Paul Stacey is the Director of Communications, Stakeholder and Academic Relations at BCcampus. Headquartered in Vancouver, BCcampus provides services in support of educational technology and online learning to British Columbia’s 25 public colleges and universities, their students, faculty and administrators. The BC Ministry of Advanced Education provides funding for curriculum development. In 2003 they shifted funds to support a new thematic direction—online learning. Through this shift in priorities, BCcampus saw the opportunity to connect to the rising open education space, seeing interesting examples of other OER projects like MIT OpenCourseware and Connexions. Paul supports the strategic development of for-credit online curricula, in the form of OER, via partnerships among BC’s public post secondary institutions. He also helps coordinate a range of open online communities that support academic growth and faculty development in BC and beyond.
Foundation-funded vs. publicly-funded OER
Last year, Paul presented a paper called Foundation Funded OER vs. Tax Payer Funded OER–A Tale of Two Mandates at the Open Ed Conference in Barcelona. In that presentation he compared the goals and attributes of foundation-funded and publicly-funded OER projects. Private philanthropic foundations have provided the largest investments in OER over the last 10 years, but there are increasing examples of taxpayer-funded OER policies. Stacey observes that foundation and public sector goals are similar in wanting to expand access to education, but the means by which they do this differs. “The foundation’s primary responsibility is to the founder, while a government ministry’s primary responsibility is to its tax-paying citizens,” says Paul. While foundations often have global and humanitarian mandates and goals, government ministries, on the other hand, tend to be more geographically local to a specific nation, province, or state. They focus on providing a public service that benefits all citizens of that region rather than the entire world. “Public sector support for OER often has economic efficiency goals more than humanitarian ones,” says Paul. With public sector funding so tight, government bodies want to leverage its money in the most effective ways possible, and provide access to education to as many members of its public as possible. The ongoing question for OER is, can it do both?
Paul notes other differences between foundation-funded and publicly-funded OER. Foundation grants have primarily gone to single prestigious institutions and have been used for publishing existing lectures, course notes, and learning activities associated with campus-based classroom activity. Foundation grants have a defined start and end date and are generally not provided for ongoing operations. Government Ministries have primarily invested in OER for formal credit-based academic purposes that fulfill the education access, societal, and labor market needs of their region. Government grants are given, not to single prestigious institutions, but to collaborative partnerships of schools and institutions in their jurisdiction, often for development of new curricula intended for online delivery. Government Ministries oftentimes concern themselves with both start-up and ongoing operations funding.
A spectrum of licenses: To choose or not to choose?
Paul has constructed an interesting chart that plots various OER projects with their associated licensing terms.
Stacey notes that foundation-funded OER projects generally require a single Creative Commons license (usually CC BY or CC BY-NC-SA). But, for publicly-funded OER, there are usually more license options available. One recommendation Paul makes is for OER projects to offer a range of licensing options along the “open” continuum. “Multiple options provide greater buy-in and lower the threshold for OER participation,” suggests Paul. He concedes that there are downsides to permitting individual projects to choose their own license: a variety of licenses make remixing and adapting OER more complex, and can create interoperability issues and siloed content. While he’s noticed that no OER project places content into the public domain, Paul thinks that this approach could be tested.
BC Commons and suggestions for Creative Commons
Stacey says that Creative Commons has played a central role in making OER possible in the first place. The current licensing solution used by BCcampus intuitions, BC Commons, is modeled on Creative Commons. The BC Commons license is different than CC licenses. Where the Creative Commons licenses are applicable worldwide, the BC Commons license is applied to content for use and sharing between institutions, faculty and students affiliated with the BC public post-secondary system. BCcampus adopted the BC Commons license to support educators gradual entry into the waters of openness. “If you say to a faculty member that you want them to share their resources with everyone, they worry that they might lose control of the integrity of the resources they create,” says Paul. “Even with the BC Commons license, these concerns do not go away entirely, but fears are mitigated because the sharing is contained within the province.” Stacey thinks that the more convincing reason for rallying around the BC Commons license is the local collaboration generated by its use. “When you create a license that supports local sharing, it creates a local commons,” says Paul. The local ties among educators are oftentimes much stronger than ties outside of the community. And, BCcampus actively cultivates partnerships to encourage multiple institutions to work together on developing content—“we collectively develop and collectively reuse the resources,” says Paul.
Paul offered several recommendations for Creative Commons:
- Develop a tracking piece of code embedded in each CC license that reports back to the OER creator on reuse. We know from social media that seeing use is a motivator for doing more.
- Encourage CC licensing choice along the open continuum and make it simple for people to start with one license and then transition or migrate a resource to more open licenses along the continuum as they get comfortable with sharing.
- Work with those trying to create regional versions of CC licenses, (like we’ve done in BC with the BC Commons license), to craft the regional license to be as similar to CC as possible. In our experience its been crucial to complement global sharing choices with local regional ones.
- Refine the decisions associated with CC license choices. Attribution, commercial/non-commercial, derivatives, and share alike go a long way but could be complemented with other decision-making points specific to OER.
- Consider adding metadata fields to the CC license to allow the creator to add additional information about the resource including their interest in collaborating with others on improving and modifying it.
- Work with national, state and other public sector institutions and organizations to incorporate Creative Commons license options into education policy that governs IP and copyright so that educators have CC choices built into their agreements.
- Continue work with software companies that develop applications used to create and deliver educational resources to incorporate CC licenses as default options within the application.
Future of OER
Stacey speculates that while government Ministries have yet to be convinced that making all their publicly funded educational resources open to the world is in the best interests of its citizens, he predicts that this will eventually prove to be the case. “Foundations and public sector entities will work together to define the OER value proposition in a way that meets both sets of mandates and goals and is mutually beneficial regionally and globally,” says Paul.
Paul thinks that both foundation and public sector funding will increasingly look to achieve a formal learning outcome where credit is associated with OER,” he says. OER will be help spur other changes in our education system too, and continue to affect the dynamics of the teaching/learning environment. Stacey predicts: “Student-to-student and network-based learning will generate global OER education networks that will eventually prove to provide a better education than is currently available through existing traditional education providers.” Stacey reinforces the need to include students in the OER creation process, as they are the primary beneficiaries of open learning materials. “We’ve tended to see students as consumers of OER,” says Paul, “but I believe students will ultimately produce more OER than educators.” He predicts that someday students will get credit for producing course content OER. But, the demand for well-trained and credentialed educators isn’t going away. The role of a teacher will continue to evolve. Lecturing is out. Facilitating, mentoring, connecting students together in ways most productive for their learning is in. And critically important is the need for professionals to take on the role of assembling OER into sensible curriculum, and delivering it in a way that allows for ongoing assessment to take place.
Stacey believes there’s no one-size-fits-all vision for the future of OER. Open education can be transformative in a variety of ways, and it should be able to fit alongside more traditional environments too. He thinks it’s exciting to imagine the various possibilities, and has described one vision for how this might look as the University of Open. He also points to the work Wayne Mackintosh is leading around an OER University. Paul thinks that a quality education is a shared aspiration for everyone around the world. “We’re seeing OER change education from something defined by scarcity to something based on an idea of plenty,” he says. “OER, together with the ability to form global learning networks, makes education for all an attainable goal.”1 Comment »
Cathy Casserly by Carnegie Foundation for the
Advancement of Teaching / CC BY
The OpenCourseWare Consortium (OCWC), a community of over 250 member institutions worldwide committed to sharing their courses online, has voted to present Creative Commons CEO Cathy Casserly with the President’s Award for OpenCourseWare Excellence, a special recognition of her extraordinary contributions to the open courseware community. Prior to Cathy’s role as the CEO of Creative Commons and Senior Partner and Vice President of Innovation and Open Networks at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Cathy,
“served as director of the Open Educational Resources Initiative at The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and guided more than $100 million in support to increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of knowledge sharing worldwide. Casserly’s work helped raise global awareness of resources, participants and their projects.”
We are thrilled for Cathy to receive this honor and for her continuing work supporting open educational resources (OER) at Creative Commons. Cathy, along with other distinguished recipients, will be presented the award at the upcoming OCWC meeting in May, celebrating 10 years of open courseware.
The Open CourseWare movement has taken off around the world, powered by CC licenses. Materials from 2,000 MIT courses are available for reuse, translation, and remix under the CC Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike license (CC BY-NC-SA) and nearly 800 MIT OCW courses have been translated into other languages. The Open Courseware Consortium contains over 250 global member institutions and affiliates, including the African Virtual University, Japan OCW Consortium, Open University Netherlands, and China Open Resources for Education.2 Comments »
In large part due to Mozilla’s leadership over the years, the Open Web is in good health. Open standards and open formats are becoming the norm. This means anyone, anywhere can develop innovative applications that will work in any modern browser, without asking anyone for permission or paying any fees.* See Mitchell Baker (chair of the Mozilla board) on why Firefox is more than just a great browser.
Note that CC Search is no longer included by default in the Firefox search bar dropdown list. This is eminently reasonable from a user experience and business perspective, about which we’ll post more soon. If you want to add CC Search to your search bar, you can do so from the CC Search beta interface; feedback encouraged.
Congratulations and thank you to everyone at Mozilla and everyone who benefits from Mozilla’s work — that means all 2 billion people who currently have access to the net, and hopefully soon the 5 billion people who do not yet have access — understand why any barrier to participation is a barrier too high.
* Except where content and data are concerned; that’s where Creative Commons comes in. Today let’s celebrate the openness of the web at the standards/protocols/formats layer.3 Comments »
Last week we asked you to help support the Japanese relief effort. We would also like to highlight alternative ways you can help by pointing you to a few relief efforts that are using CC licenses.
OLIVE for quake survivors
OLIVE is a Wikipedia-like site that provides much-needed information for quake survivors in various languages. With thousands of people displaced from their homes in Japan, many are surviving in make-shift homes and shelters, with scant resources. OLIVE provides practical and creative ways on how to best utilize available resources, such as how to make a dish from a plastic bottle or empty can, how to preserve body heat with polystyrene or newspaper, and how to stay warm in cardboard house. You can help by contributing articles to OLIVE or translating existing articles–all of which are under CC BY.
Music compilations where 100% of proceeds are donated to Red Cross and other charities
Two projects are calling for net musicians to submit their music, graphic design, video, and photography for compilations where all proceeds will be donated to charitable organizations helping Japan, like the Red Cross. InternetLabel is calling for music submissions by April 1st and for art submissions by April 11. The InternetLabel compilation will be released under a CC BY-NC-SA license. Impurfekt, which is focusing specifically on art influenced by Japanese culture, is calling for submissions by April 15. The Impurfekt compilation will be released under a CC BY-NC-ND license.
Architecture for Humanity
Architecture for Humanity, a strong supporter of CC license use in its Open Architecture Network and for crisis recovery centers for Haiti and New Orleans, is asking for support for similar reconstruction building efforts in Japan.
OpenStreetMap set up a disaster information sharing site at www.sinsai.info in Japanese, in addition to an English landing page for the disaster where you can contribute to improving map data for Japan. Like all its data, OpenStreetMap’s data set for the Sendai region is available under CC BY-SA.
Google Person Finder
Although it doesn’t use CC, the Google Person Finder is an open source Google app that was developed in response to the Haiti earthquake and that has been adapted for the missing person database for Japan. You can use the Google Person Finder to search for loved ones, and find out more about how it works here.
Dear Fellow Creative Commoner:
A week ago, Japan suffered its most devastating earthquake and tsunami in modern history. This disaster has left thousands of people dead, many others injured and displaced, and an estimated 1.5 million more without access to power. Furthermore, the compounding catastrophe with the country’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant will affect the environment for decades.
Japan has long been at the core of the Creative Commons movement. It was the first country to port our licenses. Many of the most important commoners, including Yuko Noguchi, Chiaki Hayashi, Tomoaki Watanabe, Dominick Chen, and CC’s chairman, Joi Ito, have come from Japan.
All of us send our prayers to the Japanese people. But if you can send more than prayers, it would mean a great deal. Japan needs urgent help. Please do what you can. Your support will help in concrete ways, and will also be critical to raising the spirits of the Japanese people as they face the challenges ahead.
There are several worthy aid organizations to select from on Google’s Crisis Response page. And please consider contributing to Architecture for Humanity’s Japanese reconstruction effort.
Lawrence Lessig and the Creative Commons Team1 Comment »
As part of our blog series for the European Public Sector Information Platform (ePSIplatform) on the role of Creative Commons in supporting the re-use of public sector information, we have researched and published the State of Play: Public Sector Information in the United States.
Beth Noveck, former United States deputy CTO of open government and now a Professor of Law at New York Law School, provides an excellent overview of the report, noting that it is “an excellent report on open data in the United States” and “provides a concise and accurate primer (with footnotes) on the legal and policy framework for open government data in the US.” Abstract:
State of Play: Public Sector Information in the United States
This topic report examines the background of public sector information (PSI) policy and re-use in the United States, describing the federal, state and local government PSI environments. It explores the impact of these differences against the European framework, especially in relation to economic effects of open access to particular types of PSI, such as weather data. The report also discuss recent developments in the United States relating to PSI re-use, such as Data.gov, the NIH Public Access Policy, and new open licensing requirements for government funded educational resources.
The report is published on the ePSIplatform and also on our wiki (pdf). It complements our previous report, Creative Commons and Public Sector Information: Flexible tools to support PSI creators and re-users; both are available under CC Attribution.Comments Off
Safe Creative is a Spain-based global intellectual property registry that allows users to publicly assert and identify their rights over a work. Safe Creative supports CC licensing, so you can register* your existing CC-licensed works and license your new works that you register. Currently, Safe Creative has over half a million registered works and over 50,000 users. With their advanced search you can find CC-licensed works Safe Creative users have registered.
Recently, Safe Creative launched a new platform that allows creators to sell their works directly to users. As part of this new platform, Safe Creative has integrated the ability to donate a portion or all of your sales to two nonprofits: Creative Commons or Médecins Sans Frontières. After you register your work, you can choose to “Enable Licensing for Commons” and the percentage of the proceeds that you want to go to Creative Commons. A little info box explains CC to Safe Creative creators, and contains the following text:
Why would I want to donate a portion of my proceeds to Creative Commons?
Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that relies on the public’s support. If you have ever licensed your work under a CC license, or benefited from using the millions of free, CC-licensed works on the web, donating a portion of your proceeds will help to ensure that CC continues to develop, support, and steward the copyright licenses and tools that make sharing on the web possible.
Safe Creative has in the past supported Creative Commons by offering challenges during our annual campaign. It is cool that they have found a new innovative way to support Creative Commons as have others recently (if your company is interested in supporting our work, please get in touch) and we’re gratified to be one of two initial choices alongside Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders).
Check it out, and let us know what you think!
*Note that registration is not required to apply a CC license to your work. Publishing your work with a license notice, usually on the web, is all you need to do. In a sense, the web is the registry of CC-licensed works. However, digital copyright registries such as the one run by Safe Creative add value, especially to the extent registrations are exposed on the web, through making it easier to discover the provenance of works, and works themselves. These topics have been explored in depth at three CC technology summits, each of which Safe Creative has presented at.Comments Off
Where our $ came from in 2010
In an exercise in transparency and graphic design, we illustrate the source of the hands that fed us, including yours. We’re a nonprofit organization that happily provides our tools for free, and we rely on you, our international community of users and advocates to help us continue our work. With so many worthy causes in the world vying for your support, we are so grateful to all who have kept CC afloat and going strong for the past 8 years. We’d love to see these numbers grow, just as CC license adoption and use of our tools has grown steadily since 2002. Check out the full visual break-down of 2010 funds.
Open Attribute, a ridiculously simple way to attribute CC-licensed works on the web
For evidence that CC tools are laying the groundwork for a more open web, look no further than Open Attribute, “a suite of tools that makes it ridiculously simple for anyone to copy and paste the correct attribution for any CC licensed work.” The Open Attribute team (which includes our super stellar CTO Nathan Yergler) launched browser add-ons for Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome last month. Thanks to the magic of CC REL, the add-ons pull the metadata around a CC-licensed work to produce a formatted attribution that users can copy and paste wherever they need to. Learn more about how it works.
Have your own Creative Commons project? Learn how to get it funded
We are never short on good ideas, but how many of those ideas actually turn into something tangible? Now’s your chance to get serious with “Getting your CC project funded,” a free, online course set to run in April. The course consists of a series of workshops and seminars that will take you through the steps from an initial idea to having a finished project proposal for submission, including assistance in identifying and finding funding bodies and collaborations relevant for your project. You provide the idea; the course provides the guidance to turn it into a proposal that can’t be refused. Learn more.
In other news:
- The limited edition “Share” shirts designed by the Imaginary Foundation are running out. Get yours now!
- We now have a CC-curated page on Kickstarter! Check out all the cool projects that use our tools.
- R.E.M. launched a CC remix contest for “It Happened Today.” Upload your remix at SoundCloud.
- Remember that $2 billion fund for open education? Here’s the low-down for grant applicants.
- We published two policy reports: Creative Commons and Public Sector Information: Flexible tools to support PSI creators and re-users and State of Play: Public Sector Information in the United States.
- We signed an open letter to Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff in support of CC and the work of the Brazilian society and government for the cultural commons.
- Despite the unrest in the middle east, our Lebanese community is taking off!
- We reached an open movie milestone with the 4k release of Sintel under CC BY.
- And finally something to forward to all your educator friends: Open Content Licensing 4 Educators, a free online workshop on CC licensing, open educational resources, and copyright that starts March 21st.
Creative Commons is once again seeking a bright, enthusiastic student to work at the international headquarters 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 the intern’s skill & experience, as well as organization needs. If you are a currently enrolled law student interested in applying, please read the descriptions carefully and follow the instructions below.
In addition to contributing to real-time work projects, the intern will be invited to participate in external meetings, staff meetings, inter-organization discussions, and potential evening events. Staff will encourage the intern to also self-organize visits to local organizations, and to find ways to connect with various community members.
- The internship is open to students enrolled in law school, pursuing a JD, LL.B or LL.M. Ph.D candidates in area particularly relevant to CC’s work will be considered.
- The internship is 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 focus on intellectual property and copyright as relates to creative works shared on the internet.
- The internship will last for ten weeks from June 6 to August 12.
- The internships are full-time, temporary positions.
- Applicants should plan on spending the summer in Mountain View, CA.
- 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.
How to apply
Please see our Opportunities page for full details and information on how to apply.
Applications and questions can be sent to:
Aurelia J. Schultz (Miss)
The application deadline for Summer 2010 is 11:59 p.m. PST, Friday, March 18, 2011.
Thank you for your interest in our organization. Please NO phone calls.Comments Off
The newest license draft adapted to Irish law is ready for public discussion. A previous version of this license was published and opened for discussion and we are now seeking comments on the latest revised version.
To contribute a review or question regarding the license draft adapted to Irish law, please visit the BY-NC-SA 3.0 license draft page and click on the wiki’s discussion page to share your thoughts. You are also welcome to join and write to the CC Ireland mailing list, which will run in parallel to the wiki.
The public discussion is an open forum where everyone – from lawyers to active license users, from linguists to translators — is invited to contribute and improve the license texts. Comments should be submitted as soon as possible to allow enough time for review, so we encourage you to post to the list before the end of March 2011, when the discussion is scheduled to close.
Thanks to the ongoing efforts of Project Leads Darius Whelan and Louise Crowley with the support of University College Cork. We look forward to the discussion!
While CC is winding down porting as we prepare for version 4.0, we’re excited to see this work come to fruition given CC Ireland’s extensive work on the licenses. A huge thank you to the entire CC Ireland team for all their hard work.Comments Off