On April 8 & 9, 2013 BCcampus hosted, and Creative Commons facilitated, an Open Textbook Summit in Vancouver British Columbia Canada. The Open Textbook Summit brought together government representatives, student groups, and open textbook developers in an effort to coordinate and leverage open textbook initiatives.
BC Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology (AEIT)
Alberta Enterprise & Advanced Education
The 20 Million Minds Foundation
Washington Open Course Library
University of Minnesota Open Textbook Catalogue
Open Courseware Consortium
Student Public Interest Research Groups
Right to Research Coalition
Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA)
California and British Columbia recently announced initiatives to create open textbooks for high enrollment courses. Susan Brown in her welcoming remarks on behalf of the Deputy Minister of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology noted the Open Textbook Summit was “a unique opportunity to share information about the work underway in our respective jurisdictions and organizations to capitalize on lessons learned; to identify common areas of interest; and to discover potential opportunities for collaboration. The real power of a project like this is only realized by working together.”
On the summit’s first day the BC government announced it was “Moving to the next chapter on free online textbooks” releasing a list of the 40 most highly enrolled first and second-year subject areas in the provincial post-secondary system.
Over the course of the summit participants identified existing open textbooks that could be used for BC’s high enrollment courses. Development plans for creating additional open textbooks were mapped out. Strategies for academic use of open textbooks were discussed ranging from open textbooks for high enrollment courses to zero textbook degree programs where every course in a credential has an open textbook.
Open textbook developers described the tools they are using for authoring, editing, remixing, repository storage, access, and distribution. Participants discussed the potential for creating synergy between initiatives through use of common tools and processes.
Measures of success, including saving students money and improved learning outcomes, were shared and potential for a joint open textbook research agenda explored. The summit concluded with suggestions from all participants on ways to collaborate going forward. David Porters recommendation of an ongoing Open Textbook Federation was enthusiastically endorsed.
Mary Burgess created a Google group called The Open Textbook Federation for further conversations and collaborations. This group is open to anyone currently working on, or thinking of working on, an Open Textbook Project. Notes from the Open Textbook Summit are posted online. Clint Lalonde created a Storify of the Twitter conversation captured during the summit.
The Open Textbook Summit was an incredible day and a half of learning. The sharing of insights, experiences, hopes, and ideas left everyone energized with a commitment to join together in a cross-border federation that collaborates on open textbooks.2 Comments »
Creative Commons strongly believes in the respect of copyright and the wishes of content creators. That’s why CC has created a range of legal tools that rely in part on copyright to enable our vision of a shared commons of creative and intellectual works.
But when creators’ rights come at the expense of a usable internet, everyone suffers for it. Over the past 15 years, various companies have started using mechanisms to limit the ways in which users can use their content. These digital rights management (DRM) techniques make the internet less usable for everyone. CC believes that no DRM system is able to account for the full complexity of the law, since they create black-and-white situations where legally there is wiggle room (such as for fair use, for example). This failing causes DRM to limit consumer freedoms that would otherwise be permitted, and that can create very real harm to consumers. Examples abound, but a recent one can be seen in this report on how DRM and the DMCA have seriously limited the ability of the visually impaired to have access to e-books they can use over the past 15 years.
The W3C recently published a draft proposal that would make DRM a part of HTML5. While CC applauds efforts to get more content distributed on the web, DRM does more harm than good. In addition to limiting consumer freedoms, it’s not at all clear this proposal would even be effective in curbing piracy. Given the proposal’s architecture, it will cause dependence on outside components which will not be a part of the standardized web. A standardized web is essential to allow anyone to participate in it without locking them into giving any one player a say on what proprietary device, software, or technology they need to use. The proposal opens up exactly such a dependency: it allows web pages to require specific proprietary software or hardware to be installed. That a dangerous direction for the web, because it means that for many real-life uses it will be impossible to build end-to-end open systems to render web content.
Read EFF’s post on defending the open web from DRM for more details on the proposal, history, threat. Get the facts and, if you’re interested, sign the Free Software Foundation’s petition to oppose DRM in web standards.No Comments »
Last week a researcher and educator by the name of David Liao contacted our team at Creative Commons about open courseware he had created, which we tweeted:
— creativecommons (@creativecommons) March 25, 2013
I sat down last Wednesday to speak with David about his course, motivations for using a CC-license, and about other challenges in scholarly communication and education that are being changed by new ways of “open.” He’s created a set of videos and curriculum titled A Mathematical Way to Think about Biology, released under a CC BY-SA license. David, an Analyst with the University of California, SF and a member of the Princeton Physical Sciences-Oncology Network, recognized that quantitative research is fundamental to hard science disciplines, but there are few openly licensed training resources on these methods that can translate to Biology as well as other non-scientific fields.
Already a proponent of Open Access (OA) to research publications, David sums up his view on how principles of OA can be applied to education:
”Speaking loosely along the same lines of sentiment [of Open Access], it is likewise preferable to release, as free cultural works, both scientific literature and the instructional materials by virtue of which that literature becomes readable.”
As David explained, there is a gap between the highly-technical aspects of training future researchers and the practical resources available; one that he hopes to begin to fill by making his materials available online. He has developed more than ten learning modules ranging from fundamental mathematical concepts of algebra and geometry to more complex areas of spatially-resolved models and cellular automata, all described in ways that apply to the biological sciences. The slide decks and tutorial videos have all been released under a CC BY-SA license, which allows reuse and remixing the content, so long as any adapted content carries the same copyleft license. David’s content has been structured as a course, is available on the Udemy online learning platform and has had nearly one thousand participants use the material.
An advocate of many things Open for some time, our conversation shifted from OER to OA. David offered his take on Open Access and how scholarly communication has reached a point where tools like CC licenses are needed to maintain progress in a digital age.
“Ten years ago, when it came to negotiating legal matters around copyright and intellectual property, we would need to be able to do some serious Jiu-Jitsu, and likely involve a team of lawyers. Creative Commons [licenses] makes this communication so much easier.”
By making his content available on the web and applying a CC license to his work, David has taken steps to not only make his educational media openly accessible, but also explicitly describe how others can reuse his work. A longstanding problem in defining the core characteristics of “open”, digital media that is freely accessible but does not allow for reuse or remixing is often confused with open content. David has been pleased to see learners using the materials in his course, as well as having had fellow college professors contact him about using his content to supplement their own teaching. When asked about his thoughts on others who likely will be remixing and building upon his learning content, David welcomed it fully, and is interested to have others to contact with links to derivative works.
A case study on the CC Wiki for A Mathematical Approach to Biology can be found here.No Comments »
The Students for Free Culture conference will take place in New York City April 20-21. The conference–dubbed FCX 2013–will be held at New York Law School.
The Students for Free Culture Conference is an annual gathering of student and non-student activists, thinkers, and innovators who are dedicated to advancing discussions on technology, law, and public policy. Through panels and keynote speakers, FCX 2013 will focus on current issues in intellectual property law, open access to educational resources, maker culture, and technology policy. Through workshops, the conference will revisit the core pillars of the free culture movement, examine the success stories from our movement, and identify new ways in which Students for Free Culture can advocate for a more free, open, and participatory digital environment.
Longtime SFC member Benjamin Mako Hill (who will be giving the opening keynote) says: “If previous years are any indication, the conference can serve as an incredible introduction to free culture, free software, wikis, remixing, copyright, patent and trademark reform, and participatory culture. For folks that are already deeply involved, FCX is among the best places I know to connect with other passionate, creative, people working on free culture issues.”No Comments »
Creative Commons congratulates all those who participated in the second annual Open Education Week March 11-15, 2013. It’s impressive to see how global open education has become with contributors from over 30 different countries showcasing their work and more than 20,000 people from over 130 countries visiting the Open Education Week website during the week. Open Education Week featured over 60 webinars open to participation from anyone and numerous local events and workshops around the world.
We thought we’d highlight a few Creative Commons global affiliate events from Open Education Week and share a list of urls for Open Education Week webinar recordings the Open Courseware Consortium has published.
The Creative Commons China Mainland team successfully held an Open Education Forum on the afternoon of March 16th at Renmin University of China, Beijing. One highlight of this salon worth special attention is the Toyhouse team from Tsinghua University led by Prof. Benjamin Koo, and their recent project eXtreme Learning Process (XLP). This team is a inspiring example of innovative learning, and a user of CC licenses and OER.
Tobias Schonwetter, Creative Commons regional coordinator for Africa gave an Open Education for Africa presentation explaining why Creative Commons is so important for Open Educational Resources.
The School of Open launched with:
- 17 courses, including 4 facilitated courses and 13 stand-alone courses (for participants to take at their own pace).
- ~15 course organizers, affiliated with several organizations/initiatives, including: the National Copyright Office of Australia; University of Michigan’s Open.Michigan; Kennisland/CC Netherlands; Communicate OER, a Wikipedia initiative; Open Video Forum (xm:lab, Academy of Fine Arts Saar); Jamlab (a high school mentorship program in Kenya); Wikimedia Germany and CC Germany
These are just the tip of the rich global discourse that took place during Open Education Week. All webinars during Open Education Week were recorded, with links listed below. You can also view the videos directly on the Open Education Week YouTube channel and on the Open Education Week website, under events and webinars.
Monday, March 11
· Building Research Profile and Culture with Open Access
· Learners orchestrating their own learning
· Learning Innovations and Learning Quality: The future of open education and
free digital resources
· Näin käytät ja teet avoimia sisältöjä /How to use and create open content
· New global open educational trends: policy, learning design and mobile
· The multiple facets of Openness in #udsnf12
· Licencias Creative Commons para recursos educativos, ¿que son? ¿como usarlas?
· Designing OER with Diversity In Mind
· وسائل تعليمية تشاركية : تطوير الوسائل التعليمية تشاركيًا باستخدام أداة الابتكار ومنصة سكراتش البرمجية
· Driving Adoptions of OER Through Communities of Practice
· Khan Academy: Personalized learning experiences
· Good practices on open content licensing
Tuesday, March 12
· OCW in the European Higher Education Context: How to make use of its full
potential for virtual mobility
· OLDS MOOC Grand finale (final convergence session)
· Äidinkielestä riippumaton suomen kielen opetus
· Opening Up Education
· CourseSites by Blackboard: A Free, Hosted, Scalable Platform for Open
· Xpert Search Engine and the Xpert Image Attribution Service
· Capacitación para la educación abierta: OportUnidad en Latinoamérica
· Language learning independent of mother language
· Interactive Learning with Wolfram Technologies
· Collaborative Boldly Confronts Licensing Issues
· Buenas prácticas en el uso de licencias para contenidos abiertos
Wednesday, March 13
· The interaction, co-construction and sharing of Netease Open Courses
· Who is using your OCW site?
· Políticas nacionales de Acceso Abierto en Argentina
· Open Policy Network: seeking community input
· OER Commons Green: A Unique Lens on Open Environmental Education
· Creative Commons 4.0 Licenses: What's New for Education?
· How Community Colleges are Innovating with Open Educational Resources
· P2PU: A Showcase of Open Peer Learning
Thursday, March 14
· Open Access policy development at the University of Pretoria: the why, what
· What you can learn from the UKOER experience
· Why Open Access is Right for the World Bank
· What's behind Open Education? A philosophical insight
· Utilizing OER to Create a Pathway Towards an Affordable Degree
· Toolkit Working Group: Tools to help users discover the content they need (1)
· Learning toys for free: Collaborative educational tools development using
MakeyMakey and SCRATCH platforms
· Teach Syria: The Impact of Teaching Global to Today's Youth
· Re-Creative Commons
· Validating the Learning Obtained through Open Educational Resources
· OER and Alternative Certification Models: An Analysis Framework
· The Open Educational Resources in Brazil as an Instrument to Get Access to
Qualification, The Government Role at OERs Creation & FGV and
São Paulo State Case Studies
Friday, March 15
· Open Education for Africa
· National policies of Open Access to scientific outputs in Argentina
· Re-thinking Developmental Education: Creating a STEM Bridge in the National
· Toolkit Working Group: Tools to aid and encourage use of OERs in teaching
· Crowd-sourced Open Courseware Authoring with SlideWiki.org
· Using OER to reduce student cost and increase student learning
· What's next? An open discussion about open education
· OpenStax College Textbooks: Remixable by Design
· An OER Editor for the Rest of Us
Kudos to the OCW Consortium for organizing this event. We look forward to next years.No Comments »
The Global Summit is Creative Commons’ biannual gathering of CC friends and family. In 2013 it will be held from 21-24 August in Buenos Aires, co-hosted by our local Creative Commons affiliates, Fundación Vía Libre and Wikimedia Argentina.
Attendees to the Summit will discuss strategies to strengthen Creative Commons and its worldwide community, learn about the latest developments in the commons movement worldwide, and showcase local and international projects that use Creative Commons licenses. It’s a great place to meet and present your ideas to the broader Creative Commons and open community. Most importantly, this will be our first ever Summit with a dedicated Spanish-language program.
We encourage anyone with something interesting to say about the present and future of the commons to apply. A Programming Committee consisting of members of the CC community will make the final decision on the program.
You have until 24 May to submit a session for the Summit. Submission forms and a more detailed explanation of the process can be found on our Global Summit wiki.
La Cumbre Mundial es la reunión de bianual de la comunidad de Creative Commons. En 2013 se llevará a cabo del 21 a 24 de agosto en Buenos Aires, co-organizado por nuestros afiliados locales de Creative Commons, Fundación Vía Libre y Wikimedia Argentina.
Los asistentes a la cumbre discutirán las estrategias para fortalecer Creative Commons y su comunidad en todo el mundo, aprender sobre los últimos acontecimientos en el movimiento mundial de bienes comunes, y mostrar los proyectos locales e internacionales que utilizan las licencias Creative Commons. Es un lugar ideal para reunirse y presentar sus ideas a la comunidad más amplia de Creative Commons. Más importante aún, esta será nuestra primera Cumbre con un apartado en español en el programa.
Animamos a aplicar a cualquier persona que tenga algo interesante para decir sobre el presente y el futuro de los bienes comunes. Un comité de programación integrado por miembros de la comunidad de Creative Commons tomará la decisión final sobre el diseño del programa.
La fecha límite para la presentación de sesiones y charlas es el 24 de mayo. En nuestro wiki se puede encontrar información más detallada sobre el proceso y formas de presentación, así como un espacio abierto a propuestas para la Cumbre.3 Comments »
Creative Commons is looking for a senior software engineer. This hire will play a key role in building the next generation of Creative Commons technology. From the job description:
We’re looking for a Senior Software Engineer to join us in creating next generation products and services that enable sharing, curating, remixing, and collaborating on open content.
The Senior Software Engineer is a full-time position reporting to the Director of Product Strategy, and works closely with the rest of the Products & Technology team, including other developers and user experience designers, as well as Creative Commons staff and community volunteers.
This is a rare opportunity to join a brand new team at the ground level. Bring a start-up mentality and lots of energy to build delightful product experiences and help shape the commons to the benefit of everyone.
If that sounds exciting to you, we’d love to hear from you. Check out the full job listing for more information.1 Comment »
Arizona Phoenix College math instructor James Sousa has been teaching math for 15 years at both the community college and K-12 levels. Over the years, he has developed more than 2,600 video tutorials on topics from arithmetic to calculus, and made these videos available on YouTube, originally under a CC BY-NC-SA license. His website and videos, entitled, Mathispower4u, feature both math lessons and examples, and many of the videos have been incorporated into online homework questions available at MyOpenMath.com.
Recently, James decided to change the license on his videos from CC BY-NC-SA to CC BY, or Creative Commons Attribution. He writes,
“Originally, the videos were licensed CC BY-NC-SA. However, the reason for creating these videos was to help students be more successful in mathematics. To increase student access and more easily share this resource with others, I decided to make the videos more open and change the license to CC BY. I hope the videos will provide a quality math tutorial resource to many.”
Mathispower4u videos may be accessed in several ways, including through James’ website, blog, YouTube account, and Phoenix College’s video database. Thanks to James for his great contribution to open education and the field of mathematics!5 Comments »
Palestinian-born Syrian software engineer Bassel Khartabil is the winner of this year’s Index on Censorship Digital Freedom Award, sponsored by Google. Khartabil is a free internet pioneer who has spent his career advancing open source technologies. On March 15, 2012, he was illegally imprisoned in Syria. His family were given no official information about why or where he was detained but have since learnt that he is being held at the security branch of Kafer Sousa, Damascus.
Index CEO Kirsty Hughes said, “Following courageous and peaceful protests in 2011, Syria descended into violence with appalling attacks on civilians across the country — and with over 60,000 people killed over the last two years. Up until his arrest last March, Bassel Khartabil bravely continued to work for a cause he passionately believes in — an open and free internet that is available to all. In a country torn apart by violence, he is a brave advocate for peaceful change.”
Bassel’s friend Dana Trometer, who is collecting the Index award on his behalf said, “Bassel deserves to be out of jail celebrating his real freedom and digital freedom. On this Mother’s day in most of the Arab World, and as a mother myself, my heart goes out to Bassel’s Mom. Bassel is a kind and gentle friend. A loving husband and son. He did not fear being targeted as he knew his love for Syria would save him from being persecuted by the authorities. Bassel is aware of this award and he would like to thank the judges and audience for trusting him with such an honour. He would also like to pay respect to all the victims of the struggle for freedom of speech, and, especially for those non-violent youths who refused to carry arms and deserve all the credit for this award.”
Another close friend of Bassel’s, Jon Phillips, stated, “Lock-up, Lock-out fails. Locking-up Bassel, only locks-out his personal freedom. By locking-up Bassel, his Syrian captors are accidentally locking-out themselves from the future. From launching Creative Commons Syria, building the Arabic Wikipedia and bringing internet leaders to Syria, he knew that his free participation in global web communities required concrete contributions locally. For these acts would make Syria a better place. One year later, Bassel is under harsh lock-down. Now, thousands of people that Bassel’s work helped, now help him by spreading the message #FREEBASSEL. This is what truly builds Syria and connects it to the global connected future. This award proves that his lock-up, is NOT a lock-out of his digital freedom.”
Bassel is known worldwide for his strong commitment to the open web, teaching others about technology, and contributing his experience freely to help the world. Bassel is the inventor of an open source software that powers the Open Clip Art Library. He is an original contributor to the Arabic Wikipedia and launched Creative Commons Syria. He is well known in online technical communities as a dedicated volunteer to major Internet projects like Creative Commons, Mozilla Firefox, Wikipedia, Open Clip Art Library, and Fabricatorz.No Comments »
Today, U.S. Register of Copyright Maria Pallante stood before Congress to say: we need a new copyright law. Pallante’s prepared remarks (127 KB PDF) to the U.S. House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet called for “bold adjustments” to U.S. copyright law.
This is a most welcome aspiration. A strong push for copyright reform is currently occurring around the world through domestic reviews and in international fora like WIPO — coming both from those wanting increased recognition of user rights and those calling for tighter author controls. With the United States one of the leading nations advocating for stronger copyright protection through treaties such as ACTA and the TPP, the international community will be closely observing any movement in U.S. domestic law.
Seal of the United States Copyright Office / Public Domain
In addition to several meaningful reform ideas — including shortening the copyright term itself, alterations to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and making revisions to exceptions and limitations for libraries and archives — we’re happy to see that the Register is highlighting the crucial need to expand and protect the public domain. Some of the most compelling work undertaken by Creative Commons and others in the open community has to do with increasing the accessibility and value of the public domain. We hope a more positive public domain agenda can become ingrained into the foundations of U.S. copyright policy. The central question: Can the United States devise a better system for both authors and the public interest in an environment where technology and social norms are increasingly disconnected from an aging copyright law?
Pallante said, “[A]uthors do not have effective protections, good faith businesses do not have clear roadmaps, courts do not have sufficient direction, and consumers and other private citizens are increasingly frustrated.” However, there is no doubt that public copyright licenses are offering a substantial and effective counter to some of these pains — even noted by Ms. Pallante in her longer lecture at Columbia University titled The Next Great Copyright Act (337 KB PDF), “[S]ome [authors] embrace the philosophy and methodology of Creative Commons, where authors may provide advance permission to users or even divest themselves of rights.” CC licenses and public domain instruments are right now helping alleviate frustration with copyright for all — individuals, businesses, institutions, governments — who opt in to using public licenses and licensed works.
Indeed, public licenses are easy-to-use tools for communities that wish to share their creativity on more flexible terms. And when millions of motivated creators share under public copyright licenses like CC, they create great and lasting things (hello Wikipedia). Public copyright licenses shine brightly in the light of Pallante’s telling reflection: “If one needs an army of lawyers to understand the precepts of the law, then it is time for a new law.”
At the same time, the existence of open copyright licenses shouldn’t be interpreted as a substitute for robust copyright reform. Quite the contrary. The decrease in transaction costs, increase in collaboration, and massive growth of the commons of legally reusable content spurred on by existence of public licenses should drastically reinforce the need for fundamental change, and not serve as a bandage for a broken copyright system. If anything, the increase in adoption of public licenses is a bellwether for legislative reform — a signal pointing toward a larger problem in need of a durable solution.
We and the rest of the international community are looking forward to seeing what Pallante and Congress have in mind when they continue the discussion after today. In her oral testimony, Ms. Pallante said, “Copyright is about the public interest.” We hope that the public interest has a seat at the table, with room both for open content licensing and positive legislative reform. The existence of CC licenses does not limit the need for reform. Open licenses help forward-thinking people and institutions to live and thrive in the digital age now, and illuminate the roadmap for beneficial reform to come. Let us begin.1 Comment »