Commons News

India launches National Repository of Open Educational Resources

Jane Park, August 14th, 2013

nroerlogo

India has launched a new learning repository for open educational resources (OER). India’s Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, and the Central Institute of Educational Technology, National Council of Educational Research and Training have collaboratively developed the National Repository of Open Educational Resources (NROER). Dr. Pallam Raju, India’s Minister for Human Resource Development, launched the repository on Tuesday, and Dr. Shashi Tharoor, India’s Minister of State for Human Resource Development, announced the repository’s default license for all resources — Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA).

The repository currently includes videos, audio, interactive media, images, and documents, and aims to “bring together all digital and digitisable resources for the [Indian] school system – for all classes, for all subjects and in all languages.”

From Dr. Tharoor’s announcement,

This initiative is also a significant step towards inclusive education. Opening access to all requires a debate on the issue of ownership, copyright, licensing and a balancing of reach with legitimate commercial interests. This is particularly important for public institutions and public funded projects. I am glad that the NCERT has taken the initiative of declaring that the NROER will carry the CC-BY-SA license… This decision by NCERT is in tune with UNESCO’s Paris Declaration on Open Education Resources and will ensure that all the resources are freely accessible to all. To put it in the language of the Creative Commons — to reuse, revise, remix and redistribute.

To contribute to the repository, one must ensure that they are “agreeing to host the resources under a Creative Commons license” (CC BY-SA) and “that the documents uploaded are encoded using non-proprietary, open standards.” To learn more about contributing your OER, visit http://nroer.in/Contribute/.

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Welcome CC United States affiliate team

Jessica Coates, August 13th, 2013

US Navy 060417-N-8157C-162 The American flag flies prominently during the World Patriot Tour performance at Hickam Air Force Base
By U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Dennis Cantrell [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

We’re happy to welcome the CC United States (CC US) affiliate to the Creative Commons family. The hub for CC US will be located at the American University Washington College of Law’s Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property in Washington, D.C.

CC US team members bring considerable legal and policy expertise to the table. CC US has initial plans to focus on education and outreach on CC licensing for open educational resources at the K-12 and community college levels. This area has seen significant activity in the United States over the last several years, most notably with the Department of Labor’s $2 billion grant program for the creation of worker retraining materials under open licenses. In addition, CC US will help improve the understanding of limitations and exceptions to copyright, including the US-specific concept of fair use. For more information, check out the CC US roadmap.

You might be asking, isn’t Creative Commons already active in the United States? The answer is yes. At the same time, there’s never been a formal CC US affiliate team like there is for the rest of the CC community. Creative Commons was established as a U.S.-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation in 2001, and the headquarters office has historically served the de facto US affiliate. During the 3.0 license development process, Creative Commons relied on a temporary relationship with the Berkman Center for Internet & Society to provide legal support for the 3.0 release, at which time the generic licenses were reworked to more adequately align with international treaties as opposed to United States copyright law. It’s become increasingly apparent over the last few years that interest in Creative Commons in the United States — whether in the cultural, education, government, data and other sectors — has grown beyond the organizational capacity of the headquarters staff. So, by formalizing CC US, we can empower the growth of advocates working on U.S.-centric issues around CC and copyright while simultaneously freeing up capacity for the headquarters office to focus on organization-wide activities and strategic opportunities.

CC US will host a launch party on October 17, 2013. The event will run from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C. Welcome aboard CC US!

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How Boundless uses CC licenses

Cable Green, August 8th, 2013

Boundless_Logo_TextSide

As the open educational resources (OER) movement continues to grow, students and educators alike can benefit from openly licensed content. The use of Creative Commons licenses in education has allowed learning resources to travel farther, reach more people, and be repurposed to meet local needs.

I recently spoke with Ariel Diaz, CEO of Boundless learning about how his company utilizes Creative Commons CC licenses. This is a summary of our conversation.

So how does Boundless use Creative Commons licenses?

“Creating high quality textbooks is no easy task. It would have been impossible for Boundless to create close to 20 subjects worth of open textbooks without the availability of openly licensed content. While we can also use information that is in the public domain, the license on the content we predominantly use is called Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA). CC BY-SA allows us to tweak and build upon the work of others, even for commercial purposes, and we are required to license our derivative works under the same license terms. To maintain a connection to the original author, we give attribution/credit and mark our content with the same license.

“To create our open textbooks and study tools, our team of expert “Edcurators” find the best content that is openly licensed. They revise and remix the best parts of the best content so that it is aligned with the key concepts of a corresponding traditional textbook for subjects like Marketing, Chemistry, and Writing. In other words, we take openly licensed content and add our own layer of pedagogy (important because our audience is students) and copy editing (important because students deserve to have materials written in a consistent voice that is fit for their grade level). Once the curating process is finished, we’ve officially crafted a resource that helps students at over half the colleges in the U.S. excel. Our educational content is openly available to all students anywhere in the world.”

Why are Creative Commons licenses important to Boundless?

“Creative Commons has revolutionized the process of sharing information. Open resources available under a CC license broadens the distribution of knowledge, allowing people of different ages, socioeconomic statuses, and geographic locations to share and benefit from high quality content. It’s amazing to be part of this revolution.

“In addition to helping us find, curate, and remix high-quality educational content, the CC license helps us stand up for an important belief core to our mission: educational resources should be free and openly licensed.

“We make good on this belief by freely posting our open textbooks on the web, without any registration required. Any student, educator, or self-learner can access, quote, and remix our textbooks for their own purposes thanks to the CC BY-SA license. Openly licensed educational resources means that digital textbooks like ours will continue to improve over time, allowing students the chance to unlock the knowledge they deserve.”

Where can I access Boundless textbooks?

“In addition to the web, Boundless is has released these books for free in one of the world’s most popular ebook stores: the iBookstore (with Kindle support coming soon). The company’s iBooks include titles like Boundless Introduction to Marketing, Introduction to Statistics, and Introduction to Writing. Students can now access Boundless’ high-quality, college-level content online, offline, on any device, at anytime. The Boundless App is available for free from the App Store on iPhone and iPod touch.”

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Change Will Come, and ManyLabs Will Play An Important Part

Puneet Kishor, August 7th, 2013

I met Peter Sand a few months ago at a #Sensored meetup in SoMa. The setting was exactly like the hardware labs from my undergraduate engineering days, and Peter was there exactly like one of my buddies showing kits and circuits cobbled together to do science (except, Peter is quieter and more polite than most of my buddies). Peter founded ManyLabs, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that wants:

students of any age to become comfortable with data, scientific processes, and mathematical representations of the world. We want people to learn about the strengths and limitations of using math and data to address real-world problems.

Hmmmm… think about that for a minute. Peter is thinking really long-term. He wants to invest in kids today (although ManyLabs kits are suitable for and to be enjoyed by anyone of any age) so they become good at using math and data in the future. Now, that is my kind of guy.

Temp and Humidity Time Series. Image courtesy ManyLabs, used under terms of CC BY-SA 3.0

Temp and Humidity Time Series. Image courtesy ManyLabs, used under terms of Creative Commons BY-SA license

ManyLabs has released a collection of interactive science activities and projects under the Creative Commons BY-SA license. Many of these activities and projects are based on Arduino, an open-source microcontroller board. While most Arduino-based education projects are focused on electronics, programming, or robotics, ManyLabs is instead aiming for compatibility with the existing curricula of biology, physics, math, data, and my favorite, environment classrooms.

Previously ManyLabs was using a CC BY-NC-SA license. “We moved away from a non-commercial license because we want to make usage of the content more flexible. We want the materials to make the widest possible contribution to education,” explained Peter.

While the initial content has been seeded by a small group of contributors, ManyLabs hopes to make the site more community-driven by releasing authoring tools that will allow anyone to create, share, and modify interactive lessons. They also plan to release a platform for CC-licensed data that will allow students, teachers, and others in the community to share data gathered from sensors and manual observations. Together these tools aim to promote scientific reasoning and data literacy, both in schools and in the world at-large.

ManyLabs

ManyLabs

We are fully behind Peter and his mission. So, go ahead, share, sign in or sign up, and create a lesson. What better way to make the world more open than by teaching kids today about Open to ensure that tomorrow’s world will be full of young people who would have known nothing else.

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Frank Warmerdam–Leading Open Geospatial Community By Action

Puneet Kishor, August 7th, 2013

Frank Warmerdam at CC HQ

Frank Warmerdam at CC HQ

What do you get when you write software that becomes the basis of just about every geospatial application out there? You get perspective. Frank Warmerdam has been authoring, improving, supporting, and shepherding Shapelib, libtiff, GDAL and OGR for the past 15 years. Frank believes that by sharing effort, by adopting open, cooperatively developed standards, and avoiding proprietary licenses, adoption of open technologies could be supercharged. And lucky for us, he is right. To paraphrase him, open standards facilitate communication, capture common practice, and externalize arbitrary decisions.

Frank has done it all — worked as an independent consultant, for a proprietary remote sensing company, for a large search engine and mapping company, and now for a small, innovative space hardware maker. But most importantly, he has been a leader in the open geospatial world, at the helm of the Open GeoSpatial Foundation (OSGeo) that I myself have been involved with as long as I have personally known Frank, that is, for a good part of the past decade.

While OSGeo has faced a number of challenges, it has also enjoyed tremendous success through growing number of projects and chapters, local conferences, being perceived as a legitimate player, and recently, getting representation in its Charter Membership from 37 countries.

Global distribution of OSGeo Charter Members

Global distribution of OSGeo Charter Members. Chart courtesy OSGeo.

Frank says working on data libraries is a grungy job. Everyone wants ‘em but no one wants to work on ‘em. We relate to that as licenses are kinda like that, an essential infrastructure play that require getting the legal and technical details right, yet are most effective when they recede in the background and make us enjoy the content to the fullest.

Per Frank, the next set of challenges revolve around getting open geodata with easy to understand, interoperable license terms. As micro-satellite imagery becomes ubiquitous with frequent imagery collects, the resulting flood of imagery may lead to more ready adoption of open terms, perhaps even a current, live, or almost-live global, medium resolution basemap for OpenStreetMap. We can dream, and with my friend Frank to lead us with his quiet actions and measured wisdom, our dreams will come true.

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University of California adopts system-wide open access policy

Timothy Vollmer, August 2nd, 2013

Today the University of California (UC) Academic Senate announced the adoption of a system-wide open access policy for future research articles generated by UC faculty. The articles will be made publicly available for free via UC’s eScholarship repository.

According to the press release, the University of California open access policy will cover 8,000 faculty who author approximately 40,000 articles each year. From the UC statement:

By granting a license to the University of California prior to any contractual arrangement with publishers, faculty members can now make their research widely and publicly available, re-use it for various purposes, or modify it for future research publications. Previously, publishers had sole control of the distribution of these articles.

It appears that authors will have the option of depositing their articles under open licenses, such as Creative Commons licenses. The FAQ says,

Uses of the article are governed by the copyright license under which it is distributed, and faculty authors choose which license to use at the point of deposit. Faculty members may choose to restrict commercial re-use by choosing a Creative Commons license with a “Non Commercial” (NC) restriction when they deposit their article; or they may choose to allow it by choosing a license like the “Attribution only” license (CC BY). If no license is specified, a non-commercial license will be used by default.

Faculty are also able to opt-out of the policy on a per-article basis, which may limit the effectiveness of the policy overall if opt-outs become commonplace.

The UC policy builds on existing open access policies in California, such as the one at UCSF. Here’s a link the full text of the policy. Congratulations to UC for passing this policy, and we hope that faculty will embrace sharing research articles under open licenses.

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CC News: The School of Open Is Back!

Elliot Harmon, July 24th, 2013

Creative Commons

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

Top stories:

School of Open

Round 2 of the School of Open starts August 5! Sign up for courses on copyright for educators, open science, and much more.

The Future of Creative Commons

The first decade of CC is over; what’s next? In our new publication The Future of Creative Commons, we lay out the top priorities in all the areas where we work.

Free! Music! Contest

Hey, CC musicians! You have only one more week to enter the Free! Music! Contest!

Autodesk logo

Autodesk announced that its support and learning content for its 2014 product line is now available under Creative Commons licenses.

In other news:

If news like this is important to you, consider making a donation to Creative Commons.

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Join Team Open! CC seeks operations engineer

Elliot Harmon, July 24th, 2013

Engineering Department employees, 1962

Engineering Department employees, 1962
Seattle Municipal Archives / CC BY

We’re looking for an operations (DevOps) engineer to join us in creating next generation products and services that enable sharing, curating, remixing, and collaborating on open content.

The operations engineer is a full-time position reporting to the director of product strategy, and is a unique role which provides hands-on technical engineering of our server and application environments we use to provide rock-solid, scalable services to the public, while at the same time also working within the community to recruit and create trusted groups of DevOps volunteers. As such, the operations engineer works closely with the rest of the Products & Technology team, including other developers and user experience designers, as well as Creative Commons staff and particularly with community volunteers.

Read the full job description and instructions for applying.

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Autodesk invites users to remix its content

Elliot Harmon, July 23rd, 2013

This morning, Autodesk announced that its Media & Entertainment (M&E) support and learning content for its 2014 product line is now available under Creative Commons licenses; that’s 20,000 pages of documentation, 70 videos, and 140 downloadable 3D asset files under CC BY-NC-SA and CC BY-NC-ND licenses.

“Autodesk embracing Creative Commons licensing is a big win for Creative Commons, but more importantly, it’s a big win for the design community online. The power of the internet lies in how easy it is for people to share and build on each other’s work. CC licenses make that kind of sharing possible without the law getting in the way. In opening its resources, Autodesk is demonstrating that it understands the capacity for creativity and collaboration among its community of users.” – Creative Commons CEO Cathy Casserly

According to a press release that Autodesk released this morning, the Open Learning Initiative was actually a direct response to demands from the community of users of Autodesk products. Paul Duguay, a 3D and multimedia studies instructor at the Collège Communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick in Canada, discovered a series of videos on the Autodesk 3ds Max Learning Channel that perfectly fit his curriculum needs. Duguay wanted to be able translate the audio into French and publish the videos on the college’s website. Autodesk started licensing its content under CC so that community members like Duguay could use the material to its full potential.

It’s fantastic to see an industry leader in design software choosing to open its documentation and training content to its community. Autodesk has also demonstrated its commitment to open by donating to Creative Commons at the Innovator level. Thank you to Autodesk for making an investment in a more creative, collaborative internet.

Read the full press release.

Update: Here’s some nice coverage by San Francisco Chronicle’s James Temple:

“For a company as prominent as Autodesk to do this, it sends an important signal to other major players: We think that’s a service to our customers we want to provide,” said Corynne McSherry, intellectual property director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “Hopefully other companies will then take a look and say, ‘Maybe we should do that too.’”

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Nordic CC Film Festival program announced

Elliot Harmon, July 22nd, 2013

You’ve already heard us talk about the the Nordic Creative Commons Film Festival the latest in a growing movement of CC filmmakers and festival organizers changing how films are funded, produced, and distributed. Last week, festival organizer María Ibáñez emailed me to let me know that the list of CC-licensed films featured in the festival has been announced.

One thing that makes NCCFF interesting is that anyone can host a screening. Last week, the organizers also launched a cool signup platform where you can select which films you’d like to screen and add your screening to the official calendar. More information here.

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