billy Meinke, September 30th, 2013

This past August, I facilitated an online peer-learning course in the School of Open introducing open science to newcomers, and Michelle Sidler worked behind the scenes to keep things glued together. This guest post was written by Michelle, and gives a look at how things went teaching an entirely free course on open science over the web. It’s pretty cool.

Guiding Students through the Course

During last month’s round of School of Open courses, I helped out with a facilitated version of the Open Science course supported by Creative Commons, the Open Knowledge Foundation, and PLOS. On four Tuesdays in August, Billy Meinke hosted online discussions with a handful of well-known members of the open science community while participants from around the world completed course modules and blogged about their experiences. Here’s how things went down.

Screen Shot of P2PU Online Course

Note: The course materials and online discussions are available on the Open Science P2PU course page, and will continue to grow over the next few weeks as participants share blog about their experiences working with aspects of science that are either open or not.

Participant Blogs

While completing course units, participants blogged their experiences, offering reflections and insights about open science and sharing online resources they found. Participants were researchers and scientists from around the world, including biologists, climatologists, librarians, and even musicians.

Though we are still working through much of the blog posts, here are some examples of people learning about open access, open data, and open research for free through the School of Open:

The first of three modules introduced the topic of open access (OA), and after browsing through content about OA, learners were to report on the openness of published research articles they found on the web. A learner named Peter Desmet provided a fine overview of the history of open access and the different “flavours” of open access in an entry on his blog. The second module led folks to the topic of open data for science, where a peer by the name Odon shared her process of learning through her blog, Odonlife. Her writings offered definitions and descriptions of open data and assessed the openness of datasets she found online. Drawing from these lessons, she also described her experiences contributing to open data crowdsourcing projects and how they inspired her to start a similar project. For the third unit on open research, a peer in the course named Nicki Clarkson described the work of Jon Tennant, a paleontologist and open science advocate who deposited the data from his PhD research into the Paleontology Database, a repository for similar data. Jon even commented on her post, thanking her for the shout-out—another example of the ways in which open information brings researchers together!

odonlife blog screenshot

Featured Speakers

In addition to supporting the online course participants, Billy Meinke hosted online discussions with many open science friends and advocates from many locales and types of involvement with science around the world. Guests from a variety of organizations joined open, broadcasted Google Hangouts and shared their experiences in open science with dozens of learners watching each stream. Thanks to all the guests who took the time to chat with us about open science! Links to the video and etherpad notes (taken during the live sessions) can be found on the Open Science course page.

Screen Shot of P2PU Online Course

Taking the Open Science course further

The Open Science course doesn’t end when we complete the units and assignments. Continue the conversation by spreading the word to other scientists about this resource and encouraging them to participate. There has been interest in volunteer translation efforts and other adaptations of the material. Anyone is free to do so, in compliance with the CC BY-SA license on the course. Much of the material is licensed CC BY or CC0, which give even more open reuse rights!

school of open logo

If you’d like to find out more about what’s happening with this course and others in the School of Open, head on over to the School of Open Google Group and join the discussion! You can also sign up to be notified when the next facilitated course launches, likely in Spring 2014.

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Open curriculum alternatives to MPAA’s new anti-piracy campaign for kids

Jane Park, September 25th, 2013


Adventures in copyright / opensourceway / CC BY-SA

It has come to our attention that the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America, and top internet service providers are drafting curriculum to teach kids in California elementary schools that copying is wrong, or as Wired.com puts it, “Downloading is Mean!”

This message is way too simple. In this digital age, the most important thing we should be teaching kids is to be creative and take full advantage of all the web has to offer. Copyright, asking permission, open licensing, and all the other legal nuances, should be seen as secondary (and even complementary) to this purpose. We should be starting with the things kids can do versus what they can’t do.

In addition to the campaign’s overly simple and negative approach, other issues include the complete absence of fair use from the curriculum — exceptions and limitations to copyright that allow various uses of copyrighted materials for educational, journalistic and other purposes. Wired.com reports, “Its president, Marsali Hancock, says fair use is not a part of the teaching material because K-6 graders don’t have the ability to grasp it.”

Assuming the net generation and their younger counterparts are as dumb as assumed in the above statement, the curriculum still leaves out a crucial and growing part of the Internet landscape — the commons of free and open materials in the public domain and/or released under open licenses that actually encourage copying, redistribution, revision, and remix! In short, everything this simplified anti-piracy campaign is conveniently leaving out in its copyright curriculum for kids.

There is a more balanced approach to educating kids about copyright that includes the alternatives, and here are some organizations and experienced educators who have developed copyright curricula. The following list of resources are open educational resources (OER), licensed under a CC license that enables free and legal reuse, redistribution and remix. In short, stuff that is free and just fine and even great to copy!

Copyright curriculum for kids

Common Sense Media’s K-12 Digital Literacy & Citizenship Curriculum

Common Sense Media has developed a comprehensive K-12 Digital Literacy & Citizenship Curriculum for educators to use in their classrooms. Part of the curriculum focuses on Creative Credit & Copyright, which you can navigate easily via their Scope & Sequence tool. The resources are aligned to Common Core standards and licensed under CC BY-NC-SA.

New Media Rights Copyright FAQ Videos

New Media Rights has developed a series of short Copyright FAQ YouTube videos (because what better way to interact with youth but through YouTube?) answering common questions about copyright and the public domain. These videos are drafted by lawyers and read by students and are licensed under CC BY.

Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Teaching Copyright Curriculum

EFF developed this copyright curriculum for teachers to use in the classroom several years ago to counter campaigns like the one above, proving that topics like fair use can be taught! Teachingcopyright.org is available under CC BY.

Australia’s Smartcopying Guide for Schools and Interactive Resource for Kids

Australia has an official website for its schools regarding copyright for educators and students. However, this website, called Smartcopying, doesn’t just cover Australian copyright law — it also covers open educational resources and Creative Commons licenses. It’s quite the comprehensive resource with lesson plans, info sheets, videos, and more, and is licensed under CC BY-SA. This includes All Right to Copy, an interactive web activity “designed to teach students about copyright, and how it impacts them as both users and creators.” These resources are useful even if you’re not Australian, so check it out at http://www.smartcopying.edu.au/ and navigate using the horizontal menu to the topic of your choice.

National Library of New Zealand’s Free to Mix Guide for Educators

The National Library of New Zealand takes a different approach to copyright education; instead of focusing on what students can’t do, it focuses on what teachers and students can do with its Free to Mix guide. The guide was popular enough to spin off its own remix by CC New Zealand (pdf) with beautifully done graphics. Both versions are licensed under CC BY.

Shared Creations: Making Use of Creative Commons

Emily Puckett Rogers and Kristin Fontichiaro with the University of Michigan created this short and colorful lesson plan book for elementary school teachers that covers copyright, the public domain (even trademarks and patents!), and Creative Commons. This book is short and sweet with age-appropriate activities (that are even fun for adults). You can browse the book for free online or purchase a hard copy at the publisher’s website. The book is licensed CC BY-NC-SA.

School of Open’s Copyright 4 Educators

The School of Open, a community of volunteers around the world providing free education opportunities on the meaning and impact of openness in the digital age, offers an online course called Copyright 4 Educators. While this course (offered as adapted to both US and AUS law, but open to anyone) is primarily designed for educators and not kids, teachers can take what they’ve learned and then relay it to their students. The School of Open also offers more kid-friendly resources such as Get CC Savvy, Teach someone something with open content, and numerous lesson plans and activities integrated in CC for K-12 Educators. All School of Open courses on the P2PU platform are licensed under CC BY-SA; others hosted elsewhere may be licensed under CC BY.

This list is not exhaustive; if you know of other copyright education resources, please share them below! And if you would like to contribute to providing free copyright, OER, or CC education opportunities for kids (or adults), please join the School of Open community in its efforts! Visit http://schoolofopen.org/ to get started.

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Join School of Open, OKFN, and FLOSS for an evening in London

Jane Park, September 25th, 2013

Join us for a fun evening event on 24 October in London! The School of Open community along with members of the Open Knowledge Foundation and FLOSS Manuals Foundation is holding a meetup at the Large Common Room in the William Goodenough House (yes, that’s a real name!). Details at the Eventbrite and below.

Sport (?) 1911 (LOC)
Sport (?) 1911 (LOC) / Bain News Service,, publisher / No known copyright restrictions

Hit the Road Map: A Human Timeline of the Open Education Space

Join the School of Open (Creative Commons & P2PU), the Open Knowledge Foundation, and FLOSS Manuals Foundation for a fun evening to connect with your peers in the open education space! So many efforts exist to “open” up education around the world. How can we help connect these efforts? We’d like to start by collaboratively building a human timeline of open education — Do you remember when and where you first became aware of open education? When did you first become passionate about “open” or participate in an “open” event or job? Where and what was it? What else in this area has most inspired you? We will share experiences and manually place ourselves along a real world timeline (think rolls of butcher paper, markers, glitter is optional). Then we’ll start fleshing out the timeline with key events and persons that we think brought the open education and knowledge movement to where it is today. We’ll stop whenever we get tired, make merry with refreshments and snacks, and digitize whatever we have by the end of the evening for further contributions from everyone and anyone on the web. We’ll make the resulting timeline available openly (either via CC0, CC BY, or CC BY-SA), and feature it in a chapter of the Open Education Handbook!

Due to the awesome, but limited space, this event will be first come, first serve, capping registrations at 30 participants. Please update your registration if you cannot make it to make room for those on the waiting list!

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New CC Kenya Hosts CC Salon in Sub-Sahara Africa

Jessica Coates, September 16th, 2013

Mt. Kenya
Mt. Kenya / Chris 73 / CC BY-SA

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.

CC Kenya Logo

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.

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.

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News from CC China: eXtreme Learning Process

Elliot Harmon, August 16th, 2013

Earlier this year, CC China Mainland volunteers helped organize an educational event to promote open licensing. The CC China Mainland team recaps the event in this guest blog post, which originally appeared on the CC China Mainland blog.

CC China Mainland volunteers recently helped organize the Trans-disciplinary System Integration Design Challenge, a program of the eXtreme Learning Process (XLP) initiative at Tsinghua University. Volunteers designed IP rules for the course, educated participants about Creative Commons, and handed out the Spirit of CC Award during the closing ceremony of the course.

Students and teachers of the XLP course with musician Yibing Zhu
Students and teachers of the XLP course with musician Yibing Zhu (Cheng Hu / CC BY)

The Trans-disciplinary System Integration Design Challenge lasted for four days at the Fundamental Industry Training Center’s Electromechanical Innovation Lab. The course attracted 126 participants from Tsinghua University, Renmin University, Huazhong University of Science & Technology, and Beijing Jiaotong University, including undergraduates, Master’s candidates, and Ph.D. candidates. Participants were divided into “Challengers” and “Actors.” The 51 students and teachers who comprised the Challengers helped design the scenarios and problems, while 75 students made up the Actors, who were divided into eight groups to carry out the tasks and find solutions to the problems.

CC volunteer Zhaowen Wang kept track of the open-source technology released under CC licenses by each team.

CC volunteer Zhaowen Wang kept track of the open-source technology released under CC licenses by each team. (Cheng Hu / CC BY)

Here’s the challenge: “A plate shifting in South China Sea was caused by a sudden earthquake. As a consequence, a new unmanned island, A, appeared. Your task is to win the offer from the venture capitalist to exploit it into an offshore oil city by building a material delivery system and writing a business plan.”

The teams had 80 hours to complete the challenge. In the course, students are required to work on their own to learn certain technologies, such as the programming software NXT, the project management tool Projectlibre, and so on. Having managed that hardware and software, students were able to build an automatic material delivery system and make virtual functions perform in the sand plate. The course not only trained the problem-solving skill of the students, but also innovative thinking, teamwork, dynamic project control, and time management. This course was covered by Xinhua News Agency, China News Agency, People’s Daily, Beijing Evening News and many other news agencies.

In order to assure the technology development process to flow in orderliness and openness, CC volunteers designed the IP rules for this course, by integrating real-life IP law and regulations with the scenarios of the course. In the copyright rules, students were directed on how to claim their copyright in their slides, photos, and business plans, as well as to effectively share their works by using CC licenses.

CC volunteers issue the Spirit of CC Award to the most open and creative team.

CC volunteers issue the Spirit of CC Award to the most open and creative team. (Han Jin / CC BY)

The patent and open source rules instructed the students on how to apply and exploit patents, and how to make their technical solutions open source technology and cooperate with other developers by using CC licenses. CC volunteers served as officials in XLP Patent Office and judges in XLP Court to make the course more real and competitive. With the help of CC volunteers, four contracts of technology cooperation were signed, the students learned the concept and benefit of sharing directly, and they accomplished their work with much more efficiency using CC licenses.

On the last afternoon of the course, all eight groups carried out their automatic material delivery systems on the sand plate and performed a virtual commercial bid. Students labeled their works with CC marks and published their business plans and videos using CC licenses, as they hoped their works can be delivered further and give inspiration to people who are also fascinated by extreme learning. During the following ceremony, CC volunteers handed out the Spirit of CC Award and CC souvenirs to the most open and creative team. Members of the team expressed their delight of receiving the award, and wished CC would make a bigger difference in open-source technology.

The Trans-disciplinary System Integration Design Challenge found a new path to attenuate the limits of teaching-learning roles, space and time. The novel way in which the course was taught aroused students’ interest and motivation. The role of CC is crucial and inspiring for learners to explore a far more efficient and cooperative world.

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School of Open, Round 2: Courses open for sign-up

Jane Park, July 22nd, 2013

Miss Boyer's Kindergarten Class, 1917
Miss Boyer’s Kindergarten Class, 1917 / UA Archives | Upper Arlington History / No known copyright restrictions

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 logo

School of Open
http://schoolofopen.org/
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.


School of Open logo incorporates “Unlock” icon from The Noun Project collection under CC BY.

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