News

CC & OER 2010

Mike Linksvayer, January 30th, 2010

Earlier this week we announced a reorganization of Creative Commons open education projects. The objective of this reorganization is to maximize CC’s impact by focusing our activities in support of the Open Educational Resources (OER) movement where we have unique leverage and expertise — developing and explaining the legal and technical infrastructure required to make “open” work.

Today’s post lays out the details of our structure going forward and highlights some of our open education projects and goals for 2010. Apologies for the length of this post (and that of the previous announcement), but there’s much to cover. If you just want to hear about new developments as they happen please bookmark or subscribe to the Open Educational Resources tag on this blog or follow us on Facebook, Identi.ca, or Twitter.

Brand and Websites

The ccLearn (sometimes written CC Learn) brand and website are going away. Over the past year we’ve realized two things that fed into this decision. First, the Creative Commons brand is very strong and we need to leverage it wherever we can, including in education and science. While the ccLearn brand has gained recognition among those in the open education community we’ve directly engaged with, we want our impact and visibility to scale far beyond those we talk to directly. Second, separate branding led to a separate website for our open education activities, which essentially meant nobody saw them — last quarter alone the main CC site had 400x more visitors than the ccLearn site.

It will take some time to migrate and rebrand all relevant content, but the net effect is that going forward you can expect to see much more OER-related content and news on the CC home page, main site, and wiki. This is a big win for the open education movement — many more people will learn about OER, and for CC as well — OER may be the single most compelling use of our tools, and one that any member of the public can understand right away. Free access to materials for learning, worldwide — of course!

Resources and Funding

Creative Commons is increasing, not decreasing, its resource commitment to open education projects. The reorganization results in the departure of one staff, but the addition of direct open education project responsibility to several of our most senior staff, including our CEO, Creative Director, CTO, GC, and VP. It’s fair to ask what these people will not be doing now that they have significant new responsibilities. In brief, we get some efficiency gains through less internal communications overhead due to the reorganization and some replication of efforts that both core and ccLearn have pursued in the past. Additionally, we’re doing less pure outreach and outreach-related travel. This is worth an entire post in itself, but the short version is that direct outreach by CC staff now constitutes drops in the ocean of the burgeoning commons movement, so we’re focusing on relationships where an official CC representative is required and implementation could have a major impact. We plan to leverage education experts in our worldwide affiliate network — who are better positioned and more knowledgeable than staff at times — to do more of the direct outreach on behalf of CC. And finally, we’ll be making some support hires to free up more senior staff time for education project management and strategy.

We also think that making OER part of CC’s core messaging and focusing more of our project energy on supporting OER makes CC more attractive to donors — see brand above.


Photo: Cathy Casserly by Joi Ito / CC BY. OER champion Casserly joined the CC board of directors this month.

Team

Following are staff with direct open education responsibilities. All are listed on our organization chart (pdf), which you can always find linked from our people page. Note that all are completely integrated into the organization and that several others have (and always had) supporting roles for OER through as a matter of course in their work running CC’s operations, supporting affiliates, developing software, etc.

Joi Ito, CEO. Joi sets the overall direction of the organization, including our OER strategy. He will be greatly increasing the visibility of CC’s open education projects this year with the public and funders, including via keynoting conferences, writing, and personal appearances. He also has responsibility for leveraging the extensive education expertise of our board of directors and bringing external expertise to a new CC advisory board comprised in part of education experts. Joi will also play a key role in helping CC and OER grow in regions such as the Middle East and Africa — for those in the San Francisco, please come to our salon on February 16 to hear Joi speak on this topic.

Lila Bailey, Counsel, is focused on legal projects supporting OER and is supervised by Diane Peters, General Counsel, who leads the development of CC’s legal tools and overall legal strategy and policy, and will make OER one of the primary drivers in development of upgraded licenses and public domain tools.

Nathan Yergler, CTO, heads CC’s technology team, has direct responsibility for our OER search projects, and was lead developer for DiscoverEd, our OER search prototype. Nathan is currently hiring a software engineer to support further development of DiscoverEd.

Alex Kozak, Program Assistant, does project coordination for our Student Journalism project, works on OER metrics and other analysis, and provides support and documentation for our education-related technology projects. Jane Park, Communications Coordinator does much of our OER-related blogging and interviewing and liaises with both the media and community. Alex and Jane are supervised by Eric Steuer, Creative Director. Eric was CC’s primary representative at education events prior to the formation of ccLearn. In addition to education management responsibilities, Eric will be using experience gained from orchestrating major CC adoptions and improvements across many fields to help OER platforms improve their support for CC tools.

Tim Vollmer, Open Policy Fellow, is primarily responsible for supporting the OER policy community with analysis, explanations, metrics, and case studies concerning the benefits of open licensing for OER. Tim is supervised by Mike Linksvayer, Vice President, who manages CC’s day to day operations and oversees overall OER project planning, and is writing this blog post. If you have questions about CC’s open education projects, feel free to contact Mike at ml@creativecommons.org.

Many of CC’s affiliates are heavily involved in OER projects worldwide. We’ll be featuring many of them over the coming months.

Projects

Following is a sampling of open education projects CC is working on this year.

Legal

  • Licensing and copyright for OER, including its relationship to minors. Especially as OER becomes more prevalent in K-12, consideration must be given to the licensing of works created by minors. Our goal is to provide materials which allow parents, teachers, and learners to use and contribute to OER with confidence by following common-sense best practices, keeping parents and teachers involved.
  • Explanations of all elements of our core legal tools for an education audience.
  • A Continuing Legal Education course module for lawyers on copyright and open licensing that addresses education-specific issues.
  • Development of education use cases to inform the future development of our licenses and public domain tools.
  • Further exploration of copyright exceptions & limitations (including fair use) and OER production.

Technology

  • R&D on metadata, discoverability, provenance for OER — a mouthful, but some of the key challengesopportunities for increased OER adoption and impact.
  • Publications on known best practices for OER metadata.
  • Continued development and support of DiscoverEd, pushing ahead the state of the art for OER search.
  • Consulting on implementations of CC tools on key OER platforms.
  • Convening further in-person and online summits and code sprints concerning OER, discoverability and CC tools.

Social, Media, Policy

  • A new introductory video focusing on CC and OER.
  • A new and continuously updated slide deck for anyone to use and modify for presentation on CC and OER.
  • Further interviews and case studies highlighting the best and brightest implementations and implementers of CC for OER.
  • Analysis of lessons learned from Open Access policy and possible translation to OER policy.
  • Metrics regarding CC and OER adoption.
  • Further analysis of the reasons for heterogeneous copyright policies in online education and a new push for CC adoption and interoperability.
  • Materials for teaching about CC in curricula where open licensing and remix are instructive, e.g., journalism and arts education.

As with staffing resources above, it’s fair to ask what projects we won’t be doing, given that we’ve said we’re focusing our support for open education on projects in which our core legal and technical expertise come to bear. Here are some examples of areas related to open education that we’ve considered or been lobbied to consider involvement in that are outside of our core expertise and therefore out of scope: advising on health privacy and education; translation, formats, and content management systems beyond their support for open licensing and discoverability; direct advocacy and political movement building; advising on pedagogy. This is not a complete list by any means — there is much demand for expertise within the burgeoning open education movement.

We believe that by focusing on legal and technology projects and explanations that further adoption of CC and OER we will make great progress on the in-scope projects above and more in 2010, setting up 2011 to be a breakthrough year for the open education movement. Onward!

4 Responses to “CC & OER 2010”

  1. hemanth.hm says:

    +1 to CC a great move :)

  2. Richard Saunders says:

    Would be useful to have an OER logo that can be dropped into the pages of academic institutions (like libraries and archives) signing on to the standard. Thinking right now of our IR of theses, which gets more traffic than we dreamed.

  3. Tita Beaven says:

    We are currently setting up a repository of OERs for teaching modern languages at the Open University. Some users are a little reluctant to submit their resources under available CC licenses, and would prefer a licence that restricted the use of the material they submit to educational uses only. This is the case, for instance, of authentic resources such as photos of family members, homes, everyday activities etc, great for developing language teaching and learning materials, but which users understandably feel nervous about granting wider rights for. Developing a CC license for educational use only would be really useful. Any thoughts on this?

  4. Jane Park says:

    Hey Tita,

    The idea of a license specific for education is one that has been floating around for a while. However, this idea does not consider the issues (and problems) with defining “educational” in the first place, nor does it address the problems caused by the lack of interoperability that may arise.

    One thing that may help when considering licensing choices is to look at existing institutions and initiatives that are using them. Many open courseware institutions, for example, have chosen a particular license with the concerns your users have expressed.

    Hope this helps,
    Jane