CC BY

CC Talks With: The Shuttleworth Foundation on CC BY as default and commercial enterprises in education

Jane Park, December 22nd, 2009

548234619_27cf7f47c4_o
Photo by Mark Surman CC BY-NC-SA

For those of you who don’t know Karien Bezuidenhout, she is the Chief Operating Officer at the Shuttleworth Foundation, one of the few foundations that fund open education projects and who have an open licensing policy for their grantees. A couple months ago, I had the chance to meet Karien despite a six hour time difference—she was in Capetown, South Africa—I was in Brooklyn, New York. Via Skype, I asked her about Shuttleworth’s evolving default license (CC BY-SA to CC BY), her personal stake in OER, and how she envisions us (CC Learn and Shuttleworth) working together. She also gave me some insights into three innovative open education projects they have a hand in: Siyavula, M4Lit, and Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU).

The conversation below is more or less transcribed and edited for clarity. It makes for great holiday or airplane reading, and if you’re pressed for time, you can skip to the topics or projects that interest you. This is CC Learn’s last Inside OER feature of 2009—so enjoy, and happy whatever-it-is-that-you-are-doing-in-your-part-of-the-world!

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Deadline extended for Talis Incubator for Open Education

Jane Park, December 17th, 2009

As an early xmas present, Talis Education has extended the deadline for the Talis angel fund to January 31, 2010, one full month later than the original deadline to give you a chance to hone your proposals (or begin writing them after the holidays). If you don’t remember, I blogged about the Talis angel fund for open education in August when it launched:

“Talis Education launched an angel fund for open education, called the Talis Incubator for Open Education. Talis Education is providing funds up to “£15,000 to help individuals or small groups who have big ideas about furthering the cause of Open Education. All Talis asks in return is that the project deliverables are ‘open sourced’ and the intellectual property returned back to the community, allowing it to be used freely. Talis won’t, and never will, exert any rights to the intellectual property or ideas that are funded.”

Talis Education is licensed CC BY. Check out the announcement for more details.

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Vital Signs Launches New Site with CC BY as default

Jane Park, December 4th, 2009

Vital Signs
Photo by Vital Signs CC BY

Yesterday, Vital Signs kicked off their new site with more than 300 supporters, including Maine’s former Governor Angus King, who spearheaded the initiative that resulted in a laptop for every 7th and 8th grader in the state. Vital Signs, a field-based science education program at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, started 10 years ago just before the turn of the century. Since then it has evolved to “[leverage] Maine’s laptop program to enable students to participate in a statewide effort to find invasive species, and to document the native species and habitats most vulnerable to future invasions.” The new site “provides a digital platform, including social networking tools, to facilitate a fluid exchange of knowledge between students and experts. It changes each student’s relationship with science from distant spectator to thoughtful participant.” You might remember our Back to School feature on them, or even my Inside OER interview with Sarah Kirn, the Manager of the project, from the spring of 2008.

Back then, CC Learn and VS tossed around a lot of ideas on how to get them to move towards openness, and now more than a year a later those ideas have come to fruition. Their new site leverages the research and data of more than 50 middle school classrooms who are paired with real scientists, researchers, and conscientious citizens to explore and address the issue of invasive species.

“Stewarding 32,000 miles of rivers and streams, 6,000 lakes and ponds, 5,000 miles of coastline and 17 million acres of forest is a job for every Maine citizen, young and old,” said Andrew Fisk, director, Bureau of Land and Water Quality, Department of Environmental Protection. “Engaging seventh and eighth grade students in the issue of invasive species promises to build a heightened level of public awareness and a meaningful body of scientific knowledge. You never know who will save the next lake from a milfoil infestation. The kids are a resource of significant magnitude for us.”

Now Vital Signs work can be leveraged by other states and around the world. The new site’s default licensing policy is CC BY, which means that anyone is free to copy, distribute, adapt, or remix VS work as long as they attribute Vital Signs. The issue of invasive species is not unique to Maine, and now Vital Signs can lead in opening up the work that will enable future solutions.

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WikiEducator, Connexions, and MediaWiki join forces in OER Remix Project

Jane Park, November 20th, 2009

In case you haven’t heard, WikiEducator‘s Wayne Mackintosh announced earlier this week that they were joining forces with Connexions “to provide educators with greater freedom of choice to mix and match the best of two OER worlds, namely “producer-consumer” models with more traditional work flow approaches and commons-based peer production.” WikiEducator and Connexions are two collaborative OER projects that use Creative Commons licenses. While WikiEducator, licensed CC BY-SA, focuses “on building capacity in the use of Mediawiki and related free software technologies for mass-collaboration in the authoring of free content,” Connexions, licensed CC BY, focuses on the collaborative development, sharing, and publishing of modular educational content that can be easily integrated into larger collections or courses. According to the announcement, the two projects will partner “to build import export capability between the Connexions and WikiEducator/Mediawiki platforms.”

It’s definitely exciting to see these two OER projects working together, especially since the collaboration is being generously funded by a grant from one of our own biggest supporters, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. There are various ways you can tune into its progress, including visiting the project planning node, subscribing to the Connexions mailing list, or helping them develop use case scenarios.

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Digital Open Winners Announced

Jane Park, October 14th, 2009

CC BY by the Digital Open

CC BY by the Digital Open

I blogged about the Digital Open in April, a new online community and competition that was accepting free and open technology projects from anyone 17 or younger through August. The competition was aimed at fostering an online and open community of youth by encouraging them to see the benefits of open source and open licensing.

Since then the jury has come in to announce eight grand prize winners. The first video profile is the Centralized Student Website from Fremont, California, by Raymond Zhong and Aatash Parikh. They’ve gone ahead and built a student portal for their high school, where virtually any school activity, especially student clubs, are accessed. Other winners include a Casa Ecologica in Spain and a Hybrid Airship. Be sure to check back for more videos.

Except where otherwise noted, all content on the Digital Open is available via CC BY. The Digital Open is the result of a joint partnership between the Institute for the Future, BoingBoing, and Sun Microsystems.

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“AcaWiki Increases Impact of Scholarly Research Using Web 2.0″

Jane Park, October 6th, 2009

AcaWiki, a project I briefly mentioned in Opening Education–the little things you can do, launches this week. Dubbed as the “Wikipedia for academic research,” AcaWiki’s mission is “to make academic research more accessible and interactive” by “[enabling] users to easily post and discuss human-readable summaries of academic papers and literature reviews online.” Founder Neeru Paharia (a doctoral candidate at Harvard Business School) explains that “cutting-edge research is often locked behind firewalls and therefore lacks impact. AcaWiki turns research hidden in academic journals into something that is more dynamic and accessible to have a greater influence in scholarship, and society.”

From the press release,

“AcaWiki’s work follows on the work of open-access publishers such as the Public Library of Science, as well as on the tradition of using new media to create public dialogue with science. Currently, it can cost up to $35 to download an academic paper—a significant cost, especially because thorough research on any topic usually entails downloading many papers. AcaWiki’s approach takes advantage of the fact that copyright does not apply to ideas, only to the written expression of those ideas. Scholars can thus post summaries of their or others’ research online as long as they are not copying verbatim beyond what fair-use laws permit. John Seely Brown, former head of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center and a leader in the open education movement, says, “AcaWiki complements [the movement’s] work and opens a whole new dimension of making research accessible to the public.”

Like OpenEd, AcaWiki is “built using Semantic MediaWiki, combining the sophistication of the semantic web with the ease-of-use of a wiki. The site enables comments, discussion, user profiles, and tagging.” All AcaWiki content is available via CC BY.

AcaWiki also has some supporters in common with ccLearn and CC. Not only is AcaWiki starting with seed funding from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, but its board members include Mike Linksvayer, vice president of Creative Commons, and John Wilbanks, vice president of Science Commons.

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Open Education: First meeting of CC leads in Latin America

Jane Park, September 23rd, 2009

Last year Latam Commons 2008: Public Domain, Creative Commons, and Open Education was the first meeting of CC leads in Latin America, and also the first meeting to focus specifically on open education and OER of its kind. Though I blogged briefly about its success in December, the fruits of the meeting have shown itself over time, as Latin America has been working towards greater openness in education and otherwise, with our very own Carolina Botero joining as a ccLearn liaison for that region of the Spanish-speaking world.

Now, the particular results of that first meeting are recorded for the first time, in both English and Spanish in the same report, Open Education: First meeting of CC leads in Latin America. The report was a joint production of CC Latin America and ccLearn, and is licensed CC BY so it can be further translated into other languages sans the hassle of a middleman. We urge you to check out the summary of the first meeting. As we continue to acquire better information about the open education issues in the Spanish speaking world, we hope to better facilitate communications within and beyond the region; for example, productions like this and translations of relevant CC blog posts should ideally reach interested people regardless of where they live or what language they speak (and read).

Speaking of blog posts, two more Back-to-School blog posts are now available in Spanish, Back to School: DiscoverEd and the Back to School Conclusion: The Open Trajectory of Learning. The translated versions are posted just below the English, and as more translations come in, we will add them to the original posts. All relevant blog posts will be tagged Latin America, so that you can see Latam open education news at anytime in one place.

And in Spanish, thanks to Carolina Botero and CC Latin America:


Educación Abierta: Primera reunión de líderes de CC en América Latina.

El año pasado tuvo lugar la primera reunión de líderes de CC en América Latina: Latam Commons 2008: Dominio Público, Creative Commons, y Educación Abierta. Esta fue también la primera reunión que se enfocó específicamente en educación abierta y REA (Recursos Educativos Abiertos, OER por sus siglas en inglés). Aunque ya se había blogueado brevemente sobre su éxito en diciembre, los resultados de la reunión se han ido mostrando con el tiempo, América Latina ha venido trabajando hacía una mayor apertura tanto en educación como en otros temas, al punto que Carolina Botero se unió oficialmente como enlace para la región hispanoparlante.

Ahora, los resultados particulares de esta primera reunión aparecen por primera vez, tanto en español como en inglés en un mismo informe titulado Educación Abierta: Primera reunión de líderes CC en América Latina. El informe fue una producción de CC América Latina (ccLatam) y ccLearn, se encuentra licenciado CC BY por lo que puede ser traducido a cualquier otro idioma sin intermediarios. Los invitamos a revisar el resumen de esta primera reunión. De otro lado, una vez tengamos una mejor idea sobre los temas de educación abierta que le interesan a los hispanoparlantes podremos concentrarnos en comunicaciones más efectivas, por ejemplo, en lograr que producciones como ésta y traducciones de entradas del blog de CC relevantes para esta audiencia puedan llegar a sus miembros.

Respecto a las entradas en el blog aprovechamos para contarles que hay dos nuevas entradas de la serie Regreso al Colegio están disponibles ahora en español: De Regreso al Colegio: DiscoverEd y De Regreso al Colegio, conclusiones: El camino abierto para el aprendizaje. Las versiones traducidas se agregan al final de la entrada en inglés y, a medida que otras traducciones lleguen las iremos agregando allí. Todas las entradas de este tipo en el blog serán etiquetadas Latin America, para que puedan registrar las noticias de América Latian a cualquier hora en cualquier lugar.

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Food Safety Knowledge Network calls for OER

Jane Park, September 10th, 2009

The Food Safety Knowledge network is seeking CC licensed open educational resources in the area of food safety. From their announcement:

“With the increasing demand for safe food and the growing globalization of food production and manufacturing, there is a great need for no-cost, accessible training and educational resources for food safety professionals, especially those working in developing countries where such access is not readily available. Michigan State University and the Global Food Safety Initiative have partnered together to create the Food Safety Knowledge Network (FSKN), a directory of open educational resources in the area of food safety, which will make quality content easily and efficiently findable.

FSKN will use ccLearn’s DiscoverEd search tool to draw resources from reliable sources. These materials will be curated by experts in the field as well as aligned to a set of core competencies for food safety managers so that the users can identify the specific area the resource covers as well as trust the quality of the content. This fall, the Food Safety Knowledge Network will be pilot tested to support implementation of supplier training at the pre-certification level in developing countries including India and China.

If you have or know of food safety resources to share, please contact Sunnie Kim at kiml@msu.edu.”

All resources that the FSKN integrates into DiscoverEd will have a CC license, with all FSKN site content available via CC BY.

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CC Talks With: Back to School: Peer 2 Peer University and the Future of Education (an interview)

Jane Park, September 1st, 2009

As students around the world return to school, ccLearn blogs about the evolving education landscape, ongoing projects to improve educational resources, education technology, and the future of education. Browse the “Back to School” tag for more posts in this series.

A recent emigrant to New York, I experienced the first turn in weather on the east coast marking the transition from summer to a fast approaching fall. Though a lovely relief from the hot, muggy season that has persisted here for the last few months, I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of sadness. Many students all over the world are feeling this same twinge, mingled with excitement, as their summer vacations skid to a halt. No more lazy, hazy days in the sun—instead, it’s time to hit the books and lockers, classrooms and lecture halls.

This is the vision of school we have had with us for ages. A first grader, when asked to draw school, usually draws a little red school house with a bell, or a teacher standing at her desk, with an apple for added effect. However, this traditional picture is hardly where the future of education is headed, as new technologies and mediums of communication, like the Internet, have already revolutionized the way we interact, learn, and live.

CC BY by Philipp Schmidt

CC BY by Philipp Schmidt

Peer 2 Peer University is one initiative that acknowledges this fact—that the world has already changed, and not everyone is going to settle for the traditional modes of teaching. First of all, not everyone can afford to dole out the thousands of dollars required for a higher education, and secondly, not everyone has the time to—those of us with full-time or several part-time jobs, families, and other responsibilities, especially.

P2PU, in their own words, is sort of like an “online book club for open educational resources.” It’s “an online community of open study groups for short university-level courses… The P2PU helps you navigate the wealth of open education materials that are out there, creates small groups of motivated learners, and supports the design and facilitation of courses.” Unlike formal universities or distance education, P2PU’s courses are all defaulted under CC BY, which means anyone can access, share, adapt, and redistribute them. In fact, the founders are more than happy for others to adapt the model they have begun to new and successful ways of thinking about education’s future.

What do you think is the future of education? P2PU co-founder Philipp Schmidt answers the big question and more.

P2PU has been getting a ton of attention lately. Courses are set to start on the 9th! What are you hoping to gain from these first six weeks? What are you most excited about?

This is the first time we will run courses. We have been thinking a lot about how to make sure participants get a lot out of the experience, but this is the real test. I am sure we’ll discover many things we did not anticipate at all—and I look forward to learning as much as the participants. This is an amazing learning experience not just for the participants, but also for ourselves.

I am most excited by the fact that we seem to be providing something that many people from all over the world find useful and want to participate in. One person is taking the Copyright for Educators course and intends to get credit from his university for it. The fact that he is thinking about the course in his own context and trying to “hack” the system in a way that makes sense for him is awesome. This is exactly what we were hoping to see. Another person said that she had always wanted to take a course about cyberpunk literature, but couldn’t find a place to take one. To realize that we can provide a type of learning experience that people are looking for and which simply doesn’t exist elsewhere, is incredible.

There’s so much speculation around the future of formal education. What are your thoughts on it? What will be P2PU’s role in this changing educational landscape?

It is clear to me that the education landscape will change dramatically. I should mention that I am a huge fan of the university as an institution where young people spend a few years learning and immersing themselves into knowledge. It’s wonderful and I wouldn’t want to miss it. However, learning is not just what happens in universities and there will be new and different organizations providing many of the components that today’s universities offer as a package. There are two areas where P2PU could fill a gap. One is to create the social learning experience that will make open educational resources more useful to more people. The other is to provide forms of recognition for informal learning—this could be by enabling pathways to formal credits or by creating a community based reputation.

What do you have to say to those who confuse P2PU with distance learning? How is P2PU more than that?

The core of P2PU is social learning—working with others who are interested in the same topic as you. The fact that it happens by distance is almost secondary and we are hoping to have local off-line groups joining the P2PU community in the future. Distance learning is a broad term, but too often it is used in the context of what I would call industrialized education. Content is delivered to students—either by an online teacher or in the form of course materials designed for self-study. Knowledge is considered as something that can easily be measured, like weight or height. It is a totally different model from what P2PU is doing.

All P2PU courses are licensed CC BY. Why CC BY?

The pilot phase materials are licensed CC BY because that places the least amount of restrictions on others who might want to use and re-mix our content. However, the licensing choice is still a big debate. Some members of the community feel that CC BY-SA better reflects their desire to create a global knowledge commons. It’s one of the topics we will discuss at our upcoming workshop and we will make a final decision there.

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Frances Pinter from GOOD’s “We Like to Share” Series

Jane Park, August 31st, 2009

We’d like to point out GOOD’s latest interview from its “We Like to Share” series by Eric Steuer—”Frances Pinter on the (Academic) Value of Sharing.” Frances elaborates on Bloomsbury Academic‘s decision to license their academic publications via CC BY-NC, academics’ need for exposure, and the changing landscape in publishing,

“So much of academic output is now available on the web, and when you talk to academics they are not 100 percent happy with how difficult it is becoming to find their works. They are looking for tools; a digital means of selecting, filtering, and ranking the materials they are using and recommending. We are actually in a period of transition where we are still relying on the old, but wanting to experiment with the new. People like myself who spend a lot of time with the open access crowd can kind of forget there are a lot of academics who aren’t so vocal, who are primarily interested in producing their content, getting materials in front of their students, and getting their promotion and their recognition for work that they produce.

In this period of transition there is a lot of investment required in experimenting with new technologies. And with the experimenting of new technologies, we have to make sure the recognition and the openness is absolutely essential and part of it.”

The interview is also available in audio, and if you want to learn more about Frances and Bloomsbury Academic, be sure to check out the longer ccLearn interview with her from last year, as part of our Inside OER series.

All GOOD “We Like to Share” interviews are available to share via CC BY.

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