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Posts Tagged ‘creative

I am facilitating a free Creative Commons Seminar this Friday at the Ngee Ann Polytechnic library.

I do this to push the open learning and open educational resources (OER) movement forward even though I am not part of any organization now.

Openness is a core educational value for me, so I invest time and effort into it. But I had to ask myself what I do to be associated with these movements. After all, there are more impactful and bigger players on the open front.

Street Creative Commons by Giuli-O, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  Giuli-O 

I ruminate daily in this blog and use ImageCodr to embed CC-licensed images and their attributions to each blog entry.

When preparing resources for workshops, talks, seminars, or other events, I make sure to share them under a CC-licence whenever possible. In fact, my operating principle has been to not ask for permission to do this first, but to ask for forgiveness later. So far I have not had to do the latter!

When I was a faculty member at NIE, I received notification in 2010 from my alma mater for permission to share my dissertation under CC. I said yes.

As Head of the Centre for e-Learning, I led a series of e-Fiesta events. In 2013, one e-Fiesta focused on open learning and CC.

When NIE first launched its e-portfolio initiative, I convinced higher-ups to use the free and open platform, Google Sites, for hosting information, portfolios, and templates. As part of this initiative, I gave introductory lectures on CC to cohorts of preservice teachers in 2012 and 2013 before handing the reigns to someone else.

The great thing about being part of the open learning and OER movements is that we can contribute in ways big or small, international or local. The scale does not matter. The learners who benefit do.

It began with a tweeted request.

I responded by seeing if my dissertation on reflecting with blogs was still online. It was.

I wondered out loud if other universities and libraries took the same initiative to unlock information with Creative Commons (CC).

When I viewed the usage statistics, I discovered that my dissertation had been downloaded 505 times to date.

That is not a huge number or life-changing, but even if my dissertation helped someone do something right (or avoid doing something wrong), I am happy.

That is 505 people that have been helped so far who might have been on the wrong side of a firewall or did not have access to the wonderful library system in my alma mater.

And people still wonder why they should share using a CC licence…

Recently I read a kiwi teacher’s blog entry, Teachers Don’t Own Their Own Content!

This reminded me that most teachers do not seem to know that the copyright of whatever they create as employees of a school (on in Singapore’s case, the Ministry of Education) belongs to the school (or MOE).

In 2012, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) created a handy infosheet on Copyright for Educators.

Part 16 spells this out clearly:

The copyright to works created in the course of employment belongs to the employer. Hence, while a Government school teacher may be the creator of resources in the cluster repository, MOE is actually the copyright owner. Likewise, an independent school which directly employs its own teachers owns the copyright to works created by them in the course of employment.

When the resource creator leaves, the copyright is still owned by the employer (whether MOE or the independent school in this scenario). The school can continue to use the resources, as well as control how others use it.

Our kiwi counterparts have the New Zealand Government Open Access and Licensing framework (NZGOAL) which “seeks to standardise the licensing of government copyright works for re-use using Creative Commons“.

I could not find a similar umbrella body or policy for Singapore. But I know of or have found local university resources that are shared under open access, e.g., NUS, NTU, SMU.

UNESCO’s Global Open Access Portal neatly summarizes Singapore’s progress in being part of the movement that offers openly accessible resources. At the moment, our contributions seem to centre around Institutional Repositories (like the ones I linked to earlier) and a vague reference to a National Library Board (NLB) initiative.

There is so much more that we can do and there is no need to wait. As individuals, we can create and share under Creative Commons (CC) licences. Creative Commons Singapore seems up to date with version 4.0 licensing as of this entry.

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Here is something I shared a few years ago on CC with preservice teachers in NIE. It is shared under CC BY NC SA license, of course.

As a teacher or educator, you do not have the copyright to items you created. But that does not mean that you cannot take ownership of your work. With CC, you do that by specifying how others can use your work when you share preemptively.

Giving away so that you have stronger ownership might seem counterintuitive. However, all CC licenses include Attribution. You are tied to what you create even if the copyright of that artefact belongs to your employer.

The open and sharing-is-caring nature of CC is also aligned to the broader purpose of education. To free, and ideally, to offer what you have for free.

Let us say that you would like to offer video-based courses online. You propose this to someone at the highest level of management or to someone who is in charge of technology infrastructure. You are likely to be asked this question: How will you protect our copyright or intellectual property?

That question is built on at least two old premises. First, copyright is the golden standard of practice. Second, that sharing something online somehow puts us at a disadvantage.

There are other standards of practice that have already started challenging the notion of copyright. For example, there are the open resources movement and Creative Commons licensing.

Sharing resources can actually give an institute the upper hand.

If a resource is good, it helps build reputational capital. Putting a resource online time-stamps it so you can claim “who’s-on-first” ownership.

Time-stamping is not the only protection. If you create a video and share it on YouTube for example, that system will detect similarities between your video and those belong to other parties.

CeL has experienced this in two ways. After e-Fiesta 2013, we uploaded our videos to YouTube a keynote presentation by a speaker from Google. The YouTube system informed us it was similar to another video. Of course it was! The speaker had been recorded in other videos using similar slides and words.

When we put our own videos online, we often include soundtracks from stock music that we have purchased. We get the same notification from YouTube and we simply ask the company we purchased the music from to create an exception.

In both cases, we have not infringed on copyright. The videos were ours, the content can be linked or attributed to others if needed, and there was a policing system in place. Where there is an apparent copyright violation, it can be quickly contested, clarified, or resolved.

Long story short: Attempts to copy or modify work and pass these off as your own can be easier to detect when you put them online. The standards are changing and so must the practice.

It is Friday and time for something light for learning.

One of the features of having an open learning mindset is allowing one’s original work to be remixed. Here are two examples.

Original: “We Are Young”

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Original: “Dumb Ways To Die”

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The original videos were not created with open learning or remixing in mind. But the fact that the remixed versions are not taken down indicates the users’ need to remix and share, and the creator’s willingness to let that happen.

This in turn not only promotes creativity but also the mindset and culture of open sharing.

It’s Friday, so it’s time for something light-hearted.

This is Michael Bublé’s original music video, Haven’t Met You Yet.

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This is a spoof based on bad lip-reading. (Warning: If you have a detachable sense of humour, reattach it firmly before watching!)

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The spoof is creative and destructive at the same time. It’s a novel way of looking at the song but it destroys the original idea.

But that’s the point, isn’t it? Sometimes to be creative you have to destroy something else first. You have to destroy old mindsets, existing practices and bad habits.

While this might be uncomfortable for all parties concerned, there is at least one thing that can help: A sense of humour!

If you haven’t been living under a rock in Singapore, you’ll know the uproar that the Fun Pack Song for NDP 2011 caused. The uproar could probably rival the Kallang Roar!

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Thankfully the song has been pulled from the lineup, but not before some damage was done.

It made me wonder just how many yes-men and women there were up and down the hierarchy to allow the song to be performed (and danced to!) in the first place.

For me the silver lining from this episode has been some creatively critical responses.

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These videos show how current media level the playing field when it comes to being able to respond to things much larger than yourself.

In cases like the Fun Pack Song, tools like YouTube can be such natural social extensions. When are more educators going to leverage on such media so that learners create critically?

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