OER K-12 Bill Passes in U.S. Washington State

Cable Green, March 1st, 2012

There was exciting open policy news from U.S. Washington State (WA) last evening.

HB 2337 “Regarding open educational resources in K-12 education” passed the Senate (47 to 1) and is on its way back to the House for final concurrence. It already passed the House 88 to 7 before moving to the Senate.

The bill directs the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to support the 295 WA K-12 school districts in learning about and adopting existing open educational resources (OER) aligned with WA and common core curricular standards (e.g., CK-12 textbooks & Curriki). The bill also directs OSPI to “provide professional development programs that offer support, guidance, and instruction regarding the creation, use, and continuous improvement of open courseware.”

The opening section of the bill reads:

  • “The legislature finds the state’s recent adoption of common core K-12 standards provides an opportunity to develop high-quality, openly licensed K-12 courseware that is aligned with these standards. By developing this library of openly licensed courseware and making it available to school districts free of charge, the state and school districts will be able to provide students with curricula and texts while substantially reducing the expenses that districts would otherwise incur in purchasing these materials. In addition, this library of openly licensed courseware will provide districts and students with a broader selection of materials, and materials that are more up-to-date.”

While focus of this bill is to help school districts identify existing high-quality, free, openly licensed, common core state standards aligned resources available for local adoption; any content built with public funds, must be licensed under “an attribution license.”

Representative Reuven Carlyle has been a leader working on open education (including the Open Course Library) in WA for years and has blogged about it: here, here, here and here.

Representative Carlyle introduces HB2337 in the House, followed by Creative Commons’ Director of Global Learning, Cable Green, testifying about the impact of the bill on elementary education in the Senate:

WA is poised to follow the good work of Utah, Brazil, and so many others who have gone before.

This legislature has declared that the status quo — $130M / year for expensive, paper-only textbooks that are, on average, 7-11 years out of date — is unacceptable. WA policy makers instead decided their 1 million+ elementary students deserve better and they have acted.

Congratulations Washington State!

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Learn about CC during Open Education Week

Jessica Coates, March 1st, 2012

As most of you are undoubtedly aware, next week, 5-10 March, is the First Annual Open Education Week – a time set aside each year to celebrate and raise awareness about open education and open educational resources (OER).

How better to spend it than learning how to share OER with CC… and to remind us all that open licenses are core to OER. OER are teaching, learning, and research materials in any medium that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others.

Open education is extremely important to Creative Commons, and vice versa. Educators are some of the strongest CC adopters and proponents, and the majority of OER are under CC licenses. This is particularly the case in areas such as Latin America, Asia and Africa, where the CC and open education communities overlap significantly.

So for our contribution to Open Education Week we want to do something big, productive, and most importantly, global. What better than a worldwide series of multilingual webinars on CC?

Over the course of next week, CC community members from around the work will be running webinars in their own local language around the theme “Introduction to Creative Commons Licenses.” CC webinars are currently being planned by teams from Chile, Israel, Russia, Poland and Korea, as well as CC’s Director of Global Education, Cable Green, here in the US.

So if you’ve always wanted to know more about CC, open education, or how to use copyright resources in the classroom, legally, now is your chance.

But this isn’t the only way to get involved. There are lots of other exciting events planned for Open Education Week. Activities being planned by the CC community alone include a Spanish language webinar on open repositories from CC Colombia, a March 9 Open Education Salon by CC Korea, and many, many others. Participation is open to everyone!

Please join the world in celebrating Open Education Week!
March 5-10, 2012

And a special thanks to our friends at the OpenCourseware Consortium for organizing Open Education Week. Well done!

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CC Salon London: Open Educational Resources — Policies for Promotion

Heidi Chen, February 29th, 2012

Creative Commons, Creative Commons United Kingdom (CC UK) and iCommons Ltd. are pleased to present the next CC Salon London on Thursday, March 29. CC Salon London will feature five panelists discussing the state of open educational resources (OER) and the effect of copyright and other policies on the development of digital tools and content for education. We will close with a period of questions and discussion from the audience. Our five panelists will be:

  • Catherine M. Casserly, CEO, Creative Commons
  • Victor Henning, Co-Founder & CEO, Mendeley Ltd.
  • Naomi Korn, Co-Founder, Web2Rights
  • Patrick McAndrew, OLnet Director, The Open University
  • Amber Thomas, Digital Infrastructure Programme Manager, JISC

CC UK Public Lead Joscelyn Upendran will moderate the panel discussion. This event is free and open to the public; however, advance registration is required. Light refreshments will be provided.

For more information, and to register, visit: http://ccsalonlondon2012.eventbrite.com.

CC would like to give special thanks to Nature Publishing Group for generously hosting this event. Under the leadership of CEO Annette Thomas, a member of the CC Board of Directors, Macmillan’s Nature Publishing Group offers multiple scientific journals under CC BY-NC-SA and CC BY-NC-ND.

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$500 million available in Wave 2 of U.S. Department of Labor grant program for community colleges

Jane Park, February 27th, 2012

Today, the U.S. Department of Labor announced and released a Solicitation for Grant Applications (SGA) for Wave 2 of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program (TAACCCT). Wave 2 makes available $500 million to “eligible institutions of higher education… with funds to expand and improve their ability to deliver education and career training programs that can be completed in two years or less…”

The full announcement, including the SGA, is available at http://www.doleta.gov/grants/Find_grants.cfm, where you can access it as a pdf. As with the first wave of TAACCCT funding, all educational materials created from grant funds must be released under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license. For Wave 2, the CC BY license must also be applied to modifications made to pre-existing, grantee-owned content using grant funds.

The SGA also contains requirements for accessibility (“All online and technology-enabled content and courses developed under this SGA must incorporate the principles of universal design (see http://www.cast.org/udl/)”) and technical standards for digital assets (“All digital assets within online and technology-enabled courses… should be produced to maximize interoperability, exchange and reuse. In addition, all assessments and/or other content that result in a student score or grade must conform to industry-leading e-learning open standards and specifications…”).

As previously mentioned, Creative Commons, along with Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative, CAST, and the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, have been funded by the The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to provide free support to grantees to help them meet these grant requirements. Together, we have formed the Open Professionals Education Network (OPEN), to more effectively help grantees. For more information on OPEN and the free services we will be providing, see http://open4us.org. If you are a Wave 1 grantee, you can also sign up directly for our free services there.

The TAACCCT program supports President Obama’s goal of having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020 by helping to increase the number of workers who attain degrees, certificates, and other industry-recognized credentials. Applications to the solicitation are now open for Wave 2, and are due May 24, 2012.

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Announcing the new Creative Commons 3.0 Ireland suite

Aurelia J. Schultz, February 27th, 2012


Irish Post office wall box, nr Maum, CO. Galway,
Apr 1989 by sludgegulper / CC BY-SA

A hearty congratulations and a huge thanks to the CC Ireland team on the launching of the new suite of Ireland CC licenses! Led by Dr. Darius Whelan and Dr. Louise Crowley, the CC Ireland team worked for a long time to perfect these licenses, and their diligence has paid off. Artists in Ireland can now use a localized version of the most current licenses instead of an older license suite.

You can check out the new licenses through our license chooser and learn more about the CC Ireland team on their wiki page.

Avid readers will have noticed that announcements about 3.0 launches are getting fewer and fewer. Ireland, as one of the long-standing in-progress ports, was one of only a handful of 3.0 ports remaining. We hope to announce the launch of the rest within the next few months, before the launch of the new 4.0 license suite. Comments and input on the 4.0 licenses are very welcome!

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Act now to support public access to federally funded research

Timothy Vollmer, February 14th, 2012

Last week the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA) was reintroduced with bipartisan support in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate. According to SPARC, the bill would “require federal agencies to provide the public with online access to articles reporting on the results of the United States’ $60 billion in publicly funded research no later than six months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal.” If passed, the legislation would extend the current NIH Public Access Policy (with a shorter embargo) to other US government-funded research, including agencies such as the Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy, NASA, the National Science Foundation, and others. FRPAA was first introduced in 2006.

Unlike the Research Works Act, FRPAA would ensure that the public has access to the important scientific and scholarly research that it pays for. Creative Commons recently wrote to the White House asking that taxpayer funded research be made available online to the public immediately, free-of-cost, and ideally under an open license that communicates broad downstream use rights, such as CC BY. While FRPAA–like the NIH Public Access Policy before it–does not require the application of open licenses to the scientific research outputs funded with federal tax dollars, it is a crucial step toward increasing public access to research.

SPARC has issued an action alert, and there are several specific actions you can take in support of FRPAA. On this 10th anniversary of the Budapest Open Access Initiative, please voice your support that the public needs and deserves access to the research it paid for and upon which its education depends.

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CC News: Vimeo adds CC browse and search capabilities

Jane Park, February 14th, 2012

Stay up to date with CC news by subscribing to our weblog and following us on Twitter.

Happy Valentine’s Day! See below for latest CC developments in culture, policy, education—and more!

Vimeo adds CC browse and search capabilities

Vimeo has revamped their platform for video creators and users, including the creation of a Creative Commons landing page where you can browse and search for videos by CC license! We were thrilled when Vimeo enabled the CC license suite in July of 2010; we are even more thrilled that the Vimeo team has since recognized the community’s needs to easily discover high quality CC-licensed videos. Blake Whitman, Vimeo’s VP of Creative Development, says, “We know the many ways in which sharing can positively impact creativity. As such, we will continue to build features that enable people to exchange ideas, and that support the Vimeo community’s growing demand for creative sharing. Our partnership with Creative Commons is the backbone of this commitment.“ Read more.

Creative Commons and Policy

We have been incredibly busy in the policy realm, opposing SOPA/PIPA, along with many other excellent organizations, companies, and individuals. Here are a few of our policy activities over the past month: We joined 9 organizations in a letter to U.S. Congress opposing the Research Works Act (pdf); we submitted comments to the White House Inquiries on Public Access to Publicly Funded Research Publications and Data; and we are an institutional member of COMMUNIA, which released a short policy document in reaction to the European Commission’s proposed amendments to its Directive on the reuse of public sector information.

Creative Commons in Education

We are no less busy in education, where we are gearing up to celebrate Open Education Week! Find out how you can contribute. In addition: The final comment period for the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative concluded on January 31. Let us know if you want to be an early adopter! The Saylor Foundation announced the winners of its Open Textbook Challenge, where all textbooks will be released under CC Attribution. (The extended deadline for the second wave and $20,000 in awards is May 31.) And the U.S. Utah State Office of Education announced that it would develop and support open textbooks, and encourage its districts and schools to adopt them beginning this fall (pdf).

In other news:

  • Thanks to everyone who supported us during our 2011 Annual Campaign! With its official end on January 15, we can now start gearing up for the 10th birthday of the CC license suite later this year. Get ready to celebrate not only CC, but openness everywhere!
  • We released a new set of FAQs on Data. We hope this new resource will be useful to those of you grappling with data licensing and helps to clarify how our licenses operate in practice.
  • The Venezuelan adaptation of the BY-NC-SA 3.0 license draft is in public discussion.
  • The Open Knowledge Foundation published a nifty guide on the basics of Finding Interesting Public Domain Works Online under CC BY.
  • A new pilot project between Creative Commons, Creative Commons’ legal affiliate in France, and the French collecting society SACEM allows SACEM members to license their works under one of the three non-commercial CC 3.0 licenses.
  • Arts Engine‘s 12th annual Media That Matters Festival is now accepting new entries for short films.
  • Lastly, several key job opportunities are still open at CC: Chief Technology Officer and Senior Accountant.
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Vimeo adds CC browse and search capabilities

Jane Park, February 14th, 2012

Vimeo has revamped their platform for video creators and users, including the creation of a Creative Commons landing page where you can browse and search for videos by CC license!

From http://vimeo.com/new:

“Our members love using Creative Commons licenses to rework, remix, and reimagine, which is why we built a whole new section to help you discover videos available with Creative Commons licenses. Browse and search millions of videos categorized by license type and learn about what you can (and can’t) do with other people’s videos on Vimeo.”

We were thrilled when Vimeo enabled the CC license suite in July of 2010; we are even more thrilled that the Vimeo team has since recognized the community’s needs to easily discover high quality CC-licensed videos. Blake Whitman, Vimeo’s VP of Creative Development, says,

“We know the many ways in which sharing can positively impact creativity. As such, we will continue to build features that enable people to exchange ideas, and that support the Vimeo community’s growing demand for creative sharing. Our partnership with Creative Commons is the backbone of this commitment.

Not only will this development help video creators and users everywhere, it will also help to improve our metrics on CC-licensed works on the web and assess their impact, so we can better help CC creators and users everywhere.

Three cheers to Vimeo! Check out the CC Vimeo portal — which anyone who has a Vimeo account can access by upgrading to the new Vimeo — at http://vimeo.com/creativecommons. Learn about out all new Vimeo features and changes at http://vimeo.com/new.

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Contribute to the Venezuelan 3.0 Licenses

Aurelia J. Schultz, February 2nd, 2012

The Venezuelan 3.0 license draft is open for public discussion!

We welcome all those who are interested to view the Venezuela BY-NC-SA draft and contribute their comments this month. The next step for the Venezuela team will be to incorporate changes from the public discussion and to prepare the remaining five licenses for a complete Venezuela 3.0 license suite.

A huge thank you to CC’s Venezuelan Affiliate, Centro Nacional de Tecnologías de Información (CNTI) and to the CC Venezuela Team led by John Piñango for all their hard work!

A reminder to all that Creative Commons is wrapping up the 3.0 porting process. There will be a few more public discussion announcements as the last remaining ports enter this stage. The 4.0 development process is well underway. Contributions can be made at http://wiki.creativecommons.org/4.0.

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COMMUNIA’s response to the proposed amendments to PSI Directive

Timothy Vollmer, February 2nd, 2012

This post is an adaptation from the COMMUNIA International Association blog and is cross-posted at the Open Knowledge Foundation website. Creative Commons and the Open Knowledge Foundation are institutional members of COMMUNIA. The mission of COMMUNIA is to educate about, advocate for, offer expertise and research about the public domain in the digital age within society and with policymakers.

The European Commission Public Sector Information Directive, which describes the conditions under which European public sector information (PSI) should be made available for reuse by the public, has been in place since 2003. PSI ranges from digital maps to weather data to traffic statistics, and there’s a lot of potential value in making PSI available for reuse for commercial and non-commercial purposes – up to €140bn. The EC says that increasing the reuse of PSI can generate new businesses and jobs – and to this end is planning to update its nine-year-old Directive. The COMMUNIA International Association last week released a short policy document (PDF) in reaction to the to the European Commission’s (EC) proposals, which the OKF’s Daniel Dietrich presented at the LAPSI conference in Brussels to a positive and interested audience.

To give a bit of background: in December 2011 the EC published a proposal (PDF) to update the PSI Directive. The Open Knowledge Foundation already covered the basics of the Commission announcement. The COMMUNIA document draws attention to two areas where these proposals still need improvement: firstly regarding the conditions for re-use of public sector information that falls within the scope of the Directive; and secondly regarding public domain content that is held by libraries, museums and archives.

Conditions for re-use of public sector information

From the perspective of COMMUNIA the way the amended Directive addresses licensing of public sector content remains underdeveloped and as such has the potential to create diverging and potentially incompatible implementations among the Member states. The article of the amended Directive dealing with licensing mentions “standard licenses,” but does not sufficiently clarify what should be considered to be a standard license, and encourages the development of open government licenses. Instead of recommending the use and creation of more licenses, COMMUNIA suggests that the Commission should consider advocating the use of a single open license that can be applied across the entire European Union. Such licenses (stewarded by the Open Knowledge Foundation and Creative Commons) already exist and are widely used by a broad spectrum of data and content providers.

Public Domain Content held by libraries, museums and archives

COMMUNIA is supportive of the Commission’s suggested change to include cultural heritage institutions into the scope of the amended Directive. Access to and re-use of PSI has been one of the issues that has featured prominently in the work of COMMUNIA. For instance, the EC’s amendments to the Directive are aligned with COMMUNIA’s January 2011 policy recommendation #13, which states, “The PSI Directive needs to be broadened, by increasing its scope to include publicly funded memory organisations – such as museums or galleries – and strengthened by mandating that Public Sector Information will be made freely available for all to use and re-use without restriction.”


The South Prospect of the Cathedral of St. Pauls / gallica.bnf.fr/Bibliotheque nationale de France / Public Domain

Including such content under the purview of the Directive will improve citizens’ access to our shared knowledge and culture and should increase the amount of digitized cultural heritage that is available online. But, while the amended Directive makes it clear that documents held by cultural heritage institutions in which there are no third party intellectual property rights will be re-usable for commercial or noncommercial purposes, it does not address the largest category of works held by cultural heritage institutions — those that are not covered by intellectual property rights at all because those works are in the public domain. COMMUNIA thinks that explicitly including public domain content held by libraries, museums and archives in the re-use obligation of the amended PSI Directive will strengthen the Commission’s position with regard to access and re-use of public domain content.

The full COMMUNIA association reaction to the EC’s proposal to amend Directive 2003/98/EC on re-use of public sector information can be downloaded here (PDF).

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