wiki

Stories of people & projects using Creative Commons in education, government, and data

Jane Park, November 23rd, 2010

The significance of Creative Commons and its licenses is often overlooked, embedded as it is into the fabric of sharing culture on the web. The current superhero campaign attempts to bring CC’s role to the forefront, by highlighting people and organizations that have made extraordinary contributions to this culture. But there are many more excellent stories of people and projects employing our CC licenses for educational, humanitarian, scientific, artistic, and just plain interesting uses. Some of these are currently reflected in our Case Studies on the wiki, but there’s a lot of work left to be done in making these more accessible and useful to the rest of the world.

Part of that is improving the entry points for people new to CC, so we are highlighting case studies for different areas. We just added one for open educational resources (OER) case studies, focusing on the most compelling CC education project or implementation in policy from each country. Examples make the jobs of those advocating for OER at the policy level much easier, and we often notice a surprising lack of knowledge that many of the most compelling examples are to be found around the world. So we started this page to help everyone who is supporting OER advocacy efforts, and we encourage you to go ahead and add your own case study and write up its story; the more developed a case study is, the more likely it is to be featured and shared.

Other areas we have highlighted include Government use of Creative Commons and CC0 use for data. These case studies are also far from complete, so we encourage you to add to and improve them.

We’ve added a few more fields to the Case Studies template as well. For instance, have you ever tried to implement CC licensing into a publishing platform? Then you know that it would have been helpful to know how other platforms have done it. Alex mentions that we’ve gone ahead and added a field for technical implementations to Case Studies. See the Blip.tv case study as an example. In addition, we’ve added a field for “Impact”—what is the effect of this project or resource being under a CC license? What has it enabled that otherwise would not exist? Etc.

Like the rest of our content, the Case Studies are under CC BY, so do add, improve, remix, translate, print out and pass around, show them to your mom, or otherwise reuse them!

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The Revamped CC Case Studies Project

Jane Park, September 10th, 2010

Last year, we kicked off our global case studies effort, inviting you to share your stories—individuals, projects, and companies who use Creative Commons for different reasons and to solve different problems. Through the CC wiki, we attempted to capture the diversity of CC creators and content by building a resource that inspires new works and informs free culture.

Thanks to your contributions, the Case Studies project has grown into an incredibly valuable resource. But like all wikis, the Case Studies wiki is evolving. Everyday, more people and projects are using CC, and existing projects are continuously making themselves over.

To keep up, we’ve made the Case Studies project easier to navigate and ultimately more useful and participatory for the community by revamping the portal and building a new rating system, implementing lessons we’ve learned from other successful wiki communities such as Wikipedia. What’s new:

  • We used Semantic MediaWiki (an extension of MediaWiki) to organize quantifiable elements into a few common properties. Take a look at the case study for Cory Doctorow and you’ll see a new box on the right that provides an at-a-glance view of some of the project’s main properties. These properties are common to all case studies and their values can now be easily browsed.
  • The ability to evaluate each case study by Page Importance and Page Quality. We drafted an Evaluation Guide with some basic criteria for what determines whether a case study is of high, medium, or low importance and quality. These criteria are meant to serve as starting points; we want you to edit and improve them as more case studies are evaluated and added. Each criteria that is not met comes with suggested edits to improve existing case studies.

What you can do now:

The goal of the new features is to encourage better quality and contribution. Please use and help us improve them!

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New Video Pages and Blog Tags

Parker Higgins, August 20th, 2009

I’ve spent the last few months of Summer volunteering for Creative Commons, and in that time I’ve had a great opportunity to do a few little things that should make CC outreach and communication a little bit more effective.

First, I’ve been working a lot on the Videos section of the site, dealing specifically with promotional and informational CC videos. I’ve reorganized the Videos page on the Creative Commons wiki, finally putting together all the source assets and translation information in one place. That page may change a bit more in the coming weeks, but already it’s a lot clearer and easier for people who want to engage with the videos.

In addition to the wiki page, I’ve added a few links and a bit more information to the individual video pages on the main site. We hope that now the translation materials and source assets are displayed more prominently, people who are inspired will be enabled to jump in and translate or remix or mash up the videos.

The other major project I’ve been tackling this summer is adding “tags” to the CC weblog posts. As you’ll notice on the right of the main Commons News page, our most popular tags are visible are now visible, and each individual post has tags at the bottom of it, which you can click on for more posts tagged in the same way. For example, check out the Free Music Archive tag which displays all the posts related to WFMU’s Free Music Archive project. I’ve tagged a full year of CC posts and we will continue this habit going forward. This should make it easier to find things that we’ve blogged about that are especially relevant to your interests, as well as track related stories more efficiently.

These are just a few little projects I’ve had the pleasure of tackling as a CC volunteer. I hope it makes it easier for everybody to find their way around the site!

Parker Higgins, CC Volunteer

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Smithsonian Commons and Sustainable Content Usage Policies

Fred Benenson, August 3rd, 2009

Smithsonian Logo.gif
On Thursday, Michael Edson of the Smithsonian posted on the Smithsonian 2.0 blog that they had released their “Web and New Media Strategy” with the purpose of laying a groundwork for a Smithsonian Commons:

The strategy talks about an updated digital experience, a new learning model that helps people with their “lifelong learning journeys,” and the creation of a Smithsonian Commons—a new part of our digital presence dedicated to stimulating learning, creation, and innovation through open access to Smithsonian research, collections and communities.

Of particular interest to our community is that the report PDF itself (and its draft wiki) are both licensed under our permissive, Attribution license. More substantially is the report’s section on the proposed content usage policy of the Smithsonian Commons:

Content Usage: Establish a pan-Institutional policy for sharing and using the Smithsonian’s digital content, with particular focus on Copyright and Public Domain policies that encourage the appropriate re-use and sharing of Smithsonian resources.

Congratulations to the Smithsonian for thinking about the future lives of their content in such a sustainable fashion. We’re very excited to see the future developments that the Smithsonian Commons brings to free culture on an institutional scale.

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OpenEd—the new Open Education Community site

Jane Park, July 28th, 2009

Some of you may already be familiar with the term open ed, short for open education—which represents the fantastic movement around opening up educational resources so that anyone, anywhere, can access, use, and derive existing educational materials in new, creative ways or to simply adapt them to their unique individual needs and local contexts. There are so many great educational materials out there—some already openly licensed and a great deal more in the public domain—and the problem is that a lot of people still don’t know about them or how to use them. Similarly, the open education movement has produced some really exciting projects and programs in recent years, but there is no global landing space for these inspiring movers and shakers to really connect as a coherent community.

Open Ed, the new Open Education Community site, is the result of brainstorming with other initiatives in the movement on how to provide such a space. We designed the site for open education community members, but also for teachers, learners, and those who just want to get involved. We were able to build it thanks to the strong support of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

Open Ed is hosted by ccLearn, but we are merely providing the web space. We’ve done some initial work on it, but the site is yours—be you an OER advocate, a teacher wanting to connect with other teachers, or a learner who would love to do the same. And you can contribute in any way you like, because Open Ed runs on MediaWiki, the same software that powers Wikipedia. Additionally, Open Ed utilizes the Semantic MediaWiki extension to enable data querying and analysis. For added functionality, we have installed various other useful extensions.

Wait… hasn’t this site been up for a while?

You’re right; it’s been public on the web for a couple of months now. Some of you may already have accounts. Others have even blogged about it previously. But we haven’t made the official announcement launch until now because we wanted to get some initial feedback from existing community members. So we need your help! Please spread the word, via your personal and professional channels—and most of all, use the space for what you need to do! It’s a wiki. That means you can create a page for your own project, add your project to ODEPO (the Open Database of Educational Projects and Organizations) for others to find, run your own data query for research purposes, or do virtually anything else you deem necessary to strengthen and promote open education, including translating the entire site into other languages. Not to mention that content is a little lacking right now, and it’s up to us to make it a great landing place for newbies to open education.

Give us feedback!

Please let us know what you think. Anyone can add to or improve the space by simply clicking “edit”, but as the hosts of this space, we would love to help with the process. You can also share your thoughts on Twitter with an #opened hashtag.

Lastly, thanks to White Whale, an Oakland-based consulting, design, and development company, who designed Open Ed and helped us with some of our messaging points.

Happy exploring!

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Wiki Redesign Launched

Allison Domicone, May 14th, 2009

Last month we rolled out a brand new look for CC’s homepage, and promised that other changes would follow. Staying true to our word, we now invite you to check out our redesigned wiki, which boasts a much sleeker and more user-friendly interface and look. The wiki is home to the CC Case Studies project, upcoming event information, resources for software developers, and much more.

ccwiki1

The wiki is designed to get you involved and collaborating with us; anyone with an account or an OpenID can login and add to certain pages. If you’re a member of the CC Network, your profile acts as an OpenID. Not yet a member? Support the work of Creative Commons and join the CC Network today to get an OpenID!

We need your contributions to continue developing this wiki into a valuable community resource, so check out the Getting Started page and jump right in!

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CC Case Studies: Share your Story

Michelle Thorne, May 5th, 2009

casestudies-splash

Creative Commons kicks off its global case studies effort. Share your story. Discover new works and new models.

With upwards of 150 million CC-licensed works published from every corner of the world, no single use case can tell the whole story. Creators and users come to CC for different reasons, and for many, CC solves different problems. We’re trying to capture the diversity of CC creators and content by building a resource that inspires new works and informs free culture.

Creative Commons Case Studies 2009 kicks off today – and we want to hear your story! We’re collecting cases big and small on our re-launched Case Studies wiki, an online portal to upload and discover documentation about CC-licensed projects.

The top community curated stories will be featured on our website and in the next printed volume of Creative Commons Case Studies. You’ll also collaborate with our CEO, Joi Ito, whose doctoral work focuses on select case studies about CC and the sharing economy.

How to get involved

  • Visit the Case Studies wiki and learn about how people are using CC licenses around the world. Browse existing studies and download Building an Australasian Commons: Creative Commons Case Studies Volume I, a stunning publication edited by Rachel Cobcroft and supported by CC Australia. The book highlights 60 exemplary CC-licensed users in Australasia and worldwide. Source files and PDFs are available for the entire book and easily digestible booklets covering particular fields.
  • Curate a collection of case studies with PediaPress, a service that builds an OpenOffice document, PDF, or printed book from selected wiki pages. Publish your collection on a site that supports CC licenses such as Scribd. Tailor the material to meet your needs and add your entry to list of case study collections.
  • Teach with real-life examples. We’re encouraging educators to follow CC Australia’s lead and integrate the CC Case Studies into their curricula. Teaching with case studies is compelling and instructive. Have your students analyze existing studies or write their own.
  • Most importantly, add your CC story, or one you’re familiar with. Improve, categorize, and assess existing case studies. We’re particularly interested in the addition of data relevant to the cases.

Not sure what a good case study looks like? Check out these featured submissions: Blender Foundation, SomeRightsReserved, and the African Sleeping Sickness Test.

Whether you’re looking for inspiration, business models, or precedents, the CC Case Studies are a perfect place to start. Help us expand this resource by sharing your work and telling your story.

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CC website redesign launched

Mike Linksvayer, April 28th, 2009

We just turned on the first big creativecommons.org site design changes since October 2007. If you’re reading in a feedreader and haven’t visited the main CC site in awhile, here’s a home page screenshot:

CC homepage screenshot

The blog (which of course you’re reading now) no longer dominates. Of course headlines from the main CC blog and from jurisdiction projects are still present on the home page, and you can always visit the main blog page or planet for the full blog experience.

Previously we made the CC wiki match the main site’s theme as closely as possible. That was a good idea at the time, but now that the world is more familiar with wikis, we’ve brought wiki tools and navigation to the fore. Here’s a screenshot of wiki navigation for a logged in user:

CC wiki screenshot

We’ve also made some incremental improvements to license deeds, consolidating important items that aren’t top level license properties under a “With the understanding that:” heading, see screenshot below:

CC BY-SA deed screenshot

Next steps include redesigns of the CC wiki main page, our international landing page, further improvements of the license chooser, and a rethinking of CC Search.

If you have ideas about how we could improve creativecommons.org sites, please leave a comment, file a bug, or even submit a patch. All of CC’s sites are built on free software and are themselves free software. Visit our code repository and a guide to where to find source code for the themes we use for WordPress, MediaWiki, and Drupal.

Congratulations on this redesign launch to Alex Roberts, our senior designer, with support from other staff, and suggestions and financial support from you. Thanks!

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Access to OER Discussion Launched

Jane Park, February 9th, 2009

by the UNESCO Open Educational Resources Community today. For those of you who don’t know, the UNESCO OER Community is an international online community “[connecting] over 700 individuals in 105 countries to share information and discuss issues surrounding the production and use of Open Educational Resources – web-based materials offered freely and openly for use and reuse in teaching, learning and research.” (We blogged about them last October.) The new discussion will run for three weeks and is open to all. From their community’s wiki:

OER is seen as having the potential to extend access to knowledge worldwide, but there exist certain barriers to its achieving this objective. Access is one potential barrier – and a crucial challenge.

Although our initial interaction on the issue started with the consideration of limited or no connectivity, lack of electricity was identified as an even more basic barrier to access to OER. However, there are many other potential barriers or constraints and it will be useful to identify the range of them, for there are emerging solutions or approaches that would mitigate the problems. Developers of OER will benefit from having these in mind – donors and other agencies may be able to contribute to addressing them.

This week the discussion will focus on “Identification and description of the main problems associated with access, and an initial development of a classification scheme.” The discussion is already underway, moderated by Bjoern Hassler, a senior research associate at the University of Cambridge, so if you have something to say, go join it now!

All content on the UNESCO OER Community wiki is licensed CC BY-SA. Like ccLearn, UNESCO’s work on open educational resources is generously supported by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

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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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