students

Students for Free Culture’s Open University Campaign

Fred Benenson, October 28th, 2009

Open University

Students for Free Culture plays a big part of the CC community and we frequently look to them for new hires and volunteers. That’s why we’re always excited to highlight the projects they’re working on. Kevin Donovan just posted on the SFC blog about their ongoing Open University Campaign, which is seeking to evaluate universities based on their openness in the following ways:

An open university is one in which:

  1. The research produced is open access;
  2. The course materials are open educational resources;
  3. The university embraces free software and open standards;
  4. The university’s patents are readily licensed for free software, essential medicine, and the public good;
  5. The university’s network reflects the open nature of the Internet,

where “university” includes all parts of the community: students, faculty and administration.”

The ultimate goal is to generate a report card for universities in order to help prospective students make informed decisions about the university’s copyright, patent, and technology policies.

SFC needs you to get involved if you fit into any of the following categories:

  • Are you a student who can research official university open access policies?
  • Are you passionate about FOSS and can develop a questionnaire for IT administrators about FOSS policy?
  • Are you statistically-inclined and can handle data on universities?
  • Are you a web developer who could create a public website for the Open University Report Cards?
  • Are you a graphic designer who could create posters to raise awareness on campuses?

You can join up by participating on the wiki, signing up for the Open University mailing list, or emailing board (at) freeculture (dot) org with suggestions or questions!

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Community, Innovation, and Rights on the Web Essay Contest

Jane Park, July 20th, 2009

CIENTEC, the Foundation for the National Center for Science and Technology based in Costa Rica, has announced its XI (eleventh) annual National Science Essay contest (the second to come out in both English and Spanish). The contest is open to all high school students around the country, inviting them to write on this year’s theme, “Community, Innovation, and Rights on the Web.” Essays from abroad are also accepted, but into a separate “guest” category. From the site,

“The Internet has transformed the lives of people, interconnecting them and giving them access to information, videos, and more. It fosters creativity and collaborative work in the development of new products, but often creates a conflict between easy access and the rights of authors. Some groups, like Creative Commons, have initiated a global movement to address this problem.”

The deadline for entries is September 15, 2009.

The same announcement in Spanish:

COMUNIDAD, INNOVACIÓN Y DERECHOS EN LA RED

La Internet ha transformado la vida de las personas, interconectándolas y dando acceso a información, música, videos y demás. Esta red potencia la creatividad y el trabajo colaborativo en el desarrollo de nuevos productos, pero frecuentemente genera conflictos entre el fácil acceso y los derechos de autor. Algunos grupos, como Creative Commons, han iniciado un movimiento global para facilitar el proceso.

Check out the full announcement, and last year’s winners here.

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EFF Teaches Copyright, without an agenda

Jane Park, May 28th, 2009

When it comes to copyright, our youth are too often bombarded with extremes. The entertainment industry giants propagate a skewed perspective by launching anti-copying educational programs, leaving out much of the balanced information necessary to cultivating user’s awareness about her real rights to a resource. This results in students thinking that they can react in only one of two ways: by breaking the law in the face of overbearing restrictions, or by doing absolutely nothing at all with copyrighted works, effectively stifling the learning that comes of creatively engaging with them.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation recognized this problem and went to work on a copyright curriculum that would not only be fair and balanced in perspective, but comprehensive in its scope by encouraging discussion and self-education. From the press release,

“Kids are bombarded with messages that using new technology is illegal… Instead of approaching the issues from a position of fear, Teaching Copyright encourages inquiry and greater understanding. This is a balanced curriculum, asking students to think about their role in the online world and to make informed choices about their behavior.”

ccLearn has taken a look at Teaching Copyright and we commend it. The curriculum is created and vetted by lawyers and promotes a balanced teaching perspective, clearing up much of the misinformation that is current industry propaganda. Like EFF Staff Attorney Corynne McSherry says, “Today’s tech-savvy teens will grow into the artists and innovators of tomorrow.” We need to help them “understand their digital rights and responsibilities in order to create, critique, and comment on their culture. This curriculum fills an educational void, introducing critical questions of digital citizenship into the classroom without misinformation that scares kids from expressing themselves in the modern world.”

The entire curriculum and accompanying resources on the Teaching Copyright website are licensed CC BY, which appropriately encourages students, teachers, and anyone else to adapt it to various educational needs and contexts.

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2008 Sparky Award Winners

Jane Park, February 3rd, 2009

The winners of last year’s Sparky Awards are now officially up online (see today’s press release). The Sparky Awards is “a contest organized by SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) and adopted by campuses nationwide that calls on entrants to creatively illustrate in a short video the value of sharing ideas.” The student winners were announced on January 24th in a public screening in Denver. The theme for 2008 was “MindMashup: The Value of Information Sharing”, and all four winning teams’ videos do a great job of expressing this value in the internet age via online videos, all CC licensed.

My personal favorite, and the grand prize winner, is:

To Infinity and Beyond
by Danaya Panya, Sebastian Rivera, Hemanth Sirandas, Uriel Rotstein, and Jaymeni Patel, University of Illinois at Chicago Honors College

Coincidentally, or fittingly, the winning video was the only video licensed under the attribution-only license (CC BY), the most open license encouraged for open educational resources (since you can remix it with most anything as long as you credit the original creators—what the Sparky Awards are all about!). “To Infinity and Beyond” also had the most student collaborators, demonstrating the value of teamwork and collaboration—an integral component of effective information sharing.

The first and second runners up are also very compelling (and dare I say funny). Licensed CC BY-NC-SA, they are available for you to remix with similarly licensed works:
How to Make Things Easier by Taejin Kim, Savannah College of Art and Design (CC BY-NC-SA)
Brighter by Christopher Wetzel, Ohio Northern University (CC BY NC-SA)

The fourth video, GrowUp, received the Special Merit Award and is licensed CC BY-NC-ND (ironically, you can’t mash this one up!) by Cécile Iran, Laurie Glassmann, Christophe Zidler, and Aldric de Villartay (University of Versailles-Saint Quentin, France)

Do check them all out on your lunch breaks; they are only two minutes or less! Perfect for internet age attention spans.

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Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education

Jane Park, November 11th, 2008

Today, the Center for Social Media at AU released a Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy in Education—a guide for educators and students to the use of copyrighted materials in the classroom. This guide is aimed at clearing up many of the urban myths surrounding copyright, as many educators mistakenly believe that the use of copyrighted photographs in the classroom is illegal, when in fact, fair use allows such uses without teachers even having to obtain permissions.

From last week’s press release

“A variety of content and media is now available online, but fear and misinformation have kept teachers and students from using this valuable material, including portions of films, TV coverage, photos, songs, articles, and audio, in the classroom.

Now, thanks to a coordinated effort by the media literacy community, supported by experts at American University and Temple University, teachers and students have a step-by-step guide that simplifies the legalities of using copyrighted materials in an academic setting…

The Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education outlines five principles, each with limitations:

Educators can, under some circumstances:

      1. Make copies of newspaper articles, TV shows, and other copyrighted works, and use them and keep them for educational use.

      2. Create curriculum materials and scholarship with copyrighted materials embedded.

      3. Share, sell and distribute curriculum materials with copyrighted materials embedded.

Learners can, under some circumstances:

      4. Use copyrighted works in creating new material

      5. Distribute their works digitally if they meet the transformativeness standard.”

A great video accompanies the guide, if you want a quick and entertaining primer on the issues the code addresses.

This project was funded by one of our own long-term supporters, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

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2008 Sparky Video Contest: “MindMashup: The Value of Information Sharing”

Jane Park, May 9th, 2008

SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), along with other sponsors, is organizing the second annual Sparky Awards, “a contest that recognizes the best new short videos on the value of sharing and aims to broaden the discussion of access to scholarly research by inviting students to express their views creatively.”

Last year’s winners were announced earlier this year; the winners and runners up were all university students. Though this contest is ideal for college students with time on their hands, anyone can enter, as long as the video is:

  • two minutes or less
  • completed between January 1 and November 30, 2008
  • narrated or subtitled in English
  • publicly available on the internet on a web site or digital repository
  • open for use under one of several Creative Commons licenses (details here)
This year’s theme is “MindMashup: The Value of Information Sharing.” The winner receives $1,000 along with a nifty Sparky statuette, while the runners up get $500 each along with an almost as nifty personalized certificate. Educators, this is a perfect assignment for class, summer or fall, since the deadline isn’t until November 30, 2008. Everyone else, happy mashing!
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