Commons News

Peer 2 Peer University Launches Second Pilot

Jane Park, February 18th, 2010

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.

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Search and Discovery for OER

Nathan Yergler, February 16th, 2010

One of the issues that comes up repeatedly when talking about open educational resources (OER) is search and discovery. CC licenses provide the legal basis for sharing OER, but there’s a large technical component to sharing, as well. Publishers want to make sure their work is visible to users, and learners or educators need to be able to find resources relevant to the subject they’re interested in. Too often web scale search engines don’t do suffice: the amount of OER compared to the entire web is small, so the information you’re actually looking for is lost in the flood.

Last summer, CC, supported by Open Society Institute, organized a meeting of individuals working with OER repositories and tools to discuss the state of search and discovery for OER. There are many efforts under way looking at this issue, and the purpose of the meeting was to examine how these efforts can be made interoperable. For example, some countries are building national repositories, where the answer to the question is “put your OER in this big box”, while others — including Creative Commons, through our prototype DiscoverEd — are focusing on indexing a subset of the web, and trying to make results more relevant. We wanted to talk about how these different approaches can work together, so that consumers are able to find the resources they’re seeking, no matter where they’re located on the web.

What we discovered is that regardless of the approach being taken to solve the search issue, there are certain things that could be identified as best practices for publishers. We’ve pulled these together as an initial outcome from the meeting: Towards a Global Infrastructure For Sharing Learning Resources. As the title implies, this is the first step to building the interoperability needed to make OER discoverable. We’re going to be continuing examining these issues as part of the AgShare project, among others. If you want to keep up with that work as it develops, you can subscribe to the oer-discovery mailing list.

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Tonight! Live broadcast of ccSalon SF at 7:30pm PST

Allison Domicone, February 16th, 2010

Can’t make it in person to tonight’s salon at PariSoMa in San Francisco? Not to worry, you’ll be able to participate virtually thanks to VidSF, who will be broadcasting the event. Tune in at 7:30pm PST to hear panelists CEO Joi Ito, Arab World Media & Development Manager Donatella della Ratta, International Project Manager Michelle Thorne, and Global Voices Outreach Director, David Sasaki discuss how globally diverse communities use Creative Commons, as well as challenges faced in various regions and projects around the world.

Check out the event posting on Upcoming and Facebook.

CC Salons are global events, and anyone can start one, no matter where you live. We encourage you to check out our resources for starting your own salon in your area.

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FrostClick/FrostWire Update

Cameron Parkins, February 12th, 2010

Last time we checked in on FrostWire, an open-source Bit Torrent and Gnutella client, we noted a distinct promotion of CC-licensed music and content to their community. This push has grown drastically in the months following with FrostClick, FrostWire’s curated blog/directory, constantly featuring new and exciting work released under the full spectrum of our licenses.

Two recent releases in particular highlight the FrostWire community’s appetite for open and free music. Female rapper Kellee Maize’s Aligned Archetype, a CC BY licensed hip-hop record, has already received over 100,000 downloads from the FrostClick community since its debut last week. Derek Clegg’s KJC, a CC BY-SA licensed indie-folk effort, has received over 25,000 downloads in just three days of promotion. These numbers are inspiring to say the least, illuminating the power of curation within communities.

FrostClick is constantly featuring fantastic content, so be sure to check their blog for regular updates.

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Job: Metrics Engineer

Jennifer Yip, February 12th, 2010


Photo: Metric mania by batega / CC BY

Like code and numbers? Creative Commons is working to make its websites more metrics-driven and data and reporting on CC adoption globally and within fields such as Open Educational Resources and Open Access publishing more available and regular.

We’re seeking to fill a contract metrics engineer position immediately. Engineers with knowledge in Python, PHP, SQL, JavaScript and strong analytical skills are strongly encouraged to apply. Time commitment is flexible. Local (San Francisco) candidate is preferred, but a remote contractor with excellent references and communication skills may be considered. We are accepting applications on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

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Bing Maps Streetside Photos

Jane Park, February 12th, 2010

Yesterday, Bing Maps pointed out a new application—Streetside Photos—that it added to its spatial search. Streetside Photos pulls CC licensed images from Flickr to use them in a transformative way—as part of mapping tools that help you navigate the world on different visual levels. Chris at Bing Maps says it best,

“So, you have all these killer photos of different cities around the world just sitting on some hard drive or server and the best you can do with them is send them to friends as is, right? Isn’t it funny that the photos you tend to zip through are the ones with no people in them, but when you were there man it was a cool shot that you just HAD to capture? Well, we’re giving those photos some love (and context) with our latest mash-in to the Bing Maps Application Gallery. We’ve just rolled out a new application that is currently in a tech preview phase that pulls photos from Flickr®, associates them with Bing Maps Streetside photos and then overlays them by stretching the photo to form fit where in the world it belongs. The new application called Streetside Photos is currently available in Seattle, San Francisco and Vancouver (Canada) – (hello, Olympics!!) to view your Flickr photos in a whole new way.”

Bing Maps is a great example of leveraging what CC licenses enable—in this case the ability to reuse and repurpose photos in creative ways that also serve a functional purpose, to better inform people about the cultural landscape of a place. Who doesn’t want to see the awesome orange skeleton from a past Carnaval in SF?

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FMA Guest Curator: Machtdose

Cameron Parkins, February 12th, 2010

Continuing our guest curation series at the Free Music Archive is Machtdose, a German podcaster with an incredible ear for CC-licensed music. A feature in Phlow Magazine gives some welcome background on the Machtdose team, framing the influences – musically and otherwise – at work in their mix. Check it out at our Free Music Archive portal:

We discovered the wonderful world of netaudio and netlabels some years ago. From the start we were fond of the idea of freely distributed music and how Creative Commons gave license models for it. Since 2005 we have done a monthly podcast, presenting our favorite tracks from netlabels all over the world. The netlabel scene is so rich in terms of sounds, styles and personalities that we’re always coming back for more.

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CC Talks With: Brooklyn Museum

Cameron Parkins, February 5th, 2010

Regarding openness and sharing, the Brooklyn Museum is an exemplary institution. They are major contributors to The Commons on Flickr, license their online image collection under a CC Attribution-NonCommerical license license, provide API access to this collection, and recently ran a CC-licensed remix contest with Blondie‘s Chris Stein. Needless to say, we were eager to catch up with Shelley Bernstein, Brooklyn Museum’s Chief of Technology, and learn more about how they are using our licenses to open up their catalog of amazing work, shaping the role museums play in a digital age in the process.

Can you give our readers some background on your role at the Brooklyn Museum? BM’s Twitter page describes you as the “Museum’s Chief Geek” – what does that entail?

Officially, I’m the Brooklyn Museum’s Chief of Technology, which means I work with a team of folks here to manage the Brooklyn Museum’s web presence, our gallery technology, and our computer network.

BM’s digital stamp is impressive – an active blog, social network presence, and the 1stfans program in particular all point to an organization that uses technology to better engage its community. What is the benefit, from your end, to this sort of interaction?

A big part of the Brooklyn Museum’s mission is about growing community and visitor experience, so much of what we do online closely ties into that. The blog, the social networking and 1stfans all help put a personal face on the institution and, we hope, allow visitors a chance to see what goes on here direct from staff and interact with us on a very personal level. This kind of engagement grows a more natural relationship with our constituents and one that we hope makes the institution very accessible.

BM licenses all of its images under a CC Attribution-NonCommerical license. Why did you choose this license and what has the experience been like? Have there been any interesting cases of re-use?
Read More…

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“Python for Informatics” Open Textbook Remixed in 11 Days

Timothy Vollmer, February 5th, 2010

Image: dr-chuckCC BY

Chuck Severance, clinical professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Information, recently published a new textbook in 11 days because he was able to remix an existing textbook. The book, Python for Informatics: Exploring Information, is currently being used in his winter semester Networked Computing course. The textbook is based on the openly licensed book Think Python: How to Think like a Computer Scientist by Allen B. Downey. Students are able to take advantage of the University Library’s Espresso Book Machine to print on-demand copies for approximately $10. Python for Informatics is available under a CC BY-SA license.

Severance explains, “the book is a cool example of a situation where I’ve finally got to the ‘remixing’ bit of the Open promise.” The first 10 chapters are done and eight more are planned for completion by April 2010. Read more of Chuck’s thoughts about remixing an open book.

Creating this open textbook was a part of a larger effort by Chuck to support his course with openly licensed  content, and current versions of lecture slides and videos are published via the PythonLearn website.  In a past iteration of the course, Chuck went through the dScribe process developed by Open.Michigan to create an OER version of SI 502, available under a CC BY license.

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Victorian Government Commits to CC as Default Licensing System

Michelle Thorne, February 5th, 2010

The UK government recently made a splash with its move towards opening government data. Now CC Australia’s Jessica Coates shares a promising government initiative in her home country. The Victorian Government has become the first Australian government to commit to using Creative Commons as the default licensing system for its public sector information (PSI). Many of its reports and other works will use CC BY, which she explains is becoming the preferred license for Australian PSI.

The commitment is part of the Government’s response to its Economic Development and Infrastructure Committee’s Inquiry into Improving Access to Victorian Public Sector Information and Data, which recommended that the Victorian Government adopt a “hybrid public sector information licensing model comprising Creative Commons and a tailored suite of licences for restricted materials.”

Specifically, the response (which is under CC BY-NC-ND) states at p.8 that:

he Victorian Government endorses the committee’s overarching recommendation that the default position for the management of PSI should be open access. The Victorian Government further commits to the development of a whole-of-government Information Management Framework (IMF) whereby PSI is made available under Creative Commons licensing by default with a tailored suite of licences for restricted materials.

As far as we are aware, this is the strongest commitment to Creative Commons implementation made by any Australian government. While there have been a number of excellent CC-friendly recommendations coming out of recent government inquiries – notably the Government 2.0 and Venturous Australia reports – these are yet to be officially adopted. And while there are some excellent implementation projects – the Victorian Government specifically mentions the Australian Bureau of Statistics and Queensland’s Government Information Licensing Framework – these are still limited to individual agencies.

We’ll be very excited to see where the Victorian goes from here.

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