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2009 April

Logo contest for Open Education News blog

Jane Park, April 30th, 2009

The title says it all. From Open Education News:

“In this contest, your task is to design a logo and banner picture for Open Education News.

The blog authors have different backgrounds but something great in common: the passionate belief that Open Educational Resources are a great way to produce quality educational materials that are far more accessible and flexible than traditional, commercial materials.

Open Education News provides readers with a daily dose of the most relevant open education and open educational resources news from around the world.”

The prize for the winning logo are t-shirts from CC’s much coveted schwag collection and the Cape Town Open Education Declaration. So if you are suddenly hit with inspiration during your lunch break tomorrow, read the contest rules and submit a logo by May 31!

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Harvard panel (12/12/08) video now online

Allison Domicone, April 30th, 2009

Photo by dsearls under CC BY-SA

Photo by dsearls under CC BY-SA

As many of you may remember, last December CC paired up with Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society to host a panel discussion entitled, “The Commons: Celebrating accomplishments, discerning futures.” Panelists included James Boyle, The Public Domain; Lawrence Lessig, Remix; Joi Ito, Free Souls; and Molly S. Van Houweling, Creative Commons’ first Executive Director. Jonathan Zittrain, of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, moderated.

A video of the panel discussion is now available at Internet Archive for you to watch and download.

We hope you’ll enjoy the video, which offers an intimate glimpse into CC’s history through the eyes of the people who were there from the beginning. Larry, Molly, Jamie and Joi each recall some wonderful stories and anecdotes from the early days of CC, and offer up new perspectives on where the organization should be headed. It’s a great video that speaks to the importance and relevance of CC as an organization and a leader in the move toward a more participatory culture.

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Davos World Economic Forum’s Photos Under CC-BY-SA

Fred Benenson, April 30th, 2009

Davos Flickr
There’s great news over at the Davos World Economic Forum blog:

We have just uploaded 300 of our best pictures from the Annual Meeting 2009 in Davos to the World Economic Forum’s Flickr account. Admittedly it took us some time to choose the best pictures from the thousands shot by our official photographers from Swiss-Image. My colleague Dafni Kokkidi spent the past week adding descriptions, tags and geo tags to all the photos. But it was well worth it, because these 300 high-resolution portrait shots are available for anyone to download in all sizes. Best of all, these pictures are licensed under the Creative Commons licence (BY-SA 3.0) meaning you can use them for free on your blog, on your website, in print and even for commercial purposes under the condition that you credit the World Economic Forum. We also uploaded the best pictures from our regional summits such as the recent World Economic Forum on Latin America in Rio.

Many of these photos have already made their way over to Wikimedia Commons and Wikipedia, so they’ll probably be making an appearance in your favorite world leader’s article soon. Thanks to Davos for their substantial contribution to the commons!

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Work at CC: Software Engineer

Nathan Yergler, April 30th, 2009

Creative Commons is hiring a software engineer for our technology team, based in San Francisco. The ideal candidate would have experience in a few key areas (Python, Linux, web development) and the ability to learn quickly. Interest in the semantic web doesn’t hurt, either. See the job description for application details. We’ll begin reviewing resumes and scheduling interviews May 15, 2009.

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Funding CC is hard work

Melissa Reeder, April 29th, 2009

Last week an article in the Washington Post casued quite a stir among nonprofits who raise funds online. To Nonprofits Seeking Cash, Facebook App Isn’t So Green says that the “Causes” social network application available on Facebook, MySpace and other social networks hasn’t met expectations. This has provoked a lot of discussion and some deserved criticism of the article in the nonprofit fundraising blogosphere. CC supporter and leading social media expert Beth Kanter has a couple posts that serve as a great place to dive into the discussion if you’re interested.

CC’s experience with the Causes application is in line with most nonprofits mentioned in the WaPo article and subsequent discussion. We’ve raised $2,688 via the application on Facebook and a whole $45 on MySpace. This apparently puts us in the top “tiny fraction” of nonprofits who have used the application and rasied more than $1,000.

However, we don’t consider this a failure at all. Raising funds to support a public good is hard work, online or offline, and there is no magic bullet. It takes time to learn how to most effectively use each new tool. Simply raising money isn’t the only way to gauge the success of a fundraising tool — in fact financial contribution often only follows other forms of engagement. The almost 40,000 people who have “joined” our cause on Facebook have signaled to us (and their friends!) their support, and over the years we hope to earn the financial support of many of these people. Also,we feel it’s pretty important for an organization like Creative Commons to engage deeply with social media tools, because that’s a significant part of the universe we help enable.

We offer a whole range of ways to signal your support of Creative Commons, most importantly by using our licenses. Please explore the best means for you to support CC, and invite your friends to do so as well, on social networks such as Facebook and otherwise. If you can make a financial contribution now, please do so. We’ll ask again during our annual fall campaign!

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Open educational resources and implementation of the U.S. Recovery Act

Jane Park, April 29th, 2009

The U.S. Department of Education’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009: Using ARRA Funds to Drive School Reform and Improvement (warning: Microsoft Word .doc) mentions Open Educational Resources (emphasis added):

Use technology to improve teaching and learning. Purchase and train teachers to use instructional software, technology-enabled white boards, and other interactive technologies that have been shown to be effective aids for instruction, particularly for English language learners, students with disabilities, and both struggling and advanced learners. Use open education resources or purchase high-quality online courseware in core high school content areas.

This may seem like a very weak mention, but in context is a very important step forward for the legitimacy of the OER movement.

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Why Did the White House Choose Attribution and not Public Domain?

Fred Benenson, April 29th, 2009

obama_flickr
The microblogs have been a-buzz this morning about news of the launch of the official White House Flickr stream featuring photos from Obama’s first 100 days in office. While the photos are licensed under our Attribution license, one could make the very strong argument that they’re actually in the public domain and can be used without attribution (though one would have to be careful and respect the personality rights of the private citizens featured in some of the photos). The photos are likely in the public domain because they are works created by the federal government and not entitled to copyright protection. As you might recall, the Whitehouse.gov’s copyright notice indicates as much.

Why would the White House then choose Attribution for their Flickr stream? Simple, unlike communities like Wikipedia and Thingiverse, Flickr doesn’t allow their photographers to choose Public Domain as an option to release their work to the world. So the Obama team must have picked the next best option: Attribution only.

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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!

6 Comments »

CC Talks With: CK-12 Foundation’s Neeru Khosla on Open Textbooks

Jane Park, April 28th, 2009

flexbook-screenshotBack in March, we were so excited about the new Physics Flexbook aligned to Virginia’s state standards that we had to catch up with the foundation that helped to make it possible. The obvious choice was Neeru Khosla, co-founder of the CK-12 Foundation, “a non-profit organization with a mission to reduce the cost of textbook materials for the K-12 market both in the U.S. and worldwide.” The Flexbook is their web-based platform for open textbooks (openly licensed via CC BY-SA) which maximizes and enhances collaboration across district, county, and state lines. In fact, their use is not even limited by country, since CC licenses are global and non-exclusive. Anyone can collaborate, improve, and iterate without having to ask. “The good thing about that is we don’t have to tell people what they can do or cannot do. The power of the system is that it is useable under any condition. All you have to do is use it.”
Read More…

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3 copies left: Joi Ito’s Free Souls

Allison Domicone, April 23rd, 2009

Free Souls Image

A month ago, we announced that Flickr had surpassed 100 million CC licensed photos. In celebration of this milestone, we offered a limited number of Creative Commons CEO Joi Ito’s book, Free Souls, at the $100 donation level and above. There are only three copies left, so now is your chance to support CC and secure a copy of this beautiful limited edition book celebrating a free and open culture of sharing.

Thank you to everyone who has already donated and received the book, and to all of our wonderful supporters who make success stories like the 100 million CC licensed Flickr photos possible!

Update: The last copies of Free Souls are gone! If you’d like to support CC and buy art, Matt Jones’ Get Excited And Make Things prints are still available, or head over to the Support CC site and make a regular donation, with regular (ultracool) CC swag available!

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