Commons News

Ada Lovelace Day: Women, Tech, and OER

Cathy Casserly, October 15th, 2012

Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace / Kaldari / CC0

Ada Lovelace — widely considered the first computer programmer — famously said, “I never am really satisfied that I understand anything; because, understand it well as I may, my comprehension can only be an infinitesimal fraction of all I want to understand.” That quotation brings to mind the axiom that a curious mind is always asking more questions and learning is never complete. Every day, like Lovelace, I am all too aware that my knowledge is dwarfed by what I have yet to learn.

Around the world today, the technology community is celebrating Lovelace and the many women in technology who’ve followed in her footsteps. Here at Creative Commons, we think a lot about women in science and technology and the untapped potential we have yet to realize. In his speech to the United Nations a few weeks ago, President Obama spoke of the importance of women and girls in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). The White House identified Creative Commons as a key member of an emerging community of practice supporting girls in STEM.

A few days later, Creative Commons and the OpenCourseWare Consortium announced that we’d formed a task force to determine how open educational resources (OER) can support the success of girls and women in STEM fields. As I said in that announcement, the challenges of the future will require bright, ambitious, well-educated people of both genders.

Many people reading this probably know that the OER movement played a pivotal role in my career. When I was at the Hewlett Foundation, we made a gamble in starting our OER initiative. At that time, OER was an untested idea. Today, those early investments are paying off, with open-licensed resources benefitting women, men, boys, and girls around the world, many of whom wouldn’t otherwise have access to high-quality educational materials that can be localized and improved for teaching and learning.

But like Lovelace, we’re not yet satisfied. Last month’s groundbreaking open textbook legislation in California was a huge step in the right direction, but it was just one step. We must keep the end vision in mind: together, we can democratize education through openly licenses resources, tools and processes. While we can’t create future Ada Lovelaces in a lab, we can provide for a culture of education that rises to the challenge of its most curious learners.

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Geoscience Australia to License Satellite Images Under CC BY

Elliot Harmon, October 11th, 2012

Geoscience Australia recently announced that it will license all images from the Landsat 8 satellite under CC BY. (Geoscience Australia is a partner of the United States Geological Survey in the Landsat program.)

Creative Commons Australia reports:

The new Landsat 8 satellite is scheduled to be launched in early 2013, with GA’s full implementation being scheduled for May or June 2013.

Upon full implementation, which involves the deployment of major infrastructure upgrades by GA, data will be beamed from Landsat 8 on a daily basis to GA-operated ground stations in Alice Springs and Darwin. As soon as possible after receipt and processing, GA will make the satellite images publicly available free of charge.

GA will make the data available under a Creative Commons CC BY Australia 3.0 licence, which will facilitate legal reuse of the images.

GA is expecting a major upsurge in demand for the images when its free to air service is up and running. Jeff Kingwell, Section Leader of GA’s National Earth Observation Group, has indicated this prediction is based on the experience of its senior partner Geological Survey where there was a 1000 fold usage increase on commencement of its free to air service online. “Our experience is that using the Creative Commons Attribution Licence — which is the default licence for GA information — makes the data more useful and easier to apply. For example, to help the Indonesian government to monitor forest management, GA supplies Landsat data from a number of foreign data archives. Since we can apply the same licence conditions to each data source, the information is much more useful and easier to share and reuse.”

(Read the full article.)

Here at Creative Commons, we applaud governments and intergovernmental organizations licensing their information and data under CC licenses (or the CC0 public domain waiver). Australia’s partnership with the United States in the Landsat program is a perfect example of why it’s important to use a license that’s open and internationally applicable.

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School of Open builds community at the Open Knowledge Festival

Jessica Coates, October 11th, 2012

Helsinki Class group shot

Helsinki Class Group Shot / Timothy Vollmer / CC BY

A few weeks ago a group of CC staffers traveled to the Open Knowledge Festival in Helsinki, Finland to meet with our friends in the open knowledge and data community. There were many welcome outcomes from this – including our European regional meeting (expect a post on this soon) – not the least of which was our second School of Open workshop.

For those who haven’t heard of it yet, the School of Open is a collaboration between Creative Commons and P2PU (Peer 2 Peer University). Its aim is to provide easily digestible educational exercises, resources, and professional development courses that help individuals and institutions learn about and employ open tools, such as the CC licenses. You can find out more at this wiki page.

During the second half of 2012, Creative Commons is holding School of Open workshops around the world, including Berlin, Palo Alto, Mexico City, London, and Jakarta. The idea behind these workshops is to bring together those interested in spreading the word about open knowledge, teach them about peer-learning and the role it can play in this, and (hopefully) start them down the track of creating their own peer-led course on open.

The Helsinki workshop, which ran on the Wednesday of the festival, was a joint project with the School of Data, a similar initiative run by P2PU and the Open Knowledge Foundation to promote data literacy and data ‘wrangling’ skills. The workshop was a great success, with a full house of more than 25 attendees, including educators, programmers, digital technologists and enthusiasts. After introductions and explanations, about 12 chose to work on projects for the School of Open, while the rest broke off to take School of Data courses.

Helsinki Class Photo

Helsinki Class Photo / Timothy Vollmer / CC BY

In just four hours, this School of Open team managed to complete the “Teach someone something with open content” challenge and get a good way through the “Make a P2PU course in half an hour” mini-course. The result were outlines for several new P2PU courses, designed to teach people new skills entirely through CC-licensed and other open materials including “How to share and distribute a song”. You can find all related notes and materials from the workshop here.

Feedback from the participants in the workshop was great – everyone felt that by the end of the day they had a good understanding of the workings of the School of Open and the potential it had to provide learning resources for anyone and everyone. They also had some great feedback on ways to improve the school’s web interface, materials and structure, based on their own experiences and expertise. And they were all keen to continue to work on their courses and the School of Open.

Congratulations to all those who participated in the workshop on achieving so much in such a short amount of time. We look forward to seeing you around the School of Open discussion lists and events. For anyone else who wants to get involved, the best way to start is to join the discussion list and/or sign up for announcements. You can also email the Project Manager directly.

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CC Arab World Regional Meeting: December 11-15

Donatella Della Ratta, October 10th, 2012

Creative Commons communities in the Arab world are planning to host the fourth CC Arab regional meeting #4 in Cairo (Egypt) from December 11 to 15, in cooperation with the Arab Digital Expression Foundation (ADEF).

This has been an exciting year from the CC Arab regional communities, with more and more countries joining our collaborative projects, meet-ups, and local and regional gatherings like the CC Iftar.

The fourth regional meeting will be an opportunity to gather CC Arab world communities and have people working together on collaborative projects, workshops, and peer-produced ideas.

Following a formula adopted last year in Tunis, we will be hosting a set of workshops that are designed and produced by the regional community itself. In order to have better teamwork, workshops can accommodate only a limited amount of participants.

If you speak Arabic and you are based in the Arab region, and if you have an interest in openness, sharing culture and cooperation, please have a look at the call for proposals.

We are looking forward to hearing from you!

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September Board of Directors meeting

Diane Cabell, October 4th, 2012

A meeting of the Creative Commons Board of Directors was held on 22-23 September 2012 at MIT in Cambridge, MA hosted by Media Lab Director (and CC Chairman) Joi Ito.

The Directors received an update on 4.0 license revisions and a report from the Audit Committee on the FY 2011 audit. A budget for 2013 was presented, as were fundraising projections through 2014. The Board passed a resolution honoring former CC VP Mike Linksvayer for his outstanding contributions to the organization.

The Directors considered how CC could best implement its mission in the future and reviewed a strategic plan. Project proposals in the areas of educational publishing, policy organizations, open licensing courseware and big data were also discussed. The Board expressed its desire to incorporate technical innovation as the bedrock of all program activities and to focus more resources on development of innovative technical capabilities that would encourage the use of CC licenses in today’s platforms and digital devices. Additional appointments to the Board were also proposed.

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US Department of Labor Invests in Open Educational Resources

Cable Green, October 2nd, 2012

In September, the Obama administration announced $500 million in grants to community colleges around the country for the development of professional training programs under the new Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative (TAA-CCCT), run by the US Department of Labor in coordination with the Department of Education. This is the second round of grants in a four-year initiative totaling $2 billion.

For the first time in a federal initiative of this size, grantees are required to license the training materials they produce under the Creative Commons Attribution licence. In her speech announcing the grants, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis stressed that the open-licensing requirement will make it easier for education providers to build on each other’s work.

It’s striking that this announcement comes within days of California’s first-of-its-kind open textbook legislation. As more government agencies begin to require publicly funded learning resources to be openly licensed, the more impact those resources will have. As Ms. Solis put it in her speech, “‘We’re stronger when we work together’ [is] not just a statement of American values. It’s also a winning strategy for growth.”

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Using Free and Open Educational Resources to Support Women and Girls in STEM

Cable Green, September 28th, 2012

Download press release (PDF)

Mountain View, CA and Cambridge, MA — Creative Commons and the OpenCourseWare Consortium announce the formation of a task force to determine how open educational resources (OER) can support the success of girls and women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in support of the Equal Futures Partnership, announced on September 24 by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“The gender gap in participation in STEM areas around the world is significant,” said Cathy Casserly, CEO of Creative Commons. “We need to address the barriers to girls’ success in STEM to ensure that the future is filled with bright, ambitious, well-educated people of both genders who are able to contend with future global challenges.”

The OER-STEM task force will examine how OER can attract and support girls in STEM education, including additional support services necessary to ensure high levels of success. OER are high-quality educational materials that are openly licensed and shared at no cost, allowing learners and educators to use, adapt, change and add information to suit their education goals. The task force will include experts in STEM education for girls and women along with experts in OER to determine specific projects that will advance achievement in these important areas.

“We are seeking innovative support solutions for girls to succeed in STEM subjects using open educational resources,” said Mary Lou Forward, Executive Director of the OpenCourseWare Consortium. “Since OER can be accessed freely by anyone, anywhere, and modified to fit different cultural contexts and learning needs around the world, we are looking at this issue from a global perspective.”

About Creative Commons

Creative Commons 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 the OpenCourseWare Consortium

The OpenCourseWare Consortium is an international group of hundreds of institutions and organizations that support the advancement open sharing in higher education. The OCW Consortium envisions a world in which the desire to learn is fully met by the opportunity to do so anywhere in the world, where everyone, everywhere is able to access affordable, educationally and culturally appropriate opportunities to gain whatever knowledge or training they desire.

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California passes groundbreaking open textbook legislation

Timothy Vollmer, September 27th, 2012

It’s official. In California, Governor Jerry Brown has signed two bills (SB 1052 and SB 1053) that will provide for the creation of free, openly licensed digital textbooks for the 50 most popular lower-division college courses offered by California colleges. The legislation was introduced by Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and passed by the California Senate and Assembly in late August.

A crucial component of the California legislation is that the textbooks developed will be made available under the Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY):

The textbooks and other materials are placed under a creative commons attribution license that allows others to use, distribute, and create derivative works based upon the digital material while still allowing the authors or creators to receive credit for their efforts.

The CC BY license allows teachers to tailor textbook content to students’ needs, permits commercial companies to take the resources and build new products with it (such as video tutorials), and opens the doors for collaboration and improvement of the materials.

Access to affordable textbooks is extremely important for students, as textbook costs continue to rise at four times the rate of inflation, sometimes surpassing the cost of tuition at some community colleges. So, in addition to making the digital textbooks available to students free of cost, the legislation requires that print copies of textbooks will cost about $20.

This is a massive win for California, and a most welcome example of open policy that aims to leverage open licensing to save money for California families and support the needs of teachers and students. We’ll continue to track this initiative and other Open Education Policies at our OER registry.

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CC News: #cc10 Is Coming

Elliot Harmon, September 25th, 2012

Creative Commons

Stay up to date with CC news by following us on Twitter.

Top stories:

#cc10 December 7-16
#cc10, December 7-16
 

#cc10 is coming! Get ready for a ten-day celebration of the history and future of Creative Commons.

Laptop
Laptop
Paul Cutler / CC BY-SA

Creative Commons is looking for an experienced, innovative, and technically inclined individual to drive product development at CC.

CC Iftar Iraq
CC Iftar Iraq
CC Iraq Community / CC BY

Since 2010, Arab world–based Creative Commons communities have celebrated Ramadan by organizing Creative Commons Iftars across the region.


Europeana logo
 

Europeana — Europe’e digital library — has released 20 million records into the public domain using the CC0 Public Domain Dedication. This release is the largest one-time dedication of cultural data to the public domain using CC0.

 

In other news:

  • We end on a sad note by remembering Lee Dirks, a strategist at Microsoft Research Connections and friend of the open access movement.

Support CC We rely on our supporters to continue our work enabling stories like those above. 

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#cc10 Is Coming

Elliot Harmon, September 25th, 2012

Creative Commons is turning 10 this year! We’ll be hosting parties around the world and sharing party favors online for a ten-day celebration, December 7 to 16.

To see a listing of the parties we have planned, visit the #cc10 wiki page. There are more in the works, so stay tuned.

Do you want to celebrate CC’s tenth anniversary in your city? Host your own #cc10 event! Even if it’s just a happy hour after work, we’d love to hear about it and help you spread the word. Send us an email at press@creativecommons.org and let us know what you’re planning. We’ll add it to our listing and send you some special CC swag for the party (supplies are limited and we may not be able to ship to every location, but we’ll try).

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