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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Former CC General Counsel to lead Australian government digital economy push

Mike Linksvayer, September 16th, 2008

Congratulations to former Creative Commons General Counsel Mia Garlick, who has joined the Australian government to lead its digital economy initiatives:

iTWire has learnt that Mia Garlick, an Australian lawyer who was most recently product counsel for YouTube, has been appointed to head the Australian Government’s drive for the digital economy future, as assistant secretary in the Department of Broadband Communications and the Digital Economy (BCDE)

Her appointment is linked to communications minister Stephen Conroy’s announcement this week of plans to prepare Australia for the future ‘digital economy’. In preparation for this initiative the department advertised in May for “a talented and highly motivated senior manager to lead the Digital Economy Branch within the Department…[to provide] leadership and strategic direction to a branch with responsibility for the development of the digital economy in Australia.”

While at CC, Mia led development of the CC version 3.0 licenses and nearly every other project we undertook during her tenure, in addition to undertaking regular speaking engagements worldwide. Her intelligence, energy, and wit are certainly just what the Australian digital economy needs. Good luck!

It’s also worth noting that Creative Commons Australia has long been a leading CC jurisdiction project, especially in the field of public sector information. Just in the last week the National Innovation Review recommended CC and a minister immediately endorsed the recommendation.


Appropriately enough, a photo of Mia Garlick (far right) visiting Brian Fitzgerald, Stuart Cunningham, and Jessica Coates at CC Australia in 2006. Nic Suzor / CC BY-SA

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Late yet great news — Photosynth launches with CC support

Mike Linksvayer, September 16th, 2008

Last year you probably saw a video demo of Photosynth at TED, and forwarded and/or were forwarded the video many times (the video is even licensed under CC BY-NC-ND, like all TED videos). Lots of people forwarded it to me anyway — I apparently do something with computers :) and Photosynth is computer technology anyone can immediately connect with — it “synths” or stitches together collections of photos, creating a model one can navigate as if one were “there” — the demo video includes an incredible model of the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, created from many normal photos.

Obviously this technology creates a whole new way to relate to photography, one that treats photos more as data that contributes to a model than as individual creative works. How should such ‘data’ and works rendered from the same be restricted? No doubt such questions will become increasingly relevant — Photosynth hints at futuristic new mediums and interfaces that massive and expected increases in storage, compute power, and sensor ubiquity will bring.

Photosynth opened to the public late last month, and it is great that Microsoft chose to encourage synthers to release their work under a CC license (see screenshot at end of this post). ReadWriteWeb and the Seattle Times were two of many publications to note the Creative Commons feature in Photosynth.

Below is a screenshot of my first attempted synth, composed of 98 photos taken from the windows of the CC office in San Francisco. Although one could do better with more experience or simply more photos, a screenshot really doesn’t do justice at all to this or any synth — click on the image to navigate around. Unfortunately this currently requires a plugin only available on Windows XP or Vista.

cc-sf-office-photosynth-shot

For anyone who wants to create a bigger or better synth, I’ve uploaded the original 98 photos to the Internet Archive and placed them in the public domain.


Synth creation window, showing CC license recommendation and selection.

A completely different part of Microsoft has also just announced CC licensing — the Microsoft Operations Framework 4.0, an IT guidebook and worksheet, is now released under CC BY. The MOF blog has a nice rationale:

One of the first things people realize when looking at implementing a service management framework, whether it is ITIL, MOF, or another, is that they must not only be adopted but also adapted to your individual organization’s needs.  You have to decide which of the described processes are relevant to your requirements and to what depth to apply them.  this is true whether you are a consultant trying to make a living assisting others in their implementations, or a IT Manager trying to decide how improve upon your organization’s existing change control.

MOF 4.0 now fully supports this need for flexibility and the ability to remix, adapt, and shuffle the content with the adoption of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license. This license allows you to freely Share (copy, distribute, or transmit) any of the MOF content and Remix (adapt) that content to suit your needs.  For a full legal explanation of the terms of the license, please refer to the Creative Commons website.

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Indaba Music Team Up With Third Eye Blind

Cameron Parkins, September 16th, 2008

Exciting news from Indaba Music – alternative rock band Third Eye Blind have teamed up with the former Featured Commoner to offer fans of the band, and Indaba members, increased interaction with the band’s music and writing process. 3EB will posting unfinished song stems to the community site, allowing members to take the stems, reuse/remix them, and post them as CC BY-NC-ND licensed reworkings (somewhat similar to our Copyright Criminals contest).

To be clear the 3EB tracks are not CC-licensed, but CC licenses will allow Indaba members the ability to spread their creations in a non-commercial setting and experiment with 3EB’s material before it is released. Similarly, 3EB gains a means to collaborate with their fans in a way that is unique and more personal. The best material resulting from this collaboration will go on a companion album to be released alongside the band’s album sometime next year. From Indaba:

Here’s the deal. As 3EB finishes laying down tracks, the band will post unmixed instrument stems for you to tweak, shape, and edit through a series of contests. They want to hear your vision for their songs. The first track, “Non-Dairy Creamer,” is already available for you to work on!

Through a regular blog that chronicles their experience of creating an album, access to the unmixed stems and the dialogue among Indaba members, you’ll have the chance to watch the group develop their artistic concept.

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Back to School: Open Textbooks Gaining in Popularity

Jane Park, September 16th, 2008

There’s been a whole lot of press on open textbooks lately, in addition to my own posts on the Flexbook and the Student PIRGs’ recent report encouraging open source textbooks as the right model for digital textbooks (versus the limited e-books that commercial publishers currently offer). The difference in open source and commercial e-books is wide and deep. Open textbooks are freely editable, downloadable and repurposable by others, keeping with the notion that the search for truth in any academic field is continually being revised, especially in the science and technology fields. The perpetual beta status of knowledge is not just an oxymoron; the old fashioned textbook is simply outdated in this age of lightning fast communications. Furthermore, students and many professors are just not having it anymore.

The New York Times article, “Don’t Buy That Textbook, Download It Free,” features an interview with Cal Tech professor, R. Preston McAfee, who offers his “Introduction to Economic Analysis” online for free. Another article by the LA Times reports best-selling co-author Steven D. Levitt of Freakonomics calling McAfee brilliant. If brilliant minds putting out open textbooks and students buying in (for free and for low-cost print versions on places like Lulu.com and Flatworld Knowledge) are not an indication of a revolution in textbook making, I don’t know what is.

The numbers don’t lie either. Quotes the NY Times on McAfee:

If I had finished my own book, I would have finished a couple years ago,” [McAfee] said. “It would have taken five years. It would have spent five years in print and sold 2,000 copies.” Instead, he said, he posted it on the Web site and there have been 2.8 million page views of his textbook, “Signals and Systems,” including a translation into Spanish.

Wired also quotes a long-timer in the traditional textbook industry, Eric Frank, who is getting with the changing times: “The nice thing about open content is it gives faculty full control, creative control over the content of the book, full control over timing, and it give students a lot more control over how they want to consume it and how much they want to pay”…“On the surface they’re (traditional publishers) doing OK, but underneath the surface there are lots of problems.”

A long-existing and solid promoter of the open textbook is Connexions, an online platform “for collaboratively developing, freely sharing, and rapidly publishing scholarly content on the Web.” Connexions, created by Rice University’s Richard Baraniuk, initiated a new way of thinking about textbooks: 

“Most textbooks are a mass of information in linear format: one topic follows after another. However, our brains are not linear – we learn by making connections between new concepts and things we already know. Connexions mimics this by breaking down content into smaller chunks, called modules, that can be linked together and arranged in different ways. This lets students see the relationships both within and between topics and helps demonstrate that knowledge is naturally interconnected, not isolated into separate classes or books.”

According to the NY Times, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, a staunch supporter of the open educational resources (OER) movement, has granted $6 million to Connexions alone. Connexions licenses all of its content CC BY, the license that allows the greatest sharing capabilities and creativity for education, while still retaining authorship and thereby greater quality in collaborative output.

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Monk Turner Releases New Album Love Story

Cameron Parkins, September 16th, 2008

LA-based multi-instrumentalist and former Featured Commoner Monk Turner released his latest album, Love Story, a little under a week ago for free download on archive.org. The album is released under a CC BY-NC-ND license, making it his fifth album released in this vein, his second this year, and twentieth overall. From Monk Turner:

I wasn’t planning on making another concept album after I recorded my first one. But, somehow 20 albums later here we are. Being that this was going to be the 20th, I wanted to do something special and go beyond making just another album. About three years ago, a friend suggested I write an album of romantic love songs instead of the usual love dilemmas I tend to write about. While this idea excited me, I wanted a 3rd dimension and I thought this would be a great opportunity to take the idea of ‘concept art’ to the next level by including conceptual visual art. After a long search I found Junji Lee as a visual artist who suggested the love songs follow the Buddhist path to enlightenment or 10 Bulls. In typical fashion, the whole album was written in just under 2 weeks and demos were sent out for critique.

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