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2008 September

December Technology Summit, Call for Presentations

Nathan Yergler, September 19th, 2008

Following the success of our first technology summit in June we knew we would do another one soon.  Today we’re announcing the next, which will be held in Cambridge, MA on December 12.  We’re also changing the format slightly, trying to add more talks and reduce the number of panels.  To support that we’re also announcing a Call for Presentations

The Technology Summits are about connecting the larger developer and technical community that’s sprung up around Creative Commons licenses and technology, so we want to provide a venue where people doing interesting work can share it. We’ve identified some areas we think are interesting and ripe for exploration but those are mostly just a guideline. The summit will once again be a single-day event, so we have about five 45-minute slots available. Proposals/abstracts are due October 24, so get to it! Full details are available in the wiki.

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Steve Trash Gets “Kids Making Better Choices” to Alabama Primary Schools

Cameron Parkins, September 19th, 2008

Steve Trash is a kids entertainer, environmentalist, and acclaimed magician who recently released a collection of video shorts, Kids Making Better Choices, that helps teach young children about recycling, exercise, and how to “make better choices.”

Steve releases his videos online under a CC BY-NC-ND license, allowing the videos to be shared and used widely. Most recently, in conjunction with Alabama’s State Legislature, Steve sent 1200 CC-licensed DVDs containing his videos to Alabama primary schools for classroom use. He also released supplemental material online to assist in the teaching of his works.

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Ordering an Espresso at the U of Michigan Library

Jane Park, September 18th, 2008

is now an entirely different process. The University of Michigan is the first university to have installed the Espresso Book Machine, also termed “the ATM of books,” in one of its libraries. The wait time is about the same, but you’re ordering books now instead of Italian coffee, and the product price is a bit higher—averaging at 10 bucks a pop. But 10 bucks for a printed and bound book that is made in seven minutes is a pretty good deal, especially when you’ve got almost 2 million books to choose from. How is this possible? Or even legal?

The University of Michigan libraries have nearly 2 million books digitized for on demand printing, in addition to thousands of more books from the Open Content Alliance and other sources. But trust me when I say that these books are all very legal; in fact, they have been out of copyright for 85 years, or more. As a result, they are in the public domain, available for anyone to print, read, and repurpose—for free. The espresso version is simply covering printing costs. Compared to the average price of books these days, especially textbooks, ten bucks is pocket change. Online sites like Lulu.com already offer print versions of CC licensed works for cheap—remember the OER Handbook for Educators? It’s only 19.99 for 284 pages. Of course, ordering online is a bit slower than ordering from the EBM. 

Once the machine is installed, it is capable of being connected to other digital collections not limited to the U of M’s. Props to the University of Michigan for yet again leading the way on copyright issues.

While we’re on the topic, the Open Content Alliance has the similar goal of “building a digital archive of global content for universal access”. The Open Content Alliance is “a group of cultural, technology, nonprofit, and governmental organizations from around the world that [helps to] build a permanent archive of multilingual digitized text and multimedia content. [It] was conceived by the Internet Archive and Yahoo! in early 2005 as a way to offer broad, public access to a rich panorama of world culture.”

ccLearn is very excited to attend this year’s Internet Archive conference in San Francisco where an OCA meeting will take place in October. The theme for this year’s conference is “Using Digital Collections.”

Thanks to Peter Suber and The Wired Campus for alerting us to the EBM. You can even watch a video of how the machine works.

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Creative Commons Launches Study of “Noncommercial Use”

Eric Steuer, September 18th, 2008

Today, Creative Commons announced the launch of a research study that will explore differences between commercial and noncommercial uses of content. The study will explore how the definitions of “commercial use” and “noncommercial use” are understood among various communities and in connection with a wide variety of content.

“The study has direct relevance to Creative Commons’ mission of providing free, flexible copyright licenses that are easy to understand and simple to use,” said Creative Commons CEO Joi Ito. “The NC term is a popular option for creators choosing a Creative Commons license, and that tells us the term meets a need. However, as exponentially increasing numbers of works are made available under CC licenses, we want to provide additional information for creators about the contexts in which the NC term may further or impede their intentions with respect to the works they choose to share, and we want to make sure that users clearly understand those intentions. We expect the study findings will help us do a better job of explaining the licenses and to improve them, where possible. We also hope the findings, which will be made publicly available, will contribute to better understanding of some of the complexities of digital distribution of content.”

You can read more about this news in the press release CC issued this morning.

Thank you to The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for its generous support of this study.

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“Opening Up Education”

Jane Park, September 18th, 2008

is the new publication by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and MIT Press exploring “the potential of open education to transform the economics and ecology of education.” Opening Up Education: The Collective Advancement of Education through Open Technology, Open Content, and Open Knowledge is a collection of thirty essays written by leaders in the open education movement. From the press release:

[They] reflect on current and past open education initiatives, offer critical analyses, share the strategic underpinnings of their own work, and delve into open education’s implications in three areas: technology, content, and knowledge. Together, they address the central question of how open education can improve the quality of education.

Co-editor M. S. Vijay Kumar is also quoted:

A look at the landscape tells us that efforts with open education so far have been largely confined to attempts at improving what we already do. While this is certainly valid, we encourage consideration of approaches that transcend traditional practices, organizations, disciplines and audiences.” 

John Seely Brown agrees in his Foreword, “We need to reconceptualize twentieth-century education models, and at the same time reinforce learning outside of formal schooling. This book provides real leverage for open education, and is a major step toward creating a culture of learning for this century.”

The book is also edited by Toru Iiyoshi and is available for download at MIT Press under CC BY-NC-ND.

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Stanford Engineering Tries its Hand at OCW

Jane Park, September 17th, 2008

Emulating MIT and a host of other OCW institutions, the Stanford School of Engineering has jumped on the OER bandwagon by releasing ten of its courses online in multiple formats. The pilot open courseware portal, known as Stanford Engineering Everywhere (SEE), is Stanford’s first move towards offering full-length course videos and other materials online for free and open use. SEE’s current ten course offerings consist of “instruction videos, reading lists and materials and class assignments” in three subject areas: computer science, artificial intelligence, and linear systems and optimization.

All course materials are open for re-use under CC BY-NC-SA. The general site content on Stanford Engineering Everywhere is licensed CC BY.

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100 Second Film Festival

Cameron Parkins, September 17th, 2008

The 100 Second Film Festival is “a collection of short videos presented to an audience in person or through the medium of cable television or the Internet” with the only requirements being that the films are 100 seconds long and are released under a CC BY-NC-SA license. This allows the film festivals – the screenings are decentralized – to pool past submissions as well as new ones for their lineup. Whoever is curating a specific festival can put together the lineup in any fashion they see fit, although ideally, each screening will contain at least a few works produced by the local audience where the screening is held.

This year’s call for entries was just announced, with the deadline to submit a short extended to Dec 15th, 2008. From 100SFF:

The 100 Second Film Festival is an unique yet accessible universal collaboration. Launched in 2005, this evolving anthology of videos embraces the raw creativity from producers of all skill levels and backgrounds, encouraging them to submit their best work. Works from all genres are welcome
adhering to the common constraint of 100 seconds or less in duration.

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Sydney Arts Management Advisory Group: “Copyleft or Copyright” Seminar

Cameron Parkins, September 17th, 2008

We’re not quite sure what is in the water down under, but more great news keeps piling in from our friends at CCau – on 29 September the Sydney Arts Management Advisory Group (SAMAG) are running a seminar entitled “Copyleft or Copyright: Alternative licensing models in the digital era: promotion or protection” which promises to “explore[] how the landscape has changed since the analogue era and what this means for the creators of copyright.”

Delia Browne will be presenting on behalf of CCau, along with David Noakes from the Film Finance Corporation (FFC) and Scot Morris from the Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA). Details below:

When: 6pm – 8pm, Monday 29 September 2008
Where: Australia Council: 372 Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills
How: RSVP by 9/25 to Janelle Prescott – info AT samag DOT org – or (02) 8250 5722 (msg only)
Cost: FREE ENTRY for 2008 SAMAG Members / $10 for non-members / $5 for students

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Digital Fringe

Cameron Parkins, September 17th, 2008

Digital Fringe, a program that will be taking place during the 2008 Melbourne Film Festival, recentlly issued a call for material to screen during this year’s program. Taking place between the 9/24 – 10/12, the material will vary in form and content with DF broadcasting the submissions anywhere and everywhere – from public screens to TVs in shop windows to the web. From CCau:

Run out of the experimental media bar, Horse Bazaar (one of my favourite places in Melbourne – check out the men’s toilets!), Digital Fringe showcases the work of emerging and established new media artists on hundreds of screens across Victoria. Contributions can be from anywhere in the world and can be in any form, from works by professional artists to kindergarten multimedia projects and everything in between. You provide the material, they provide the novel environment – whether it be a bar, a gallery, a wall or even a mobile phone. They even have a Mobile Projection Unit, which moves around Melbourne from dusk, projecting onto buildings and structures and interacting with the citylife and local goings on.

And our favourite bit (as always) – the copyright. All artists retain full copyright in their works, and are free to license them however they like, from all rights reserved to public domain. However, in the spirit or sharing and experimentation, Digital Fringe encourages the use of Creative Commons licences.

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Creative Commons @ Web 2.0 Expo NYC

Fred Benenson, September 17th, 2008

I’m about to head over to the first day of the Web 2.0 Expo in New York City. Creative Commons has a booth in the non-profit pavilion, so if you are at the conference and you’d like some swag (including some of the highly sought after CC vinyl stickers) or just want to say ‘Hi’, don’t hesitate to drop by!

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