University of Michigan

Open.Michigan leads real world School of Open class

Jane Park, November 1st, 2012

Victoria Lungu Leading a School of Open Challenge
Victoria Lungu Leading a School of Open Challenge / Open.Michigan / CC BY

Last Friday, Open.Michigan helped a group of students get Creative Commons savvy in an offline version of the School of Open’s “Get CC Savvy” challenge, a course originally designed for independent online learners. For those yet unaware, the School of Open is a growing community initiative that will provide educational resources and professional development courses on the meaning and impact of “openness” in the digital age and its benefit to creative endeavors, education, research, and more. Though offline School of Open workshops and activities have been held (see previous School of Open updates), they have primarily focused on creating new courses for the School; Open.Michigan’s Fun Friday session was the first time actual course material was taught in a real world group setting.

Victoria Lungu, student at the University of Michigan’s School of Information, who co-organized and led the session with her Open.Michigan colleagues, writes about how the event went below.


Last Friday I ran a workshop at the University of Michigan where a group of eight worked through the P2PU School of Open challenge “Get CC Savvy.” A year ago or even a few months ago, I would have never imagined taking part in such an exciting opportunity.

So what got me here? Well, to put it simply, a class with Kristin Fontichiaro at the School of Information and her choice to pair me with mentor Emily Puckett Rodgers at Open.Michigan. The class and mentorship were structured to give me the chance to explore my personal interest in open education and informal learning opportunities with a focus on information literacy and teaching.

After a few conversations and brainstorming sessions, Emily and I aimed to try and get the educational potential of the School of Open offline and into a group setting. It was an experiment to see how well an online and physical learning environment could work together.

We had some questions.

  • Were the School of Open challenges able to support this kind of learning?
  • What benefits would there be to learning something like Creative Commons in this sort of setting?
  • How do we record the evidence and learning that is taking place?

We couldn’t answer these questions, or any of the other many questions we had. But we were ready to learn something from this event.

The session drew in participants of all different backgrounds from experts in CC/open licensing at Open.Michigan to students interested in librarianship, information policy, and even a student Wikipedian at the University of Michigan. The informal setting allowed for flexibility and creativity on how the session would evolve. I wanted participants to pick how they wanted to learn as long as they followed two measures of engagement:

  1. That they created an account with P2PU if they didn’t have one, and
  2. To comment and engage with the actual challenge and its tasks in the discussion areas.

I asked for participants to abide by these measures to encourage them to preserve evidence of the types of learning and questions that were inspired by the session and to encourage them to (hopefully) explore P2PU and the School of Open more at a later date.

open.michigan-gets-cc-savvy-1
University of Michigan students get CC savvy / Victoria Lungu / CC BY

As seen above, and as evidenced in the “Get CC Savvy” challenge discussion fields, eight of us worked together to explore the content, ask questions, post comments, and discuss personal perspectives and experiences relating to Creative Commons. We were even lucky enough to have an audio clip captured (it can be found and listened to in the discussion section of Task 3 in Get CC Savvy) and a fairly immediate response from Jane Park, CC Project Manager and P2PU founding volunteer, to one of the participants questions. The multimedia evidence and outside engagement really enhanced the experience and created a rich environment for learning.

While the hour and a half session allowed for this in-depth exploration of Creative Commons, it also taught us about how group dynamics and other factors impact the takeaways and experience.

  1. This experience was unique in that it actually had experts in the room, including Open Education Specialist Piet Kleymeer who helped build the challenge. While this won’t always be the case for others who choose to develop workshops like this, it definitely allowed for a more dynamic conversation and avenues of exploration than if there had not been someone to field questions. Even though we were fortunate in this aspect, it makes me question how deeply one might explore content like Creative Commons in an online module without that facilitation.
  2. Sometimes things built for individual work and short answer don’t always help facilitate a group effort to work through the material. Some of the exercise answers and singular tasks required more front-end effort to structure it into conversations to draw out the participatory aspect of the workshop. While P2PU and School of Open are not necessarily built to support live group workshops as a main source of learning, is there a better way to facilitate this method of learning the challenge content on P2PU?
  3. Capturing the learning that happens in a group can be hard (especially when working through an online module). Early on, we were so involved in the conversation that we had hardly realized no one had captured the ideas we had discussed. Sometimes a discussion board might capture central ideas or themes but it cannot capture the dialogue and discussion that leads to ideas or encourage further exploration that happens in groups. Some of the best learning occurs in collaborative spaces and it is something that should be preserved and shared when possible.

With all this in mind, would I do it again? Definitely. It is inspiring to participate in a conversation with minds that strive to understand, explore, and challenge ideas, new or mastered. The opportunity to see the group engagement play out before my eyes shows me the meaningfulness of the material and the ability of collaborative thought to spark interest beyond the framework of a challenge– where informal learning really starts to take shape.


Get Involved

Kudos to Victoria and Open.Michigan for piloting this School of Open class! If you’d also like to contribute to building this initiative:

  1. Visit http://schoolofopen.org. Register for a P2PU account and take or help improve one of the courses listed in various stages of development.
  2. Join the discussion and introduce yourself and your field of “open” interest: https://groups.google.com/group/school-of-open.
  3. Create a course. You can create directly on the P2PU platform or use http://pad.p2pu.org for collaborative editing. Just make sure to email the list or the Project Manager (that’s me) with a link to the working draft so we can help.
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Kwame Nkrumah University adopts CC Attribution for OER policy

Jane Park, May 11th, 2011

KNUST OER production workshop team<br />
KNUST OER production workshop team by bagaball / CC BY

The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) has adopted a university-wide open educational resources (OER) policy with CC Attribution as the default license for university material. KNUST’s “Policy for Development and Use of Open Educational Resources (OER)” (pdf) outlines the purpose, role, and process of OER production at the university, and specifically states that,

“Materials produced which do not indicate any specific conditions for sharing will automatically be considered to have been shared under a Creative Commons Attribution license.”

The policy is available at the KNUST website and, in line with their policy, is available for use under CC BY.

KNUST is a partner institution in the African Health OER Network and works closely with the University of Michigan Medical School and Dental School to develop and distribute health OER. KNUST OER is hosted at http://web.knust.edu.gh/oer but is also duplicated for use at the Open.Michigan and OER Africa sites.

You can help us improve the case study on KNUST here.

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University of Michigan Library enables broader sharing and reuse with change to CC BY

Timothy Vollmer, November 18th, 2010


by MLibrary / CC BY-NC

The University of Michigan Library now offers content on its website under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license. This announcement is significant because the Library had been using the more restrictive Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC) license. By switching to the Attribution license, the Library has granted more permissions to use, share, and repurpose its research and technology guidesvideo tutorials, toolkits, copyright education materials, bibliographies, and other resources.

From the press release:

“It seemed that for some people the term ‘noncommercial’ implied ‘anti-commerce.’ That wasn’t the message we wanted to send,” says Melissa Levine, MLibrary’s lead copyright officer. “After some careful consideration, and in consultation with all library personnel, we concluded that dropping the commercial restriction would encourage broader use of our educational resources, which was really our intent when we switched to the Creative Commons license in the first place.”

Mike Linksvayer, vice president of Creative Commons, believes MLibrary to be the first major research library to adopt the CC-BY license. “Many other people and projects have dropped the noncommercial condition from their licenses as they‘ve gotten more comfortable with and reaped the benefits of openness, but the U-M Library is the most prominent so far. As other institutions follow, this leadership will be seen as an important marker in the history of increasing access to and collaboration around educational and research materials.”

Congratulations to MLibrary on its announcement to increase openness by using the Attribution license.

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Commoner Letter #4: Molly Kleinman of the University of Michigan

Allison Domicone, November 16th, 2009

Molly Kleinman is a long-time friend of CC and has been doing incredible work for all things copyright over at the University of Michigan as Special Assistant to the Dean of Libraries. From Espresso Book Machines to a CC-friendly Scholarly Publishing Office, we continue to be inspired by the University of Michigan’s innovative approach to open content, copyright, and especially open education, an area of focus CC is highly committed to developing through ccLearn. We’re honored to have Molly, a self-proclaimed dedicated advocate of Creative Commons, write the fourth letter in the Commoner Letter series of this year’s fundraising campaign.

Subscribe to receive future Commoner Letters by email.


Molly Kleinman2
Photo by Chan Wong CC BY-NC

Hello, Fellow Commoner,

Creative Commons licenses make it easier for me to do my work, and to help my faculty and students do theirs. Today I’d like to return the favor and encourage you to support the Creative Commons 2009 Annual Campaign, and help make sure they continue the wonderful work they’ve been doing.

Why is Creative Commons so helpful and important? Because it provides a balanced, sane alternative to the madly out-of-whack copyright system I deal with every day. I am an academic librarian and copyright specialist who teaches faculty, students, librarians, archivists and others about their rights as creators and their rights as users. Anyone familiar with the state of copyright law knows it’s messy and confusing stuff, and the very notion of users’ rights is contentious in some circles. Big Content has been waging a propaganda campaign to convince the public that all unauthorized, un-paid-for uses are infringing, illegal uses. It’s not true, but the widespread misinformation is bad for educators, bad for students, and bad for all of us who benefit from the fruits of scholarly research. Professors are afraid to share educational material with their students. Parents are afraid to let their kids post homemade videos online. All this fear hinders the ability of scholars, teachers, and students to do the work of research, teaching, and learning that is their job.

As my favorite CC video says, “Enter Creative Commons.” Creative Commons carves out an arena in which people can use and build on new works without fear. It frees us from both the looming threat of lawsuits and the time consuming and expensive demands of clearing permissions. Creative Commons helps people share openly, and the more content that CC helps to open up, whether it’s music or photography or scientific data or educational resources, the more it expands what faculty and students can teach and study freely.

I’d like to call particular attention to the work of one of Creative Commons’ offshoots, ccLearn. ccLearn is striving to realize the full potential of the internet to support open learning and open educational resources, and to minimize legal, technical, and social barriers to sharing and reuse of educational materials. I cannot overemphasize the importance of this work. In the United States alone, plummeting budgets and rising costs for both K-12 and higher education are making it harder for students and teachers to access the quality educational resources they need. Until recently, most educational content was locked behind digital paywalls or hidden in print books, and the free stuff you could find online was often unreliable. Now, the pool of high quality open educational resources is growing every day, with open textbooks, open courseware, and other experimental projects popping up all the time. Many of these projects have received support from ccLearn, and nearly all of them are built on the framework of Creative Commons licenses. Every one provides expanded access that is crucial to the future of a quality educational system, both in this country and throughout the world.

This is why it is so important to support Creative Commons, in any number of ways. Though I donate (and you should, too), I believe that one of my greatest contributions has been in helping to build the Creative Commons community from the ground up, one frustrated professor or librarian at a time. Every person I teach about Creative Commons is a person who may eventually contribute to the Commons herself, attaching licenses to her works and sharing them with the world. The bigger the Commons, the better for all of us.

Molly Kleinman
Special Assistant to the Dean of Libraries
University of Michigan Library

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U of Oregon Library faculty research to become more open

Jane Park, May 8th, 2009

Steps towards openness were taken yesterday by the University of Oregon Library, as its faculty unanimously passed a resolution requiring all library faculty-authored scholarly articles to be licensed CC BY-NC-ND (thanks to Peter Suber of Open Access News). Although NC-ND does not allow derivations (which may include translations and other adaptations) of the articles, library faculty also have the option of licensing their works under one of the more open licenses, including CC BY-SA and CC BY.

We highly encourage library faculty (and libraries in general) everywhere to consider adopting these more open CC licenses for their content (especially CC BY). If you remember from last October, the University of Michigan Library adopted CC BY-NC for all of its works, including those to which the University of Michigan held copyrights. Stripping away the ND term enables collaboration across institutions, as you are granted more than the simple right to access, but to also adapt, translate, and improve the work.

However, adopting CC BY-NC-ND is a step in the right direction. From the announcement,

“We largely followed the leads of Harvard, MIT, Stanford, and most recently Oregon State (our friends and rivals). One area where we differ is in explicitly mandating a CC-BY-NC-ND license. Choosing that license was very conscious. We believe that it is vital that the community standardize on a small number of licenses to move beyond the present mess where every publisher and practically every author has their own unique terms. The license we chose is a good candidate for standardization. … Authors who wish to can of course also license their works under a more liberal license such as CC-BY-SA.”

For more information on our Open Access work, visit the Scholar’s Copyright Project page.

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Prospector Alliance reappropriates public domain materials

Jane Park, April 16th, 2009

One of the benefits of public domain books is that once they are scanned and made available on the Internet, they are then available for anyone, including other organizations, to use and reuse in other contexts and sites. The Prospector Alliance, the union catalog of Colorado Alliance Research Libraries, did exactly this by enhancing the bibliographic records of the University of Michigan’s giant collection of digitized public domain books. According to the press release,

“Library users in Colorado and Wyoming now have access to tens of thousands of additional open-access digitized books and serials through the Prospector Library Catalog (http://prospector.coalliance.org). The digitized items originate from the University of Michigan, a partner in the Google Books digitization project and a member of a consortium of libraries called Hathi Trust. Last year the University of Michigan made available bibliographic records for many of the out-of-copyright titles that Google digitized from its collections. The University then made available online files for each of the digitized works.

…Now library patrons from across Colorado have access to the online books via the Prospector catalog. Except for the University of Michigan where the books originated, the Auraria Library was the first library in the nation to make these books available to its users.”

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Health OER Student Team at UMich

Jane Park, March 19th, 2009

When it comes to the open educational resources world, we all know that the University of Michigan is a pretty hopping place to be, what with Molly Kleinman as their copyright specialist and their Attribution-only (CC BY) licensed OER repository. Since they pop up pretty regularly in our blogosphere, I didn’t want March to pass without a shout-out to the four Health OER advocates (students) that presented at the Clinton Global Initiative University, which Open.Michigan wrote about in substantive detail last week.

The students, Nejay Ananaba and Stephanie Munz (School of Dentistry), Matt Simpson (Medical School), and Kathleen Ludewig (School of Information and Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy), are part of a Health OER team committed “to [making] comprehensive health curricula available as open educational resources (OER) to healthcare educators and students.”

The scope of the team’s strategy spans projects in several countries, including Ghana, South Africa, and Liberia. One significant component is their plan to open up the university’s first and second year medical school curriculum in their OER Repository by the year’s end. This would allow virtually any country to adapt, redistribute, and teach top notch health OER sans the copyright hassles.

Other projects include establishing the first dental school in Liberia using OER for its curriculum, and developing an OER program and institutional policies at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana. To find out more, visit Open.Michigan.

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Creative Commons CTO speaking at Open Access Week

Greg Grossmeier, March 16th, 2009

open-access-badge

Open Access Week at the University of Michigan is “a week-long, campus-wide exploration of Open Access.” And a discussion sponsored by the Michigan Library on this topic couldn’t come at a better time; libraries are facing tough economic situations and the current political discourse around copyright and open access needs to be addressed. Featured Commoner (on behalf of Michigan Libraries) Molly Kleinman said it best on her personal blog announcing Open Access Week:

First we have the return of the dreadful Fair Copyright In Research Works Act, which is opposed by just about everyone except commercial publishers, including 33 Nobel Laureates in science. Then comes the word that together Elsevier and LexisNexis earned over $1.5 billion US in profit in 2008. For Elsevier that’s an adjusted operating margin — a profit — of 33%. While universities across the country are facing budget cuts of 20% or more, Elsevier brings in 33% profits, largely on the backs of university libraries. And economic news more broadly indicates that no library will escape unscathed. When Harvard starts laying off librarians and eliminating subscriptions, we’re all in trouble.

And that is only a small sub-section of the issues facing libraries today, including big issues like the Google Books Settlement. What better time to speak about the use of Creative Commons licenses in academic journals and what technological tools Creative Commons is developing to build an ecosystem of openness? With the right tools and the right attitude academic libraries will be a major player in fixing many of these issues.

Nathan Yergler, CTO at Creative Commons, will be speaking during Open Access Week on March 23rd on the University of Michigan campus. Everyone is welcome to join this event, and all of the events during Open Access Week. For the details about Nathan’s talk, check out the the schedule.

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CC Talks With: University of Michigan Library

Cameron Parkins, February 19th, 2009

Over the past year, the University of Michigan Library has shown itself to be particularly sensible in regards to open content licensing, the public domain, and issues of copyright in the digital age. The U-M Library has integrated public domain book machines, adopted CC licensing for their content, and independently had their Copyright Specialist, Molly Kleinman, articulate the importance of proper attribution in using CC licenses. We recently caught up with Molly to learn more about these efforts – primarily how they came to be and the results they have yielded – as well as discuss CC’s place in educational institutions at large and how CC and Fair Use interact in the academic sphere.

1library
Book, Suzanne Chapman | CC BY-NC-SA

What is your role at the University of Michigan Library? How does the University Library interact with the rest of the University?

I’m the University Library’s copyright specialist. I provide copyright and publishing assistance for faculty, students, researchers, staff, and librarians throughout the University of Michigan, and occasionally to the community at large. I handle questions on both sides of the copyright universe: people come to me as users of copyrighted works and also as creators with concerns about their own rights. At a university just about everybody is both a user and a creator, so I think it’s important to promote a balanced perspective on copyright. A big part of my job is teaching workshops and providing one-on-one consultations about copyright and scholarly publishing basics. I work with librarians all over campus to raise awareness about topics like fair use, Open Access, and author rights. I also support a number of the Library’s activities, including our institutional repository Deep Blue, the Scholarly Publishing Office, and Special Collections exhibits. People always ask if I’m an attorney… I’m not. I’m a librarian by training, and have a background in publishing. A law degree is useful when dealing with copyright, and it’s certainly necessary when you’re providing legal advice, but in many other situations it’s not essential. Copyright is messy and confusing and it makes a lot of people nervous and scared. Approaching these issues as a librarian allows me to explain things in “human readable” language instead of legalese. My goal is to demystify the law and empower students and faculty to advocate for their rights as both users and creators.
Read More…

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The Student-engineered Open Textbook: Chemical Process Dynamics and Controls

Jane Park, December 4th, 2008

It is commonly known that students learn by doing—by practicing, rather than simply soaking in, the information that is taught them in the classroom. But it is also commonly known that anyone can obtain information; the internet is chock-full of the stuff; all one has to do is type in a few key words and hit search. The reality is that formal education, aka the classroom, can no longer be, and no longer is, just one side of this perceived divorce in education: the acquisition of knowledge versus the practice of it. 

Open education acknowledges that information is abundant, and that it takes someone to organize, interpret, and make it meaningful. This is one value that formal and higher education still offers the net generation, those bred on Google and Wikipedia. The culling of data becomes the responsibility of professionals, their peers, and their students—the results of which are high quality educational resources available to the rest of the world. 

The Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Michigan has taken this idea of synthesis and run with it. They have integrated the practice of knowledge into class curriculum, by requiring students to contribute to an open textbook in wiki format—Chemical Process Dynamics and Controls. Since 2006, senior chemical engineering students have been developing this resource, building off of the preceding year’s work. The result is a comprehensive and dynamic textbook, available for free on the web, that is both high quality and openly licensed under CC BY. Though you must be a member of the class to directly edit the wiki text, nothing prevents the rest of the world from copying and deriving it for their own uses—even republishing it and distributing it at a low cost in concrete form is possible.

Originally conceptualized by Peter Woolf (Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering) with help from Leeann Fu, the system of textbook creation is anything but haphazard. Each week, a team of students is selected to become “experts” on a particular topic. The students research and present on the topic, adding the relevant text and diagrams to the wiki. The wiki’s content is further vetted by “the faculty and Graduate Student Instructors (GSIs)” who “act as managing editors, selecting broad threads for the text and suggesting references.” They also check for copyright issues, and the students are encouraged to re-use public domain materials.

In contrast to other courses, the students take an active role in their education by selecting which material in their assigned section is most useful and decide on the presentation approach. Furthermore, students create example problems that they present in poster sessions during class to help the other students master the material.

In addition, full class lectures in video format and powerpoint presentations are available on the wiki, also under CC BYCC BY is the most appropriate license for educational materials, since all one has to do is attribute the original authors. The freedoms to copy, adapt, remix, and redistribute are crucial to advancing progress in education.

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