Commons News

Re-launch of Creative Commons Canada

Jessica Coates, March 23rd, 2012

Canada Flag
flag flap / Spatial Mongrel / CC BY

Today we’re pleased to announce that Athabasca University, BCcampus, and the Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic have joined together to re-establish a CC affiliate team in Canada. All three organizations will take part in the official relaunch at the Creative Commons Salon Ottawa: Open Data on Friday, March 30.

This is not a new affiliate so much as a re-ignition of our existing Canadian community. Since 2004, a number of volunteers, interns and affiliate leads have supported and promoted CC and the use of open licenses generally in a Canadian context. This new team, representing three organizations spread across the geographic and cultural expanse of Canada, will be a key asset to support and lead the CC activities of this community.

Through public outreach, community building, tools, research, and resources this team will work with a network of open supporters to maximize digital creativity, sharing and innovation across Canada. The work of CC Canada is aligned with the overarching vision of Creative Commons — to help provide universal access to research and education, and full participation in culture to drive a new era of development, growth and productivity.

Whether you’re an artist, teacher, scientist, librarian, policymaker or just a regular citizen, Creative Commons provides you with a free, public, and standardized set of tools and licenses that create a balance between the reality of the Internet and the reality of copyright laws. CC Canada joins over four hundred other affiliates working in seventy-two jurisdictions around the world in supporting the use of Creative Commons infrastructure. Collectively this global network is creating a vast and growing digital commons of content that can be copied, distributed, edited, remixed, and built upon, all within the boundaries of copyright law.

Be sure to check out the CC Canada roadmap on the wiki. Congratulations to the CC Canada affiliate team!

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Job opportunity: Counsel at Creative Commons

Jane Park, March 22nd, 2012

Michael Carroll, Sarah Hinchliff Pearson and Diane Peters
“Michael Carroll, Sarah Hinchliff Pearson and Diane Peters” / Joi / CC BY

We just posted a new job at our opportunities page: a chance to be Counsel at Creative Commons! The Counsel will work closely with the rest of our awesome in-house legal team, and provide legal support for all facets of CC’s work. This position involves a challenging blend of specialized international copyright work and more customary corporate legal work associated with any in-house legal position. Job duties include legal research, analysis particularly as relates to international copyright, drafting and maintaining internal legal policies, practices, and documents for the organization (including trademark, privacy, employment, grant agreements, and more), and strategy development and public outreach related to CC’s legal tools and programs. See the full job description.

To apply, email your cover letter and résumé to jobs@creativecommons.org with the subject heading of “Counsel Application.” No phone calls, please, and good luck with the rest of your job search!

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Thanks to Creative Commons, OER university will provide free learning with formal academic credit

Cable Green, March 21st, 2012

Creative Commons licenses are enabling an international partnership of accredited universities, colleges and polytechnics to provide free learning opportunities for students worldwide with pathways to formal academic credit. The OER university (OERu) will create a parallel learning universe for learners who cannot afford a tertiary education by offering CC-licensed courses — with the opportunity to acquire formal academic credit at greatly reduced cost when compared to full-tuition studies. The OERu will assemble courses from existing open educational resources (OER) under CC licenses, reducing the overall cost of development. It has adopted the Free Cultural Works approved licenses (CC BY and CC BY-SA) as the default for OERu courses.

The OER Tertiary Education Network, the force behind the OERu, includes an impressive line-up of education providers, including: Athabasca University, BAOU (Gujarat’s open university), SUNY Empire State College, Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, NorthTec, Open Polytechnic, Otago Polytechnic, Southern New Hampshire University, Thompson Rivers University, University of Canterbury, University of South Africa, University of Southern Queensland, and the University of Wollongong. BCcampus and the OER Foundation are supporting the network as non-teaching partners. These founding OERu anchor partners are accredited institutions in their respective national, provincial or state jurisdictions, which means that the OERu will be able to provide formal academic credit towards credible degrees in Africa, Asia, Oceania and North America — all using CC-licensed courses. Senior executives of the network have facilitated agile and rapid progress targeting the formal launch of the OERu operations in 2013. (More on that here.)

The OERu anchor partners have shortlisted eight university- and college-level courses to be developed as prototypes for refining the OERu delivery system:

  • College Composition
  • Art Appreciation and Techniques
  • Regional relations in Asia and the Pacific
  • A Mathematical Journey
  • General and Applied Psychology
  • Critical Reasoning
  • Why Sustainable Practice
  • Introduction to Management

Collectively, these courses — all first year courses except for Critical Reasoning, which is a 2nd year-level course in Philosophy — will carry credit towards a Bachelor of General Studies, the inaugural credential selected at the OERu meeting in November 2011. Two of the courses will be based on existing course materials under CC BY from U.S. Washington State’s Open Course Library project and the Saylor Foundation.

The OER Foundation has been trailing technologies and delivery approaches of large OER courses to help inform the design and development of these prototype courses. One such course is Open Content Licensing for Educators, which was designed as a free online workshop for educators and learners to learn more about OER, copyright, and CC licenses. The course materials, also under CC BY, were developed collaboratively by volunteers from the OER Foundation, WikiEducator, the OpenCourseWare Consortium and Creative Commons, with funding support from UNESCO. In January, Open Content Licensing for Educators was conducted online with 1,067 participants from 90 different countries — demonstrating the success of a large, collaborative, and high quality OER project. The OERu model will build on successes such as these, and demonstrate how CC licenses can maximize the return on investment in education at a massive scale.

Kudos to Wayne Mackintosh and all of his colleagues at OERu. Well done!

To learn more, visit WikiEducator.

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Want to work with CC in Africa and Asia? Changes to our Regional Project Manager team

Jessica Coates, March 20th, 2012

NASA Blue Marble by NASA Goddard Photo and Video, on Flickr
NASA Blue Marble / NASA Goddard Photo and Video / CC BY

Some important changes are taking place in CC’s Regional Project Manager (RPM) team, the group responsible for coordinating and supporting our worldwide affiliate network. Two of our RPMs – Chiaki Hayashi, RPM for the Asia-Pacific, and Aurelia J. Schultz, RPM for Africa – will be transitioning out of their current roles to new positions in the CC community.

This makes way for two new RPM candidates to join our team.

Chiaki and Aurelia have both worked with CC for many years, and have long provided support for our Asian and African communities. When the RPM positions were created last year, they were the logical choices to begin the roles for the Asia-Pacific and Africa. However, with activity in both regions growing rapidly, they each feel they can no longer devote the time to their RPM duties that the community deserves, and so are choosing to step down. Aurelia will spend more time on her existing position in CC HQ’s legal team, while Chiaki will continue to work with us as a volunteer Culture and GLAM Special Project Coordinator.

This transition provides an exciting opportunity for two new people to step into the RPM roles for the Asia-Pacific and Africa. You can find the full position descriptions here, but in summary, each position aims to “assist Creative Commons… with organizational planning, strategic communications, community building, and fundraising in… support of the organization’s mission, goals and objectives” in the respective region. Essentially, this amounts to supporting our local affiliates to promote use and knowledge of CC, coordinating regional activities and communications, and facilitating collaboration between affiliates and the broader international community.

So if you have an interest in community management, open access and Creative Commons, and have ties to Africa or the Asia-Pacific, we’d love to hear from you.

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Sharing and remixing class notes on GoodSemester under Creative Commons

Cable Green, March 19th, 2012

GoodSemester, a new learning platform geared toward academic productivity, has just announced Creative Commons note sharing, copying and remixing. GoodSemester allows learners to find, copy and modify CC-licensed notes throughout its learning service, then integrate these notes directly into their classes. The default license for all new notes created on GoodSemester is CC BY-SA.

While GoodSemester has made CC BY-SA the default, users can still opt out of sharing their notes. To encourage open sharing, GoodSemester has made sure there are noticeable benefits to keeping notes under the CC license. Restricted notes cannot be copied, shared or remixed. Learners who do share their notes have the opportunity to join a vibrant community of active learners and creators, and to contribute to a growing commons of open educational resources.

In addition, GoodSemester is releasing its own materials under the same CC BY-SA license, as noted in the footer of their website:

All text and images by GoodSemester are released under an open license. We love open things. To show our support for the open learning movement, all text and images on GoodSemester created by GoodSemester are released under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.

This is just another great example of a company integrating CC licenses into its platform to increase the functionality of its tools and the value to its community.

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National Libraries and a Museum open up their data using CC0

Jane Park, March 12th, 2012

CC0 has been getting lots of love in the last couple months in the realm of data, specifically GLAM data (GLAM as in Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums). The national libraries of Spain and Germany have released their bibliographic data using the CC0 public domain dedication tool. For those of you who don’t know what that means, it means that the libraries have waived all copyrights to the extent possible in their jurisdictions, placing the data effectively into the public domain. What’s more, the data is available as linked open data, which means that the data sets are available as RDF (Resource Description Framework) on the web, enabling the data to be linked with other data from different sources.


“Open Data Stickers” / Copyright and related rights waived via CC0 by jwyg

The National Library of Spain teamed up with the Ontology Engineering Group (OEG) to create the data portal: datos.bne.es. The datasets can be accessed directly at http://www.bne.es/es/Catalogos/DatosEnlazados/DescargaFicheros.

The National Library of Germany, aka Deutsche Nationalbibliothek (DNB), has documentation on its linked open data under CC0 here. CC Germany reported the move, and a post in English can be found over at Open GLAM.

Relatedly, the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt Museum, a major design museum in New York, has released the collection data for 60% of its documented collection into the public domain, also using CC0. The data set is available on a repository in Github; you can read more about the move at http://www.cooperhewitt.org/collections/data.

To learn more about Creative Commons and data, including a recently updated FAQ, check out http://wiki.creativecommons.org/Data.

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A new CC team for Argentina

Jessica Coates, March 6th, 2012

Argentina Flag
Argentina Flag / quimpg / CC BY

It’s taken us a few months, but we would like to introduce some new members of the CC family – our new CC Argentina affiliate team.

The new Argentinian team (see their website here and their CC wikipage here), came on board late last year and is headed up by public leads Beatriz Busaniche and Patricio Lorente out of institutional partners Wikimedia Argentina and Fundación Vía Libre. Both organisations are well known in the Latin American open community. Wikimedia Argentina supports the local Wikimedia community and promotes projects for the dissemination of free content and wiki-culture. Meanwhile, the non-profit Fundación Vía Libre works closely with the free software community and is committed to spreading knowledge and sustainable development. Among other things, it is a participant in both the FLOSSWorld and Science, Education and Learning in Freedom (SELF) projects.

With the new team, comes some exciting events for CC in the region. On 8 March CC Argentina, with Wikimedia Argentina and La Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales, will jointly host a breakfast with Melanie Dulong de Rosnay, an academic from the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and legal lead of CC France. The theme of the event will be “legal aspects of the digital public domain.” Melanie and Beatriz will then team up with Claudio Ruiz of CC Chile at the first Latin American GLAM-Wiki event in Santiago a week later.

This comes hot on the heels of the announcement a few weeks ago of a new CC-licensed Argentinian documentary, Runa Kuti: Indigenas Urbanos, which is making the rounds of film festivals. The film, which is under a BY-NC-ND license, focuses on the lives of indigenous Argentinians living in Buenos Aires.

Congratulations and welcome to the new team. We look forward to working with you on CC and all things open in Argentina.

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CC News: Why Open Education Matters Video Competition

Jane Park, March 5th, 2012

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

Why Open Education Matters Video Competition! by Creative Commons, U.S. Department of Education, and Open Society Foundations

Creative Commons, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Open Society Foundations announce the launch of the Why Open Education Matters Video Competition. The competition will award cash prizes for the best short videos that explain the use and promise of free, high-quality open educational resources and describe the benefits and opportunities these materials create for teachers, students and schools.  Video submissions are accepted until June 5, 2012 and winners will be announced July 18, 2012. Cash prizes include $25,000 (first), $5,000 (second), and $1,000 (Public Choice Award). Judges include prominent artists and education experts, including Davis Guggenheim, Nina Paley, James Franco, and many others. Learn more.

 

$500 million available in Wave 2 of U.S. Department of Labor grant program for community colleges

The U.S. Department of Labor has released a Solicitation for Grant Applications (SGA) for Wave 2 of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program (TAACCCT). Wave 2 makes available an additional $500 million to “eligible institutions of higher education… with funds to expand and improve their ability to deliver education and career training programs that can be completed in two years or less…” As with the first wave of funding, all educational materials created from grant funds must be released under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license. For Wave 2, the CC BY license must also be applied to modifications made to pre-existing, grantee-owned content using grant funds. Read more.

Creative Commons and Open Education Week

Creative Commons and its affiliates are participating in Open Education Week! a week-long series of global events on and offline to to raise awareness of the Open Educational Resources (OER) movement and its impact on universal access to education. 90 organizations are contributing by hosting workshops, conferences, evening events, and online webinars. The first events started March 1, but the official week is March 5 through March 10. It’s not too late for you to join. Learn more.

In other news:

  • The next CC Salon London — Open Educational Resources: Policies for Promotion — is Thursday, March 29! The event is free and open to the public but registration is required. Learn more.
  • The U.S. Washington State Senate passed an OER Bill for K-12 education! HB 2337 will help eliminate high textbook costs for one million students. Learn more.
  • The German Aerospace Center (DLR) also adopted CC by incorporating CC licenses, including CC Attribution, for its photos and media.
  • CC community member, Makerblock, has developed a new WordPress plugin that makes it easier for you to add CC licenses to your website and blog.
  • Lastly, we urge you to act now to support public access to federally funded research by supporting the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA) which would, "require federal agencies to provide the public with online access to articles reporting on the results of the United States’ $60 billion in publicly funded research no later than six months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal." Learn more.
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Launch of the Why Open Education Matters Video Competition

Timothy Vollmer, March 5th, 2012

Creative Commons, U.S. Department of Education, Open Society Institute launch high profile video competition to highlight potential of free educational materials

Mountain View, California and Washington, D.C., — March 5, 2012

Today Creative Commons, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Open Society Institute announce the launch of the Why Open Education Matters Video Competition. The competition will award cash prizes for the best short videos that explain the use and promise of free, high-quality Open Educational Resources—or “OER”—and describe the benefits and opportunities these materials create for teachers, students and schools.

Video submissions are accepted until June 5, 2012 and winners will be announced July 18, 2012. Cash prizes, provided by the Open Society Institute, include $25,000 (first), $5,000 (second), and $1,000 (Public Choice Award). Judges include prominent artists and education experts, including Davis Guggenheim, Nina Paley, James Franco, and many others. The competition website is whyopenedmatters.org and features an introductory video by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. All entries must be shared under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan underlined various benefits of OER. Duncan, in a video that appears on the Why Open Education Matters contest website, said, “Open Educational Resources can not only accelerate and enrich learning; they can also substantially reduce costs for schools, families and students.”

Catherine Casserly, CEO of Creative Commons, pointed out the importance of raising awareness for Open Educational Resources. “Both Creative Commons and Open Educational Resources are 10 years old this year, and there’s been an amazing explosion in the amount and quality of free, openly-licensed educational content being shared online. Now is the time to push awareness of OER into the mainstream.”

The launch of the Why Open Education Matters Video Competition coincides with the first annual Open Education Week (openeducationweek.org), which runs from March 5-10, 2012. Open Education Week is a global event that seeks to raise awareness about the benefits of free and open sharing in education.

About Creative Commons
Creative Commons (http://creativecommons.org) is a globally-focused nonprofit organization dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright. Creative Commons provides free licenses and other legal tools to give everyone from individual creators to large companies and institutions a simple, standardized way to grant copyright permissions and get credit for their creative work while allowing others to copy, distribute and make specific uses of it.

About U.S. Department of Education
The U.S. Department of Education (http://ed.gov) coordinates most federal assistance on education. It works with state and local partners to promote excellence and equity for students at all levels of education to ensure that our citizens are college and career ready and can compete in a global economy.

About Open Society Institute
The Open Society Institute (http://soros.org) works to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens and, through its Information Program, works to increase public access to knowledge, including increasing access to open, high quality, educational materials.

Contacts
Timothy Vollmer
Creative Commons
tvol@creativecommons.org

Jane Glickman
Department of Education
(202) 401-1307

Darius Cuplinskas
Open Society Institute
Darius.Cuplinskas@osf-london.org

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OER K-12 Bill Passes in U.S. Washington State

Cable Green, March 1st, 2012

There was exciting open policy news from U.S. Washington State (WA) last evening.

HB 2337 “Regarding open educational resources in K-12 education” passed the Senate (47 to 1) and is on its way back to the House for final concurrence. It already passed the House 88 to 7 before moving to the Senate.

The bill directs the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to support the 295 WA K-12 school districts in learning about and adopting existing open educational resources (OER) aligned with WA and common core curricular standards (e.g., CK-12 textbooks & Curriki). The bill also directs OSPI to “provide professional development programs that offer support, guidance, and instruction regarding the creation, use, and continuous improvement of open courseware.”

The opening section of the bill reads:

  • “The legislature finds the state’s recent adoption of common core K-12 standards provides an opportunity to develop high-quality, openly licensed K-12 courseware that is aligned with these standards. By developing this library of openly licensed courseware and making it available to school districts free of charge, the state and school districts will be able to provide students with curricula and texts while substantially reducing the expenses that districts would otherwise incur in purchasing these materials. In addition, this library of openly licensed courseware will provide districts and students with a broader selection of materials, and materials that are more up-to-date.”

While focus of this bill is to help school districts identify existing high-quality, free, openly licensed, common core state standards aligned resources available for local adoption; any content built with public funds, must be licensed under “an attribution license.”

Representative Reuven Carlyle has been a leader working on open education (including the Open Course Library) in WA for years and has blogged about it: here, here, here and here.

Representative Carlyle introducing HB2337 in the House:

Creative Commons’ Director of Global Learning, Cable Green, testifying about the impact of the bill on elementary education in the Senate:

WA is poised to follow the good work of Utah, Brazil, and so many others who have gone before.

This legislature has declared that the status quo — $130M / year for expensive, paper-only textbooks that are, on average, 7-11 years out of date — is unacceptable. WA policy makers instead decided their 1 million+ elementary students deserve better and they have acted.

Congratulations Washington State!

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