Commons News

Free Bassel, Free Culture

Elliot Harmon, March 15th, 2013

#FREEBASSEL
#FREEBASSEL / Kennisland / CC BY-SA

Creative Commons CEO Catherine Casserly wrote a blog post for the Huffington Post for the one-year anniversary of Bassel Khartabil’s arrest.

Since March 15, 2012, our colleague and friend Bassel Khartabil has been in prison in Syria, held without charges and not allowed legal representation. Bassel is an open-source coder and leader of the Syrian Creative Commons program. He believes in the open Internet, and has spent the last ten years using open technologies to improve the lives of Syrians. Not only did Bassel build the CC program in his country; he worked tirelessly to build knowledge of digital literacy, educating people about online media and open-source tools.

Our work requires us to spend a lot of time looking at nuanced details — whether a certain piece of legislation supports open access to research, for example, or how to mark creative works for easier search and filtering. Bassel’s imprisonment has been a stark reminder that our work is part of a larger, global ecosystem. For Bassel and others around the world who fight for open, a free internet is not a theoretical matter. Real lives hang in the balance.

Today, there are demonstrations and getherings happening all over the world in honor of Bassel. Learn more at freebasselday.org.

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CC News: Enroll in the School of Open

Elliot Harmon, March 14th, 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
School of Open logo


The wait is over. The School of Open is now in session. Enroll now in a facilitated course or learn at your own pace.

California Seal of the Assembly
California Seal of the Assembly
Edward Headington / CC BY

Big news from California: a new bill in the legislature would allow university students to take CC-licensed, online classes for credit.

Bassel
Bassel
Joi Ito / CC BY

As of this Friday, CC Syria lead Bassel Khartabil has been imprisoned for one year. Join us in urging that Bassel be freed.

Open Education Week logo
Open Education Week logo


It’s Open Education Week! Join us all week for webinars, events, and resources to celebrate the future of education.

 

In other news:

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A Big Thank You from Creative Commons

Elliot Harmon, March 14th, 2013

Larry Lessig and guest toast CC10
Larry Lessig and guest toast CC10 / David Kindler / CC BY

This month marks the end of Creative Commons’ annual fundraising campaign. Thank you so much to everyone who donated or helped spread the word about the campaign.

The past few months have really been a whirlwind for the CC community. We celebrated CC’s tenth anniversary around the world, even in Antarctica (!). We’ve seen major open legislation introduced in Congress, and a White House directive to get more serious about open access. The community built a new online school where anyone can learn about open. We’ve entered the final stretch in developing Version 4.0 of the CC licenses. We’ve mourned the loss of a friend, and are calling for the release of another. And we’ve done it all hand-in-hand with the global community of commoners.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for your support. Thank you for being a diverse, engaged community. Full steam ahead into the second decade.

PS: If you haven’t gotten your “Create Share Remix” T-shirt yet, there are still a few left.

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FREEBASSEL with us this Friday

Jessica Coates, March 14th, 2013

This Friday, 15 March, is the one-year anniversary of the detainment of CC Syria lead Bassel Khartibil by the Syrian government. It’s also the second anniversary of the start of the conflict in Syria.

Bassel is a software engineer who has been an important open web advocate and a big part of the CC community for many years. For the past year, CC has been supporting the FREEBASSEL project, which aims to draw attention to his detainment and ultimately secure Bassel’s release.

This Friday, FREEBASSEL is planning a day of global solidarity, inviting everyone to host events, demonstrations, and parties in honor of Bassel. You can do anything – make posters, release software, translate his Wikipedia entry, throw a party at a local bar. Have a cheers for #FREEBASSEL and tweet the picture of your group in your local language. It’s a day to remember Bassel and spread the word.

You can find out about events already being organised for Free Bassel Day, or post about your own, at freebasselday.org. Some of the great events already being organised by the CC community include:

  • CC France and OKFN are organising a Syrian dinner in Paris;
  • CC Netherlands and Kennisland have created a poster with information and are placing it behind metal bars throughout Amsterdam, to mimic Bassel’s incarceration;
  • CC HQ is teaming with Wikimedia and EFF to hold a FreeBassel event in San Francisco, with activities and a FREEBASSEL photo shoot.

Or, most simple of all, show your support by sharing this video with your friends and sign the letter.

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California Unveils Bill to Provide Openly Licensed, Online College Courses for Credit

Cable Green, March 13th, 2013

Today California (CA) Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (author of the CA open textbook legislation) announced that SB 520 (fact sheet) will be amended to provide open, online college courses for credit. In short, the bill will allow CA students, enrolled in CA public colleges and universities, to take online courses from a pool of 50 high enrollment, introductory courses, offered by 3rd parties, in which CA students cannot currently gain access from their public CA university or community college. Students must already be enrolled in the CA college or university in which they want to receive credit. The 50 courses and plans for their assessment will be reviewed and approved (or not) by a faculty committee prior to being admitted into this new online course marketplace.

See these articles for details about the initiative:

Why is this important?

  1. 400,000+ California students cannot get a space (in-class or online) in the general education courses they need to progress in their academic career. That’s a major problem. This is one part of the solution.
  2. Creative Commons (CC) has been actively working with all of the major Massively Open Online Course (MOOC) providers, encouraging them to adopt CC licenses on their courses. These conversations continue, but they have been slowed by the MOOCs’ need to explore revenue models. MOOCs licensing content to education institutions has been floated as one possible revenue model, which has slowed MOOCs’ willingness to make it easy for contributing colleges and universities to CC license their courses.
  3. CC has learned that this new CA online marketplace will require open licenses on all courses and textbooks as a condition for participation. That is, if Udacity, Coursera, edX, StraighterLine, Future Learn, or anyone else wants its courses to be considered for use in this initiative, the courses and textbooks will first need to be openly licensed. CC is pleased that Senator Steinberg plans to leverage California’s existing open textbook investment (all textbooks will be licensed under CC BY).

CC has recommended the marketplace only allow courses and textbooks openly licensed with any of the CC licenses that allow derivatives (or CC0) or similar open copyright licenses. Specifically, CC recommended that these licenses be allowed:

  • BY
  • BY SA
  • BY NC
  • BY NC-SA

Conversely, CC recommended not allowing courses into the marketplace if they are licensed:

  • all rights reserved
  • BY ND
  • BY NC-ND
  • with any other restrictive licenses that do not comply with the Hewlett OER Definition

The text discussing “open” in SB 520 reads:

(b) For purposes of this article, the following terms have the following meanings:(1) “Online courses of study” means any of the following: (A) Online teaching, learning, and research resources, including, but not necessarily limited to, books, course materials, video materials, interactive lessons, tests, or software, the copyrights of which have expired, or have been released with an intellectual property license that permits their free use or repurposing by others without the permission of the original authors or creators of the learning materials or resources.

Like the CA open textbook bills, this project is being staffed by Dean Florez (former CA Senate President pro Tem) and the staff at the 20MM Foundation. They have done amazing open policy work in CA and should be congratulated! CC worked closely with 20MM on the open textbooks project and will again on this initiative.

Bottom line

  1. This could be the market demand for openly licensed courses and textbooks that will provide incentives for MOOCs to adopt open licenses.
  2. If this model is successful in California, it could be adopted in other states, provinces and nations. What if all governments made the following promise to their citizens?

“No college student in [X] will be denied the right to move through their education because they couldn’t get a seat in the course they needed.” – Steinberg, “California Bill Seeks Campus Credit for Online Study” (New York Times)

And as governments innovate and create new education marketplaces for their citizens, to ensure affordable access and academic progress, what if they (like Steinberg) required those education spaces to use openly licensed courses and textbooks?

Senator Steinberg continues to leverage 21st-century technologies, open licensing, and the collective strength of the academy and innovative entrepreneurs to ensure that students can access a high quality, affordable education. That’s leadership. Well done, Senator.

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Want to work in open? Intern with CC!

Jessica Coates, March 13th, 2013

Current intern Billy (right) models swag with other CC staff

Recent intern Billy (right) models swag with other CC staff / Meryl Mohan / CC BY

CC is once again opening its doors up to interns this US summer, offering opportunities to those with an interest in community development.

The 2013 Community Support Intern will work with our staff to facilitate CC’s global volunteer network and provide general support for our international activities. This means everything from assisting with coordinating collaborative projects to writing information resources and planning community events. This year will be particularly exciting, as the intern will be helping with preparation for our Global Summit in Buenos Aires, our bi-annual community meeting and single largest outreach event.

The position, which is open to enrolled students of any discipline or level, runs for 10 weeks over June-August here in our Mountain View office. International applicants are strongly encouraged and overseas experience is a plus, although you need to be eligible to work abroad through your university and/or a third-party work-study program. Creative Commons believes strongly in the skills development benefits of internships, and work tasks can be tailored to meet the intern’s interests and experience.

For more information and instructions on how to apply, see our Opportunities page.

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Welcome to the School of Open, Class of 2013

Jane Park, March 12th, 2013

Happy Open Education Week! We are happy to announce that the School of Open community has launched its first set of courses


The Library of Congress / No known copyright restrictions

Sign up for these facilitated courses

this week (sign-up will remain open through Sunday, March 17). These courses will start the week of March 18 (next week!). To sign up, simply click the “Start Course” button under the course’s menu navigation on the left.

  • Copyright 4 Educators (US)Sign up if you’re an educator who wants to learn about US copyright law in the education context.
  • Copyright 4 Educators (AUS)Sign up if you’re an educator who wants to learn about Australian copyright, statutory licenses and open educational resources (OER).
  • Creative Commons for K-12 EducatorsSign up if you’re a K-12 educator (anywhere in the world) who wants to learn how to find and adapt free, useful resources for your classroom, and incorporate activities that teach your students digital world skills.
  • Writing Wikipedia Articles: The Basics and BeyondSign up if you want to learn how to edit Wikipedia or improve your editing skills — especially if you are interested in and knowledgeable about open educational resources (OER) (however, no background in this area is required).

All other courses are now ready for you to take

at any time, with or without your peers. They include:

  • Get a CC license. Put it on your website – This course is exactly what the title says: it will help you with the steps of getting a CC license and putting it on your work. It’s tailored to websites, although the same steps apply to most other works.
  • Open Science: An Introduction – This course is a collaborative learning environment meant to introduce the idea of Open Science to young scientists, academics, and makers of all kinds. Open Science is a tricky thing to define, but we’ve designed this course to share what we know about it, working as a community to make this open resource better.
  • Open data for GLAMs (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums) – This course is for professionals in cultural institutions who are interested in opening up their data as open culture data. It will guide you through the different steps towards open data and provide you with extensive background information on how to handle copyright and other possible issues.
  • Intro to Openness in Education – This is an introductory course exploring the history and impacts of openness in education. The main goal of the course is to give you a broad but shallow grounding in the primary areas of work in the field of open education.
  • A Look at Open Video – This course will give you a quick overview of some of the issues, tools and areas of interest in the area of open video. It is aimed at students interested in developing software, video journalists, editors and all users of video who want to take their knowledge further.
  • Contributing to Wikimedia Commons – A sister project of Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons is a repository of openly licensed images that people all over the world use and contribute to. This challenge gets you acquainted with uploading your works to the commons.
  • Open Detective – This course will help you explore the scale of open to non-open content and how to tell the difference.

And more… check out all the courses at http://schoolofopen.org/.

Join a launch event this week


School of Open at the Citizen Science Workshop / Levi Simons / CC BY

  • P2PU: A Showcase of Open Peer Learning (Wednesday, March 13) – Join this webinar to see a showcase of some of P2PU’s best learning groups spanning topics from education to open content to programming to Spanish and more, and learn how you can participate.
  • Open Video Sudan (all week, March 10-17) – Join the Open Video Forum in improving “A Look at Open Video” and creating new courses and resources on open video in Sudan.

And more events as part of Open Education Week at http://www.openeducationweek.org/events-webinars/.

Spread the word

Just do these 3 things and call it a day.

      1. Tweet this:

      #SchoolofOpen has launched! Take free courses on #copyright, #OER, #openscience & more: http://creativecommons.org/?p=37179

      2. Blog and email this:

      The School of Open has launched! Take a free online course on copyright, CC licenses, Wikipedia, open science, open culture, open video formats, and more at http://schoolofopen.org/. Especially check out this course: [link to course of your choice here]. Read more about the launch at http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/37179.

      3. Print out a copy of this pdf and pin it to the bulletin board at your work, school, or local coffee shop.
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Join us: Open Education Week (11-15 March)

Cable Green, March 6th, 2013

562x252-oew-web-banner

It is time to celebrate and spread the dream that everyone in the world can access a high quality, affordable education if we collectively share our educational resources and spend our public resources wisely!

The second annual Open Education Week will take place March 11-15, 2013 (see schedule). Open Education Week is a five-day celebration of the global Open Education movement, featuring online and local events around the world, video showcases of open education projects, and lots of information. The week is designed to raise awareness of both the movement and its impact on teaching and learning worldwide.

Open Education refers to the growing set of practices that promote the sharing high quality, openly licensed educational resources (OER) and support for learners to access education anywhere, anytime. Open Education incorporates educational networks, open teaching and learning materials, open textbooks, open data, open scholarship, and open-source educational tools.

As part of Open Education Week, Creative Commons and its affiliates are hosting and participating in local events and webinars on OER, Version 4.0 of the CC licenses, the Open Policy Network, School of Open, and more. In addition, the School of Open will officially launch its first set of courses next week, including courses on copyright and Creative Commons for educators. Courses will be free to take and free to reuse and remix under P2PU’s default CC BY-SA licensing policy.

And a special thanks to our friends at the OpenCourseWare Consortium for organizing the 2nd annual Open Education Week.

See you all next week!

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Why Open Science Training matters

Puneet Kishor, March 5th, 2013

Open Science Training

Sophie Kershaw at CC HQ

Hanging around with our own kind, we in the open science community might get lulled into thinking that everyone out there thinks like us. In reality, most scientists actually do science instead of worrying about whether or not it is open. However, even though some of their practices align with open science objectives, there is much more that can be done proactively to engender an open commons of science.

Sophie Kershaw, doctoral student in computational biology at University of Oxford, came up with the idea of injecting Open Science Training in formal curriculum, and teaching young scientists about Open while they are still young and learning about the scientific method, as part of her Open Knowledge Foundation supported Panton Fellowship. In Sophie’s words:

As the Open Science movement gathers pace, we are seeing developments in policy and infrastructure to support the transition of academia towards Open practices. Despite this, there is a considerable lag in awareness within the academic community itself – many researchers either haven’t heard about Open, or know the term but don’t know how to put it into practice! From a show of hands on the first day of my Open Science Training Initiative (OSTI), only ONE grad student out of 43 had heard of open science. It is now time for us all to step up our efforts in educating our academics in licensing, open access and data management, preferably through provision of pre-doctoral training. Our first research group plays a huge role in shaping our research outlook, but this leaves us with a huge variability in the level of awareness that students develop. Some will pitch up in a very forward-thinking group, where licensing, collaboration and data archiving is the order of the day, while others are left without this kind of information. Pre-doctoral training will ensure continuity of provision for ALL our science grads, enabling them to make their own decisions with confidence.

This kind of practical intervention delivered right to young scientists sounds like a great idea, and as Sophie says, reactions to the first edition of OSTI seem to confirm that:

Students from the inaugural OSTI came out strongly in favour of receiving training in licensing and engaging in debate on development of the publication process: furthermore, they’ve shown that while lectures are handy, hands-on experience is the best way to learn about how to license, how to release data, how to communicate science. We need to emphasize delivery of a coherent research story – comprising appropriately licensed data, code and writing – rather than merely the traditional written report. We need to make our young researchers see themselves as research users as much as research producers. Over time, this should help our newest grads deliver verifiable, reproducible research with vast potential for further development and scientific impact.

The Open Science Training Initiative is not an idea with immediate returns. Instead, it is for bringing about long-term change so the next generation of scientists and beyond proactively default to open. There are challenges ahead, such as creating right formats for different conditions and audiences, finding right partners who would incorporate OSTI in their courses, and scaling to reach the next generation of scientists all over the world. But, it is an idea we consider worth supporting, because the potential returns are lasting in nature.

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CC News: White House Supports Open Access

Elliot Harmon, February 28th, 2013

Creative Commons

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

Top stories:

Law Books
Law Books
Kolinio Niumataiwalu / CC BY-NC-SA

We’re nearing the finish line for version 4.0 of the CC license suite. Find out what’s new in Draft 3 and what issues are stil being discussed.

School of Open
School of Open logo

Join the School of Open! Our first classes are officially launching on March 11, as a part of the Open Education Week celebration.

Seal of the United States Office of Science and Technology Policy
US Office of Science and Technology Policy
Public Domain

The White House has issued a groundbreaking directive supporting public access to publicly funded research.

Open Science Brainstorming
Open Science Brainstorming
Billy Meinke / CC BY

Creative Commons, PLOS, and OKFN hosted a course sprint last weekend to develop a new open science curriculum.

 

In other news:

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