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.”2 Comments »
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.
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.
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.Comments Off
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.
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.Comments Off
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.
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.Comments Off
Round 2 of the School of Open starts August 5! Sign up for courses on copyright for educators, open science, and much more.
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.
Hey, CC musicians! You have only one more week to enter the Free! Music! Contest!
Autodesk announced that its support and learning content for its 2014 product line is now available under Creative Commons licenses.
In other news:
- Join Team Open! Creative Commons is looking for an operations engineer.
- The featured films have been announced for the first-ever Nordic Creative Commons Film Festival. Schedule your own NCCFF screening!
- The Saylor Foundation recently launched a new set of free, CC-licensed, K-12 courses in language arts and mathematics.
- Indie videogame designer Nick Liow wants to change the way you think about the public domain.
- Myanmar’s New Education Highway is a nonprofit project that could not exist without open educational resources.
- Learn about UC Irvine’s OpenChem project, a set of openly licensed chemistry lectures equivalent to four years’ worth of classes.
If news like this is important to you, consider making a donation to Creative Commons.Comments Off
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.2 Comments »
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.
Update: Here’s some nice coverage by San Francisco Chronicle’s James Temple:
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“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.’”
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.1 Comment »
The School of Open is offering its second round of facilitated courses! Starting today, you can sign up for 7 courses during a two week period; sign-up closes 4 August (Sunday) and courses start on or after 5 August (Monday). All courses are free to take and open to reuse under the CC BY-SA license.
The School of Open is a community of volunteers from around the world passionate about peer learning, openness, and the intersection of the two. These volunteers helped launch the School of Open in March. And now they invite you to join them in the following courses.
To sign up for any of these courses, simply go to the course page and click ‘Start Course’ under its left Navigation column.*
1. Copyright 4 Educators (AUS) (7 weeks) – This course is open to anyone in the world, but will focus on Australian copyright law as pertains to education. This course will equip Australian educators with the copyright knowledge to confidently use copyright material in the classroom. It will also introduce OER and teach you how to find and adapt free, useful resources for your classes. Facilitators: Delia Browne and Jessica Smith
2. Copyright 4 Educators (US) (6 weeks) – This course is open to anyone in the world, but will focus on US copyright law as pertains to education. The course is taught around practical case scenarios faced by teachers when using copyright material in their day-to-day teaching. Facilitator: Laura Quilter
3. Creative Commons for K-12 Educators (7 weeks) – This course will help K-12 educators find and adapt free, useful resources for their classes. It will also help them incorporate activities that teach their students digital world skills — such as finding, remixing, and sharing digital media and materials on the web. Facilitator: Jane Park
4. Designing Collaborative Workshops (4 weeks) – This course brings together case studies of some great collaborative workshops that have been run in the past with an open invitation for you to share your own experiences with either running or participating in a workshop that worked well (or didn’t). Facilitators: Mick Fuzz and Jane Park
5. Writing Wikipedia Articles: The Basics and Beyond (6 weeks) – If you can read Wikipedia, you can learn to build it! In this course, you will learn about the software, the rules, and the cultural values that drive and support this ubiquitous and community-built online encyclopedia. It will focus on articles about openness in education. Facilitators: Pete Forsyth and Sara Frank Bristow *This course runs on Wikipedia; follow instructions to sign up at the course page
6. Open Science: An Introduction (4 weeks) – This course is a collaborative learning environment meant to introduce the idea of Open Science to young scientists, academics, and makers of all kinds. Facilitator: Billy Meinke
7. Why Open? (4 weeks) – This course will facilitate discussion on the different meanings of openness, how openness applies to different domains, as well as participants’ views of what it means to do things openly. Participants will engage in open activities, and examine the benefits and potential issues with openness. Facilitators: Christina Hendricks, Simeon Oriko, Jeanette Lee, Pete Forsyth, and Jane Park
Too busy to take a course this time around? Don’t worry, we’re around for a while. Sign up to be notified when we launch our next round of facilitated courses, or take a stand-alone course at your own pace, at anytime.
Don’t see a course you want to take but are full of good ideas? Help us build the courses you want to see with others. Join the School of Open discussion list and introduce yourself and your “open” interest.
Forward this to your friends
Want to take a course with your friends? Do these 3 things and call it a day.
- 1. Tweet this:
Open for sign-up: free facilitated #schoolofopen courses on #OER #openscience #wikipedia #copyright #whyopen http://creativecommons.org/?p=39060
- 2. Blog/forward this:
School of Open, Round 2 is open for sign-up! Take a free, facilitated online course on open science, collaborative workshop design, open educational resources, copyright for educators, Wikipedia, CC licenses, why open? — and more! at http://schoolofopen.org/. Take this course with me: [link to course of your choice here]. Read more about the launch at http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/39060.
- 3. Print out a copy of this pdf and pin it to the bulletin board at your work, school, or local coffee shop.
What is the School of Open?
School of Open
The School of Open is a community of volunteers focused on providing free education opportunities on the meaning, application, and impact of “openness” in the digital age and its benefit to creative endeavors, education, research, and more. Volunteers develop and run online courses and offline workshops on topics such as Creative Commons licenses, open educational resources, and sharing creative works. The School of Open is coordinated by Creative Commons and P2PU, an active peer learning platform and community for developing and running free online courses.
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Saylor K-12 Beta by The Saylor Foundation / CC BY
The Saylor Foundation recently launched a new K-12 program on Saylor.org, debuting courses for grades 6-12 in English language arts and mathematics. A team of experienced educators and staff are developing courses fully aligned to the US Common Core State Standards. Like Saylor’s college-level courses, the K-12 program incorporates open educational resources (OER), making the courses, as well as their contents, widely reusable by students, teachers, and parents nationwide. The course frameworks and instructions are available under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license. Thus, while the courses are ready for use as-is, anyone may also reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute their courses to meet local needs.
Following its higher education model, Saylor’s K-12 team focused on reviewing and vetting an existing pool of OER, selecting the best OER to develop instructions and learning outcomes. With Common Core standards providing a framework for each course, Saylor aims to make K-12 OER easy to find and use. Saylor is currently working on 18 additional courses which will be rolled out as they are completed.
How can you use K-12 courses on Saylor.org?
- Flip your classroom without shooting your own videos. Saylor provides recommendations on their site.
- Incorporate more engaging digital content in your class.
- Get current, openly licensed, Common Core–aligned materials for free.
- Provide extra resources to supplement what your kids learn in school.
- Use self-contained curriculum for home-schooling families.
- Accelerate or review subjects with your kids.
- Do more challenging work. Your school might not offer calculus, but Saylor.org does!
- Learn subjects in a different way and acclimate to an online learning environment.
- Review material you learned in school.
- Go further and prepare for your SATs/college (more on that on the site).