The United States Department of Education 2010 National Educational Technology Plan (pdf) includes the following:
Open Educational Resources (OER) are an important element of an infrastructure for learning. OER come in forms ranging from podcasts to digital libraries to textbooks, games, and courses. They are freely available to anyone over the web.
Educational organizations started making selected educational materials freely available shortly after the appearance of the web in the mid-1900s. But MIT’s decision to launch the OpenCourseWare (OCW) initiative to make the core content from all its courses available online in 2000 gave the OER movement a credible start (Smith, 2009). Other universities joined the OCW Consortium, and today there are more than 200 members, each of which has agreed to make at least 10 courses available in open form.
Many of these materials are available not just to individuals enrolled in courses, but to anyone who wants to use them. The power of OER is demonstrated by the fact that nearly half the downloads of MIT’s OpenCourseWare are by individual self-directed learners, not students taking courses for credit (Maxwell, online presentation for the NETP Technical Working Group, 2009).
Equally important to the OER movement was the emergence of the Creative Commons, an organization that developed a set of easy-to-use licenses whereby individuals or institutions could maintain ownership of their creative products while giving others selected rights. These rights range from allowing use of a work in its existing form for noncommercial purposes to the right to repurpose, remix, and redistribute for any purpose.
Additional advances in our understanding of how to design good OER are coming out of the work of the Open Learning Initiative (OLI) at Carnegie Mellon University. OLI has been developing state-of-the-art, high-quality online learning environments that are implemented as part of courses taught not only at Carnegie Mellon, but also at other universities and at community colleges. The OLI learning systems are submitted to rigorous ongoing evaluation and refinement as part of each implementation. (For more information on OLI, see the Assessment section of this plan.)
The Department of Education has a role in stimulating the development and use of OER in ways that address pressing education issues. The federal government has proposed to invest $50 million per year for the next 10 years in creating an Online Skills Lab to develop exemplary next-generation instructional tools and resources for community colleges and workforce development programs. These materials will be available for use or adaptation with the least restrictive Creative Commons license. This work is expected to give further impetus to calls for open standards, system utilities, and competency-based assessments. (For more information on the Online Skills Lab, see the Learning section of this plan.)
The OER movement begun in higher education should be more fully adopted throughout our K-16 public education system. For example, high-quality digital textbooks for standard courses such as algebra can be created by experts and funded by consortia arrangements and then made freely available as a public good. Open textbooks could significantly reduce the cost of education in primary and secondary as well as higher education. Textbooks constitute a significant portion of the government’s K-12 budget as well as the student-borne cost of higher education.
Also see the plan’s sidebar on the California Free Digital Textbook Initiative, the first phase of which has been dominated (15 of 16) by CC licensed textbooks.
The plan also directly demonstrates effective reuse — it includes and properly attributes two CC-licensed illustrations.
Congratulations to the U.S. Department of Education and the OER movement!
Addendum: See open education pioneer David Wiley’s reaction to a speech by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan given the day before the National Education Technology Plan’s publication. Wiley highlights OER’s role as infrastructure for education innovation. Those aren’t just buzzwords — read Wiley’s post.2 Comments »
CEO Joi Ito gives an update on how Creative Commons has hit the ground running in 2010, with big plans for expanding our efforts in education and open educational resources (OER). You’ll also read about new jurisdictions, government adoption of CC licenses, how CC licenses have played a role in the Haiti earthquake relief effort, and more. Happy reading! This quarterly version of the newsletter is in beautifully-designed PDF format (download), designed for your reading pleasure by the CC Philippines team!
Subscribe to receive our monthly e-news updates and quarterly PDF newsletters by email, and stay on top of the inspiring stories coming out of the Commons.No Comments »
Photo by tibchris, licensed CC BY 2.0
Creative Commons is once again seeking bright, enthusiastic students to work at the San Francisco office for ten weeks this summer. Students have the opportunity to work with CC staff and international volunteers on various real-time projects. Assigned tasks and projects will vary depending on interns’ skill & experience, as well as organization needs. If you are a currently enrolled student (College, Graduate levels, or somewhere in between) interested in applying, please read the descriptions carefully and follow the instructions below.
In addition to contributing to real-time work projects, interns will be invited to participate in external meetings, staff meetings, inter-organization competitions & discussions, and potential evening events. Staff will encourage interns to also self-organize visits to local organizations, and to find ways to connect with various community members.
- Internships are open to students enrolled across the spectrum of disciplines;
- Internships are open to students at different levels of academic study including undergraduate, graduate and PhD. programs.
- Internships are open to international students who are eligible to work abroad from an accredited university and/or through a third-party work-study program.
- The internship will last for ten weeks from June 7 to August 13.
- The internships are full-time, temporary positions.
- Applicants should plan on spending the summer in San Francisco.
- Please also be ready to assist with general office tasks in addition to focused projects.
Creative Commons offers a stipend of $4,000, if not otherwise covered by grant funding. If your school offers a stipend for work-study or internships, this factor is figured into the compensation.
This stipend may not be sufficient to cover living expenses in the bay area. No other benefits are provided. Interns must make their own housing, insurance, and transportation arrangements.
This internship position will focus on aiding the Chief Technology Officer and Software Engineers with the development of software and maintenance of services. Knowledge of Linux, PHP, and Python is a must. Prefer applicants who have contributed to open source projects.
These internships, geared towards law students who have completed their second year of study, will focus on intellectual property and copyright as relates to creative works shared on the internet. Applicants should have completed their second year of study at a top tier law school, two courses on intellectual property, including fundamentals of copyright, and provide ideally have significant interest in and experience with IP, including experience at a law firm or other legal organization. Interns may be asked to provide a writing sample on a topic chosen by CC.
Graphic Design and Media Development Internship
How to apply
If you are a college or graduate student interested in our internship program, please send us your:
- Cover Letter explaining your interest in Creative Commons, in the position, and any other relevant experience not covered in your resumé.
- Two References: Please include email and phone number.
- Indicate open source or other CC/open licensed projects to which you have contributed.
- Indicate which position(s) you are interested in applying.
- Design students: Please include portfolio.
Applications and questions can be sent to:
The application deadline for Summer 2010 is 11:59 p.m. PST, Friday, March 26, 2010.
Thank you for your interest in our organization. Please NO phone calls.1 Comment »
Copyright and related rights waived via CC0
Late last year, I caught wind of an initiative that was being funded by the Gates Foundation—it had to do with redesigning the top 80 courses of Washington State’s community college system and releasing them all under CC BY (Attribution Only). The initiative was called the Washington State Student Completion Initiative and the specific project that was dealing with redesign and CC licensing was the Open Course Library Project. I decided to find out more, so I set up a Skype date with Cable Green, the head of the project. Below is the transcribed interview, edited for clarity and cut as much as possible for 21st century attention spans.
Tell me a little bit about who you are, where you come from, and what your role is in open education.
Sure, my name is Cable Green. I’m the eLearning Director for the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. Our system consists of 34 community and technical colleges and those colleges teach roughly 470,000 students each year. Our enrollments are growing fast in this recessionary period as people are looking to enhance their work skills and go back to college to get degrees and certificates.
Made of glass from Vendel parish Up (SHM Invnr 7250) | Photo: Christer Åhlin SHMM | CC BY-NC-ND
Earlier this week Swedish museum Historiska Museet announced the adoption of CC licenses for their digital catalog (Google translation here). Roughly 63,500 item photographs, 1200 illustrations, and 264,500 scanned catalog cards are now released, depending upon the medium, under our Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works license or Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license.
Project Manager Ulf Bodin notes that while the museum is starting out with a more restrictive license choice they hope to find ways to continue to open their catalog with less restrictions in the future. Like the Brooklyn Museum, Historiska Museet is looking at this as a first step, aiming to provide more openness as they better understand how the public will use these new resources.
To that end, author Nina Simon’s recently release, The Participatory Museum, is of related interest. Released under a
CC Attribution-Share Alike license CC Attribution-NonCommercial license, the book explores ways to increase audience participation in cultural institutions to make them “more dynamic, relevant, [and] essential” destinations.
At Creative Commons, we are always looking for new and interesting ways to find out just how much CC licensed content is out there on the web. Our latest project, the Open Database of Educational Projects and Organizations (or ODEPO), needs your help!
In 2008, ccLearn (now fully integrated into Creative Commons core) conducted a survey of educational projects online for its report to The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation entitled “What Status for Open? An Examination of the Licensing Policies of Open Educational Organizations and Projects” (pdf). Several months later it was followed up with a data supplement (pdf) that visualized some of the findings.
The report was developed in conjunction with ODEPO, which is a Semantic MediaWiki-based database of organizations involved in providing educational content online. Currently, ODEPO includes 1147 sites affiliated with various organizations, the majority of which were provided to us back in 2008 by educational repositories involved in the creation and expansion of Open Educational Resources (OER).
We’d like to continue supporting this database to help researchers, advocates, and learners find educational projects, analyze trends in online education, and become more effective advocates for open education. We hope that increased awareness of the digital education landscape will increase communication between consumers, producers, and curators of educational content which can lead to more open practices.
How to help: Browse ODEPO. If your favorite educational project or organization is missing, incomplete, or incorrect, please log in to or create a CC wiki account and follow these instructions. Alternatively, you can simply browse to your educational project and click the “Edit this data” button on the page.
Addendum: There is now an Open Tasks tracker for ODEPO where you can find lists of pages that need more data.No Comments »
The event I blogged about in December, TEDxNYED, is happening this Saturday, March 6, in New York City. TEDxNYED is “an all-day conference dedicated to examining the intersection of education, new media, and technology.” For those of you who can’t attend, the conference will be livestreamed from 10am EST to 6pm EST at http://tedxnyed.com.
The speaker line-up includes our own Larry Lessig (founder and board member of CC), Michael Wesch (a cultural anthropologist who created those awesome YouTube videos like “Web 2.0 … The Machine is Us/ing Us”), Neeru Khosla (Co-founder of the CK12 Foundation that submitted seven open textbooks to California’s Free Digital Textbook Initiative), and David Wiley (big thinker in open education and associate professor of Instructional Psychology and Technology at BYU).No Comments »
Flat World Knowledge, a commercial textbook publisher who uses CC licenses, aims to transform the way professors and college campuses think about textbooks through a new internship program for students. They asked for applicants last year, and launched the program last week with 19 students from colleges like New York University, Ohio State University, Auburn University, Indiana University, University of Denver, University of Florida and the College of Charleston. From eSchool News,
“The internships, introduced this year by open textbook provider Flat World Knowledge, let sophomore and junior business students earn college credit and a little spending cash if their sales pitch convinces a professor to use web-based texts that can be reorganized and modified by chapter, sentence, or word…
The company has grown in the past year as the open-content movement has gained traction in higher education, buttressed by the Creative Commons license [CC BY-NC-SA]—which doesn’t require permission from authors to change parts of a book—and the rising cost of textbooks.”
The press release states FWK’s intent to change “the college textbook market” by “taking a counter approach to the usual adversarial relationship between textbook publishers and college students.” By using CC licenses, Flat World Knowledge is exploring a business model that builds on open content by offering free digital textbooks via CC BY-NC-SA, but charging for the prints and supplementary materials. Their textbooks have been used at over 400 colleges, and they received $8 million in investments last year.
For more on Flat World Knowledge, swing by CC Salon NYC on March 3 where Eric Frank, the company’s founder and Chief Marketing Officer, will be talking in depth about what they do. If you’re not in the area, stay tuned for some Flip camera action, which I’ll link to here after the event.1 Comment »
Voci Globali is a new collaboration between Italian newspaper La Stampa and Global Voices Online that aims to expose Italian audiences to citizen media from around the world. GVO will assist in translating select international blogs into Italian, releasing the stories they publish under a Creative Commons Attribution license.
Initially twenty-five blogs from all world regions have been selected as the primary sources – including Afghan Women’s Writing Project, Repeating Islands, Registan, Talk Morocco, Ethan Zuckerman and Rebecca McKinnon.No Comments »
The Peer 2 Peer University, “a grassroots education project that organizes learning outside of institutional walls” by leveraging social software and existing open educational resources, launched its second pilot and a new website today. The first pilot launched last September with seven courses, ranging from Creative Nonfiction Writing to Behavioral Economics. Due to high demand, P2PU has doubled its course offerings for the second round. From the press release,
“Some of the courses were offered in the first phase of the pilot which launched last September, but seven are brand new, including “Urban Disaster Risk Management,” “Mashing Up the Open Web,” and “Solve Anything! Building Ideas through Design.” P2PU is also excited to announce its first Portuguese language courses organized by Brasil’s Casa de Cultura Digital, one of which is an introduction to the thinking of Paulo Freire (educational theorist who is author of Pedagogy of the Oppressed). The P2PU community has grown and is excited to have these new courses and their organizers on board.”
Since last November’s workshop in Berlin, a few changes have taken place at P2PU. P2PU is still run and governed by volunteers, but the P2PU Council, with the support of the community, has elected Philipp Schmidt as its representing Director. Philipp is one of the co-founders of the project, as well as a Shuttleworth Foundation Fellow, which enables him to devote himself full time to P2PU. On becoming Director, Philipp says, “We have proven that the model works and are seeing tremendous interest from people all over the world to learn together. I am very excited to help guide the project through the next phase of growth and for the opportunity to work with the inspiring and talented volunteers that make P2PU so special.”
When asked how P2PU will affect the education landscape, Council member Delia Browne says, “P2PU will revolutionize how people learn. It will help create a global open culture of learning for the 21st century.”
The P2PU community consists of a diverse group of people. They are writers, teachers, designers, doctoral and alternative grad students, artists, copyright specialists, scientists, and blues guitar players. Above all, they are learners–peers working together to learn from each other.”
If you want to learn more about the Peer 2 Peer University, see my past post on them. All P2PU produced content is licensed under CC BY-SA, which means you are free to share, distribute and derive for your own mirror initiative as long as you share alike. “P2PU is teaching and learning by peers for peers and it is run and governed by volunteers. It builds on educational content that is free from copyright restrictions or licensed under Creative Commons licenses.” The deadline to sign up for courses is February 28. Courses will run for at least six weeks starting March 12. Each course may require different information and prerequisites to apply.No Comments »