2008 August

OER Handbook for Educators 1.0

Jane Park, August 29th, 2008

The Center for Open and Sustainable Learning (COSL) has been hosting an OER Handbook on WikiEducator for a while now, inviting others to contribute and edit various elements of the book. Now they’ve finally published the first printable version of one of their mini-handbooks: OER Handbook for Educators 1.0

The actual handbook isn’t so mini—though it weighs nothing at all in the virtual world, the printed version is a hefty 269+ pages. But you don’t have to print it out; you can access it in various forms for free on the web: as it currently exists on WikiEducator or as black and white or full color pdf’s on Lulu.com. 

The OER Handbook for Educators is the collaborative result of various contributors, ultimately authored by Seth Gurell and edited by David Wiley. Its aim is to serve as an introductory guide to educators on open educational resources: how to “find, use, develop and share OER to enhance their effectiveness online and in the classroom.” The handbook is an especial eye-opener for those new to the world of open education. However, it is also useful for more seasoned OER creators and users, grappling with such topics as “The Copyright Paradox”—because we all know that copyright is no simple matter. 

The handbook itself is licensed CC BY-SA, so go check it out! If your connection is slow, don’t worry: the black and white graphics are just as stunning as their full color counterparts.

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CCO Beta/Discussion Draft 3

Diane Peters, August 29th, 2008

We are pleased to release for public comment the next beta draft of CC0 Waiver, which comes several months after the last draft of CC0 was published in April.  You can view the beta draft 3 at ccLabs.

While this draft is being released later than planned (more on that, below), we are very excited about the progress we’ve made on CC0 in the interim.  We look forward to receiving your comments and suggestions for improving CC0 still further.  Read on to hear more about what has changed and our plans for finalizing CC0 this fall.

In our April beta 2 release, we made two significant changes to CC0 that drew a number of comments. The first change was to separate the “waiver” tool, intended for use by copyright owners wishing to relinquish their rights under copyright to a work, from the “assertion” tool, intended for use by others to mark a work as being free from copyright and in the public domain.  This eliminated confusion the combined tool was causing, and allowed us to push ahead with CC0 while planning the more complicated assertion piece. This change was received favorably by commentators.

The other significant change made in the April draft was to position CC0 as a “Universal” legal tool, capable of being used in all jurisdictions without the formal porting process CC traditionally uses for its core licenses.  In making this change, we recognized that the legal effect of CC0 would differ depending on the jurisdiction.  After further consideration, however, we concluded that the benefits of having a Universal tool outweighed that concern.

This attempt at Universality attracted the bulk of the comments we received after posting the April draft.  It was also the key issue underlying other comment threads raising enforceability issues and differences between legal systems.

Several commentators (accurately) pointed out that the language in CC0 beta draft 2 overstated the legal effect CC0 would have in their jurisdictions, as no waiver could completely eliminate moral and other rights granted authors and others in many countries.  Others noted that the mechanism of a waiver did not exist at all in their jurisdictions, or at best minimally, and so suggested alternative approaches like a covenant not to sue.  Still others asked for more clarity on the important point that others’ rights in the work were not affected by CC0 and may need to be cleared in advance of a particular use (including – by way of example – privacy and publicity rights held by an individual whose image is captured in a photo).

There were other comments and suggestions for improvement.  We’ve posted many on the CC0 Wiki.

All of the comments we received were incredibly valuable and caused us to re-evaluate not just the legal code but also the positioning of CC0 as a Universal legal tool.  We took this opportunity to consult in more depth with our CCi community during iSummit earlier this month and with other legal experts in an attempt to apply additional academic rigor to our drafting process.

So while this draft 3 was delayed, we feel it was for good reason. We remain dedicated to pursuing a Universal CC0, but with some substantial revision to the text. Here are a few of the changes you will see in draft 3 as a result of those comments and discussions:

  • Inclusion of a Statement of Purpose that provides context and explanation for issues CC0 attempts to solve while also identifying limitations inherent in such an attempt;
  • Clarifying language about the IP rights affected by CC0 through a new comprehensive definition of “Copyright Related Rights”; and
  • Emphasis on the possible existence of privacy and publicity rights of others with respect to a work, and the need for those to be cleared where appropriate.

We welcome your comments on these changes and your suggestions for other improvements.  The primary venue for discussion continues to be the cc-licenses mailing list.  We also encourage you to take a look at our newly-updated CC0 Wiki where you can find a summary of comments leading up to this draft 3 and links to their full text.  You can also find on the wiki a list of other tools and licenses that attempt to do in part what we are attempting to accomplish with CC0.  Please feel free to add other tools you may be aware of to the list.

We request that comments on this beta draft 3 be submitted within the next 30 days (by September 26th or thereabouts).  We plan to finalize CC0 in late October or early November, shortly following our participation in the 3rd Communia Workshop on Marking the Public Domain.

A special acknowledgment to Catharina Maracke (Director of CCi) for coordinating the international input at iSummit.  Thanks also goes to Science Commons and ccLearn for being patient (despite a growing need for CC0 in their domains) so we might get this right.

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HOWTO Rock Flickr like a champ

Mike Linksvayer, August 28th, 2008

Marshall Kirkpatrick at ReadWriteWeb lays it out:

Turn on Creative Commons Licensing

It’s easy to turn the default setting for new photos uploaded to Creative Commons Attribution (our favorite) by visiting the Privacy & Permissions tab in your account. Unfortunately there’s not clear, working links from Flickr to an explanation of the different licenses. Here they are on the Creative Commons site.

CC Attribution is a license that says other people can use it and change it, including in a commercial context, as long as they give you attribution as the creator. It greases the wheels for quick and easy media sharing. That’s good and it would be nice if more quality media was licensed this way. We keep a link to the Creative Commons by Attribution search on Flickr in our browser toolbar and use it frequently for photos in posts. Those could be your photos we and others are using!

(Emphasis added.)

Read the whole article for Marshall’s other helpful suggestions on how to make the most out of Flickr.

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KQED’s QUEST on OER and CC Licensing

Jane Park, August 28th, 2008

One morning in late June, I made the trek out to the outer mission area to interview two KQED QUEST producers: Sue Ellen McCann and Craig Rosa. I first met Sue Ellen and Craig a couple months prior, when we had an informal discussion about possibly CC licensing some of QUEST’s raw footage for a new program called the Science Media Commons (see below). Since then, KQED and QUEST have made definite plans to open up some of that raw footage, in addition to a whole bunch of their photos that are already CC licensed.

QUEST is KQED‘s science and environment series about the San Francisco Bay Area. Through various multimedia, it examines the work of the larger scientific and environmental community and its impact on our daily lives. QUEST operates inside the KQED offices, which are grey on the outside, but impressive on the inside. A bridge-like walkway connects the upper stories, and it was at the end of this walk that we entered Sue Ellen’s office, where she, Craig and I sat down to have a nice, lengthy chat. Craig offered us some of his breakfast cornbread, while I started the recorder. The following is an edited transcript of the interview, my questions in bold.

Could you say a little about yourselves, your position at KQED and QUEST and maybe how you came to be here? What personally interests you in the work that you do here?

Sue Ellen
I’m the executive producer for QUEST. I work on the editorial concepts, fundraising and organizational structure of QUEST.  My biggest role is to figure out ways to support and incorporate the innovative thinking of the team into the project.

Prior to coming to KQED, I worked on long form documentaries and produced a lot of education materials working on what was at that time cutting edge technology—touch screen kiosks that included video, laser discs and early web sites and CDroms. In many ways, QUEST is a return to the kind of experiementing I did prior to coming to KQED.

I’m the interactive producer on the QUEST program. My background, before coming to public media a year and a half ago before this project, was in the museum world, specifically the natural history and science museums/science center world.

As an interactive producer, what exactly do you do?

As the lead producer of the interactive team, I work with others on the interactive web perspective for each of the QUEST stories and try to figure out which of the kinds of media are going to help us tell this story the best. Is this a story that is very visual, so perhaps maybe a web-only video presentation would be good? Does it have data that’s very geographically located? If so we view maps, interactive maps, as being another kind of media to the story. Is it told very well from an audio perspective or in combination? Is it something that really aligns very well with the California science standards that the education producer is very involved with? So one thing I definitely do is that I’m involved in the editorial process, first and foremost.

The second is that I’m in charge of the design, development, and operations of the QUEST website, which is the hub for all the different pieces of media. Anything that’s produced for QUEST, aside from the education workshops, is available on the QUEST web site. And we also have content that is exclusive to the web. So I keep the website going and I work with all the producers to get their media on the site.

A third piece, I collaborate with them on creating media that is specifically for the web media. I’ll work with a radio or a TV producer on a series of photographs, a photographic set—so photography, digital photography, annotated digital photography is definitely another type of media that we take advantage of and use. We’ve published over a thousand photographs now in the first year and a half of the project. Another type of media that I might produce: I might collaborate with a producer on a piece of web-only video. So far the model has been: the producers put together a rough script and then we collaborate; I’ll edit that piece, and collaborate with them and produce it. We also work with the radio side—they’ve become more interested lately in multimedia presentations, so they’ve been taking some of their radio pieces and making audio/video slide shows out of them.

If you could say a few words about QUEST, the program and how the need for it arose at KQED, and how it became.

Sue Ellen
After talking with local science and environment groups, other media reporters and educators, we identified two needs. One is the shrinking reporting that’s being done on science and environment.  Print organizations do the best job of covering science and the environment, but with the current cut backs that is shrinking as well. But the number one source for science coverage remain television and there has been very little coverage on broadcast news. QUEST is an opportunity to increase local science and environment reporting and hopefully encourage our citizens to become more informed about topics that effect their lives everyday.

The second need is in the education realm. We heard from educators that there is very little local media that is accurate and appropiate for use in and outside the classroom for K-12 use. So, we have created a broad range of formal and informal education materials, and professional training opportunites for science educators.

So you’re targeting different audiences then, because I noticed on your website you have an education section, explorations [section] or you have TV, but then you’re [also] trying to meet California curriculum standards. So do you have one specific target audience, or are you trying to pull in more than one?

Sue Ellen
What we realized very early on from bringing all four platforms (TV, radio, interactive web site and education) to the table was that we could actually reach an audience that was 99+ years old through fifth graders. So the way the audience breaks down is: Education concentrates on fifth grade through high school and also professional development with formal and informal educators. Interactive’s audience is solidly in the 25 to 45 age range. Radio is 35 to 55, and TV is 55 plus. So it kind of works out really well because whatever age you are we have something to offer you.

So is a lot of the science audience only locally based? Like in local environmental issues? Or is your audience from all around the world?

When we look at our analytics for the web visitors, it tends to be fairly local. The bulk of the web page traffic is local, but it does spread out nationally and even on certain stories, internationally. So I think from a web perspective, we are succeeding at one of our goals—at being a real local voice and serving a local audience.

Sue Ellen
We do however distribute the content beyond the website, nationally on NPR, and we work with the PBS news hour, as well as Nova Science Now, so some of our content actually does reach a national audience and has been very, very successful that way. We also made the video and audio content avaiable through iTunes, Miro and Adobe.  At the moment, 40% of our video audience comes through downloads and embeds.

Embeds is the third major way that our video and now, most recently, our audio content can be distributed. Just like YouTube, where there’s a little box that says embed this, you can grab that code and you just paste it into your blog post or into your web page [and] it will put a little mini player. And we’ve done the same thing, but we just kind of wrote our own little one. Lauren, our associate media producer, contacts blog science editors directly via email or through contacts to make them aware of the QUEST embeddable content. Oftentimes, she’s gotten many of the top twenty blogs on the internet to feature our stories because we present with them a very easy to use and very content appropriate piece.

I was just talking to some folks at the California Academy of Sciences yesterday, and said one of the most important things you can do for your content is to make it as shareable and open and distributable as possible while of course still retaining the appropriate rights to manage that content.

Well I think all the multimedia that you produce is great and it seems like you’re really getting it out there and people are really accessing it. It’s a great way for getting awareness to the issue and educating the audience. Is that how you view your audience interacting with your video? [What about] when it comes to actually being engaged and remixing? Because I noticed that your photos for the Humboldt squid are CC licensed so you’re encouraging derivations or adaptations of that. Maybe someone can use that in a report without specifically asking for permission. So I was wondering what you thought about that?

Sue Ellen
I think PBS and in particular, KQED, is in a really unique position, given the community that we have here and the interest in remixing and the knowledge and access. For many years we’ve had very soul searching discussions about what does that mean for an organization that creates media and pushes it out. We’re really trying to figure out how do we stay relevant and what’s our role in this particular arena. And I think more and more what QUEST is proving out is that it’s important to make media available, particularly in the education arena.

But I think beyond just letting it be available, I think our role as media makers is also to help educate and professionalize those people who make media. So it’s wonderful that there are people out there that want to make video for YouTube; it’s a great expression and extension of someones identity and I think that’s a really important part. But then how do you then take that person that wants to communicate visually or even through telling stories orally—how do you move them to another level? I think that’s the space that we would really like KQED to move into. So we are definitely making our photographs available. I think the next step for us is community contributed and created content.

One of the projects that we have in mind right now is creating something called the Science Media Commons. We cleared the rights for our video and for our audio content, as well as many of our photos, maps and graphics. We’d like to be able to put those online and make them available for educators and students to actually use in educational situations.

So then are you looking to license that content in an open way? So that it can be remixed?

We have cleared the rights so that it can be remixed. We would definitely put it under a CC license.

I’d say 95% of [our photos] are Creative Commons licensed. And we use a noncommercial attribution license. And we have seen our photographs used quite regularly and we’re very happy when we see that they’re used. We’ve seen government and international agencies use it for reports; we’ve seen many blogs use it; oftentimes they use it to show people about our stories and then link back, which is perfect. Certainly on the environmental side, when people are talking about certain issues, there have been a number of photographs which have been very popular. There’s one of solar panels that have been used, that has been viewed thousands of times, because it’s probably one that comes up on Flickr under the Creative Commons search when you look for solar panels. So I can think of half a dozen times where online publications have used it as an image to illustrate solar. There’s one about household chemicals and pollution. It was a very unassuming photograph; it’s just a bunch of household products and things on a dusty old shelf, but that image has been used many times to talk about household hazards. The squid photographs have been used numerous times because there’s a great shot of one of the fishermen pulling back the tentacles and there’s a great big beak coming out.


Sue Ellen
Over all, KQED sees a future for user and community generated content. I think the website is and has been the very first place where we have experimented the most with it. But I do see it leading into TV broadcast. And also we are in the process of talking with the California Academy of Sciences; they’re developing a very large exhibition space for media display and they’ll be using some of our content and they’re going to be creating their own so we’re hoping we’ll be able to use some of theirs, whether it’s on the website or in the broadcast.

I’m really happy to hear that, because one of the issues with user generated content is that not all of the content available online [is] interoperable. For instance, you can’t just use something from PBS [with] the CC licensed stuff from KQED because the stuff from PBS might not necessarily be Creative Commons licensed, and maybe not in the same ways. So I guess part of the whole web phenomenon is [to] encourage remixing, not just within QUEST.

Sue Ellen
Or, they can go out and shoot their own. And I think that’s the one area that we’re interested in—we’re interested in releasing the raw media. We’re not interested in people remixing our stories. But they can certainly embed it; they can certainly call us and if they want it to be shorter we can talk to them about that, but we want to maintain editorial control over those particular [branded pieces].

This is a native language for a lot of young people. It’s a far more engaging and, I think, educational application. So we’re looking forward to inspiring the foundation community to support those kinds of works.

I did want to say one thing, too, though. There is an ongoing tension around this (and it’s just kind of inherent in this particular space) and that is monetization issues. One of the areas that public media has always been able to raise money, whether you’re an independent producer or a public television station, has been through educational sales of your content. So for public media institutions like PBS or KQED, to give content away like this means that we have to find other ways to actually sustain these kinds of activities. And we don’t have an answer for that yet. I think it’s a bigger concern for independent producers because they probably spent three or four years of their lives paying themselves very little to actually produce content. So to ask them to then somehow relinquish the only way they’re actually going to be able to pay themselves back is a pretty hard task. And it’s also true for institutions like KQED. So while we have agreed at least with QUEST to make this content available for free we’re still trying to figure out, okay, what’s the money that’s going to come in and replace that source of income.

So then you haven’t yet seen… a monetary benefit to CC licensing your photos? I mean, I guess you haven’t CC licensed anything but the photos yet, so you can’t really gauge…

Sue Ellen
Right. I mean one of the things we do talk about is when we do make the footage available under a nonprofit attribution license, if there’s a commercial entity interested in the footage, that may be the pay-off. But we don’t know that, and it’s part of a whole movement within the station to actually digitize our video so we can at least make a library available so somebody can access if you are a commercial media maker and you’re interested in licensing our footage. That’s certainly a way that we could do that, and we have talked about that. We’re also experimenting with messaging; about seventy percent of our income comes from our membership, so we’re wondering if there would be interest in people [becoming members]. Like if they’re doing a download [and] we message them and they’re not a member of KQED, [if] through using our content they would actually be interested in becoming a member of KQED. It’s just a big question mark for us.

About the open education movement in general… Everyone’s into openly licensing their stuff, especially for education because there’s no real taboo there; everyone thinks educators and students should have access to this stuff, and they should be able to remix and use it in their classrooms. I was wondering about your general view on the OER movement.

Sue Ellen
PBS has actually been in the Open Educational Resources movement since its inception. Its mission has always been to produce a media for the public. So for years and years and years, when particularly television broadcasts were made, educators were able, for the first seven days of that broadcast, to record whatever program they wanted and use it for free in their classroom. So it’s not a new concept for public media. And while there have been restrictions on how it can be used, that comes from two reasons—one is rights that is connected with the content which limit the way that that content can be used. The second one is economics, as I mentioned before.

The rights issue: So if you’re a signator to AFTRA, or you’re a signator to the Writer’s Guild, or you’re a signator to any of the other kinds of guilds, they have regions and they have different aspects to whatever your contract is with them, [it] can trigger different kinds of license fees. And as those license fees go up, it becomes more and, in many cases, unattainable for you to actually clear those rights. Or you can only clear those rights for a certain time period. So I think the big thing that PBS or any kind of media producer faces in making that available for free is an expense, and so if you can bear that expense so that you can make it free, that’s one thing, but to put that burden on a producer when it’s onerous is something that really needs to be examined by the open educational resources movement. I think there’s been a lot of conversation about this. And believe me, artists should get paid for what they do; I’m not advocating that they don’t. But I’m not really sure what that solution is. There has been conversation about foundations stepping up and creating some kind of a collective pool… having some pool of money somewhere so that these classics can continue to remain in the public—that might be a viable way to do it.

I was talking with somebody—this was a couple years ago when I was doing research…which led to my understanding of how we would ultimately end up distributing QUEST, which was going around and interviewing a lot of folks. And this particular individual was very, very impassioned about how, not only do we need to make the programs available for free but also the raw footage. And I remember asking him at the time, saying, you know as a professional who works in this field who makes media all the time, the last thing I would want to do is go home and remix something; it’s just not really of interest to me because I do it all day long. So please tell me from your perspective, why is this of interest to you? And he used the word ‘cognitive artifacts’. He used the word ‘cognitive artifacts’ and he said, you know, if you were born of my generation (so he was about Craig’s age) and the only way that you’ve experienced the world is through media, through film, through TV, through games, through in front music—that is how you come to experience the world, but it’s also how you communicate what your experiences have been.

So for my generation it’s, where were you when John F. Kennedy was killed? But for a younger generation it might be, do you remember the concert? Do you remember when such and such a character in a TV show did something really outrageous? And it creates a common knowledge and a common language. And he was really advocating for… as this becomes more and more the dominant way that we communicate, it will become more and more important that if you want to communicate a concept or an idea that you have access to that particular image. And to the extent that copyright stops you from having this common and universal experience, it limits your ability to communicate with your peers, but also to ultimately have a sense of expression…

Anyway it was a pretty profound experience for me and I came back and got online and started doing some research. I have probably taken his concept and made it my own in the description I have just given you, but it made me really clearly understand why it’s important to make this kind of material available to people so that they can actually create and communicate.

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The Open Source Business Resource: Education Issue

Jane Park, August 28th, 2008

The August issue of the Open Source Business Resource (OSBR) is dedicated to education. It is now available online, including two articles specifically devoted to open education: “A Flat Network for the Unflat World: Open Educational Resources in Developing Countries” (Steven Muegge, Monica Mora, Kamal Hassin, Andrew Pullin) and “Why Give Knowledge Away for Free? The Case for Open Educational Resources” (Jan Hylén).

The Open Source Business Resource (OSBR) is an online publication devoted to open source, targeting a broad audience of “Canadian business owners, company executives and employees, directors of open source foundations, leaders of open source projects, open source groups, individuals and organizations that contribute to open source projects, academics and students interested in open source, technology transfer professionals, and government employees who promote wealth creation through innovation.”

All issues of OSBR are licensed CC BY.

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2nd Annual Digital Media and Learning Competition

Jane Park, August 28th, 2008

Last week, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, long-time supporter of CC, announced the second annual Digital Media and Learning Competition. The 2008 competition is a collaborative result of the MacArthur Foundation, the University of California, Irvine, Duke University, and HASTAC, a virtual and voluntary network of educators and innovators committed to improving learning via technology. The competition accompanies the MacArthur Digital Media and Learning Initiative, a $50 million, five-year initiative that was launched in 2006 to “help determine how digital technologies are changing the way people, especially young people, learn, play, socialize, and participate in civic life.”

This year’s competition theme is “Participatory Learning,” which focuses on the collaborative aspect of learning by exploring different and new models in digital media. This may include “major adaptations of existing models of gaming, world building, social networking or other virtual environments; or the development of entirely new programs.” The emphasis, however, is on “a strong commitment to making possible new ways of valuable participatory learning, as opposed to simply creating new content.”

$2 million will be awarded in sum over two categories: “Innovation in Participatory Learning” and “Young Innovator.” The latter’s focus is the same, but the targeted group is 18-25 year old persons who are willing to “think boldly about what comes next in participatory learning and to contribute to making it happen.”

The winning products and/or programs will be licensed CC BY-NC-SA or be available as Open Source. For more details, see the MacArthur Foundation’s August 18th press release and the competition guidelines.

For examples of winning projects, see last year’s winners in Innovation and Knowledge-Networking.

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REMINDER: CC Salon LA Next Week (9/3/08): Xeni Jardin and GOOD Magazine

Cameron Parkins, August 27th, 2008

A friendly reminder that we are hosting the latest CC Salon LA next week (9/3/08) at the FOUND Gallery in Silverlake (Google map) between 7:30PM-9:30PM. Joining us will be Xeni Jardin, Tech Culture Journalist and co-editor at Boing Boing, and Casey Caplowe, Creative Director of GOOD Magazine.

Both will discuss how CC, and ‘openness’ in general, has been employed in their respective undertakings, touching on the the successes they have had as well as obstacles they have had to overcome, specifically in regards to traditional and non-traditional journalism. Both will be available for Q&A after their presentations.

Follow the event on Upcoming, mark attending on Facebook, and make sure to come down and hear from two exemplary members of the CC community on their experiences with open licensing. As always, there will be free (as in beer) drinks for the entire night.

UPDATE: We are pleased to announce that the wonderful sounds of Vosotros will be heard at the Salon in between presenters, giving you yet another reason to attend!

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dublab and Creative Commons launch Into Infinity

Eric Steuer, August 26th, 2008

I’m happy to announce that dublab and Creative Commons have launched Into Infinity, a CC-licensed art and music project themed around the infinite possibilities of creative reuse. The online exhibition is available now; physical installations are being planned for Winter 2008 and throughout 2009.

Earlier this year, we distributed 12″ circular canvases to a collection of visual artists. We also commissioned an array of musicians to create eight-second audio loops. We went through all of the submissions and posted the best online, including pieces by world-renowned graffiti artist Kofie, 2008 Whitney Biennial alumni Lucky Dragons, Anticon collective member Odd Nosdam, and electronic musicians Flying Lotus and Dntel (AKA Jimmy Tamborello of The Postal Service).

Each time you refresh the site’s exhibition page, you’ll get a new art and loop combination. All of the images and sounds are published under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license and (as you may have guessed) we strongly endorse the sharing and remixing of this project. You can download the pieces individually via the links on the exhibition page; you can also download the entire project (including the site’s source code) all at once via the downloads page.

Stay tuned for updates, because we’re talking to new artists and musicians all the time and we’ll be adding new pieces to the exhibition regularly. Soon, we’ll also issue a formal call for remixes of Into Infinity’s works, many of which we’ll include in future versions of the show.

You can read a bit more about the project in the press release we issued earlier today.

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Solution is Open Textbooks

Jane Park, August 26th, 2008

In January, the Student PIRGs launched the Make Textbooks Affordable campaign “to encourage faculty to adopt open educational resources in their classrooms” in the form of open textbooks and other classroom materials. Read ccLearn’s post on it from January.

Recently, the Student PIRGs released their findings after examining digital textbooks and surveying 500 students in the following report: “Course Correction: How Digital Textbooks are Off Track and How to Set Them Straight“. Nicole Allen, the campaign’s director, writes:

“I think this report helps draw a brighter line between the good and bad of digital textbooks. I think open textbooks too often get lumped into the overarching category of digital books, which does not do them justice as a solution.  We hope it will help refocus all of the momentum for digital textbooks toward the right kind of digital textbooks – open.”

The report highlights the defects of e-books offered currently by commercial publishers. (See the LA Times and The Wired Campus articles.) In addition to being expensive, they are accessible by students for only a limited time and cost a great deal for those who would like to print them. Open textbooks, on the other hand, are free and downloadable, giving students access to their own copy forever in addition to the abilities to reuse, remix or repurpose them under the terms of an open license.

The report itself is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA. You can download a copy.

One example of a commercial entity releasing an open textbook: Quirk eMarketing released “The Essential Guide to Online Marketing” last month under CC BY-NC-ND.

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ABC (Australia) Launches CC-Friendly Social Media Site “Pool”

Cameron Parkins, August 26th, 2008

Great news coming in from our friends at CC Australia – the ABC, Australia’s national public broadcaster, just launched a CC-friendly social media space, Pool, which is designed to provide a “place for creative content makers to upload their work, publish and collaborate.” Pool offers users the ability to upload their content – whatever the medium – under the full suite of CC licences (as well as All Rights Reserved) for other users to reuse and share. From the CCau:

As Pool’s Executive Producer, Sherre Delys, puts it in this interview with Radio National’s The Media Report, the CC licensing means that “POOL starts to be a place where you can connect with others, and so for some that will take the form of online mentoring and skill-sharing; for others it’s a collaborative work space, they can download each other’s work, re-mix and re-use, and it also includes collaboration between ABC producers and audiences, and I think that’s really critical.” And in a first for the national broadcaster, Sherre also talks about Pool’s intention to release ABC archival footage for remix by it’s audience, sometime in the near future.

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