Tag Archives: Creative Commons

Top 10 Learning Tools – 2012

Are you familiar with the Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies (C4LPT) annual “Top 100 Tools for Learning” project? Led by Jane Hart, this is a collaborative effort in which learning professionals all over the world submit their top 10 tools for the year. This year more than 500 submissions were included.

I’ve contributed to the project over the last several years, but having missed the deadline for the latest list, I thought I’d go ahead and post my thoughts here. As a blogger, freelance instructional designer, and adjunct online instructor, these are the 10 tools that have been the most helpful to me over the past year (in no particular order):

  1. Google Search: What would we do without it? As a blogger I use Google to begin the research for almost every post I write. In the process I’ve become a student of analytics and changing algorithms. I recently completed Google’s open access Power Searching class and highly recommend it if you have the opportunity to enroll or use the posted resources.
  2. Blackboard: I love it and I hate it. Both the class I taught in the spring and another I assisted with this fall used Blackboard to deliver content to online students. While it’s not my favorite, I think an LMS at its most basic can provide a helpful hub for information and communication during an online class.
  3. Gmail: Email may be dead, but I sure am using it a lot these days to communicate with students, co-workers, and even to conduct asynchronous interviews for blog posts. I currently have more active accounts that I really want to count, and continue to be issued new ones with new contracts.
  4. Twitter:Perhaps my favorite on this list, I spend a lot of time on Twitter for a multitude of reasons: current events, industry news, network building, conference backchannels, keeping in touch with friends and colleagues, community-building and more. I also moderate a weekly chat focused on online learning and presented Twitter-related topics at several conferences this year.
  5. MS Word: Still my go-to for all things related to writing, I use Word to draft all posts here and at work, as well as for note-taking. Although I am using shared Google Docs more and more when collaboration is needed.
  6. Skype: I initiated Skype use this past year for virtual office hours with students and found several other groups asking me to join Skype meetings as well. I have also had a Skype phone number for the past several years and find it is more reliable (and has clearer reception) than my cell for work-related calls.
  7. WordPress: WordPress.com is home for this blog, and Inside Online Learning is powered by WordPress.org. One of the highlights of my year was presenting at WordCamp Miami in February and learning more about how to use WordPress from other speakers and participants representing a wide range of blog topics and web development skills.
  8. Google Chrome: As my favorite browser (although Firefox is a close second) Chrome has come a long way and just makes my work easier with a streamlined interface and great add-ons like Awesome Screenshot.
  9. Camtasia: Earlier this year I designed and developed an online course for CEUonestop (LinkedIn) which required screencasting. The Camtasia app was affordable and much more intuitive than I thought it would be, allowing me to quickly capture and edit resulting in a nice looking final product.
  10. Flickr: I continue to rely on the generosity of photographers providing use of their images with Creative Commons licenses. Flickr makes it easy to search for these via keyword and license type so that I can find items suitable for use in blog posts. I also try to add to the pool when I can.

Take a look at C4LPT’s final Top 100 list below, but don’t stop there. Go to the main page to explore more details about the submissions in the “Best of Breed” list and to see how this year’s tools compared to those submitted in 2011.

Image credit: (Top 10) iabusa, Flickr, CC:BY-SA

Create and Share Your Own Images

One of the many tasks involved in preparing content for delivery is locating and selecting appropriate images. Whether you are writing a blog post or developing a full academic course, images (drawings, photographs, charts, etc.) help tell a story, help to get the message across.

Where do you find images?

You may be lucky enough to have a graphic artist in-house or maybe a subscription to a stock images resource. But if you’re on a budget, you may be looking for other options – images that are available online with no fee for use. Creative Commons (CC) licenses are a popular way for photographers to make their work available for you to use. Here are a couple of ways to search for CC licensed images: Flickr and the Creative Commons search page.

Do you have images to share?

If you are interested in contributing, you can do so by creating your own online account and making your photos available – searchable and clearly labeled with your intent for their use. One option is @DailyShoot:

The Daily Shoot is a simple daily routine to motivate and inspire you to practice your photography, and share your results! It’s not a contest and there are no prizes. It’s simply about encouraging you to pick up your camera and make photographs.

Everyday @Dailyshoot tweets an assignment – an idea, a topic, to focus your efforts. You tweet a link to your photo for that assignment that includes the day’s hashtag, and it is linked to the site. For more about how it works, check out The Daily Shoot. If you post one photo per day you would end up with 365 contributions by the end of the year (next year, that is)! Even one per week would result in a gallery of 52. As a consumer of CC licensed images, now I can contribute to the pool.

Most of The Daily Shoot participants don’t post every day, but a couple do. You can browse their past photos on the site. It’s also interesting to see the differences and similarities in approach to each day’s assignment. As an example, take a look at 12/26/10 – “What fuels your creative process?”

I heard about this project at a conference in September and have wanted to give it a try ever since. Armed with a brand new camera (thanks, Adam!) I just started yesterday. I’ll be contributing via my Flickr stream.

Are you already sharing your images? If so, please let us know where! If not, consider joining in.

Image credit: gywst

Update! (12/3/11) The Daily Shoot decided to cease operations several months ago, but fortunately the organizers made their list of of prompts available via Google Docs: Daily Shoot Assignments. I managed to complete 150 assignments in the past year and have now maxed out my free Flickr account. While I consider upgrading to “Pro” I’m looking for a new source of prompts….any ideas? Please share them here!

Finding and Using Online Open Educational Resources

On June 22nd I’ll present a session titled Finding and Using Online Open Educational Resources (OER) to a group of online instructors as part of a professional development workshop series. The live presentation is to take place via Adobe Connect and the slides (with links to resources) are provided here via Slideshare.

My main objective with this presentation is to encourage faculty to seek out online content that has been made available for use in education and consider the pros/cons of adding OER to an academic course. The presentation introduces a  number of considerations for using this kind of content and I hope to spark some discussion about copyright and fair use.  This presentation also encourages instructors using open content to think about contributing their own content for others to use as well.

Do you have suggestions for sources of OER that you have used? Do you have any considerations regarding the challenges of incorporating OER into courses? Please reply with additional suggestions for us all. Thanks!

The Origin and Intent of Copyrights

This week I attended a live event via Adobe Connect in which David Brin presented – Education and Today’s Economy.  This was part of KU Village’s 2009 online conference.

Mr. Brin was an enthusiastic speaker and while I was not previously aware of his work (fiction, non-fiction, sci-fi, and political commentary) I was intrigued by the information presented on Patents and Copyrights. He pointed out that the origin of Patents and Copyrights was to create a system that encouraged people to share their innovations with the rest of society (Benjamin Franklin, I think?)  An individual could register his or her work, benefit from it for a specified period of time, and then it would be available for anyone.

Over time, Patents and Copyrights have become ways to keep your innovations from being shared. They protect the innovator’s rights and through extensions can go on and on.

This has implications in education as we struggle with intellectual property definitions and policies and explore the possibilities of open resources. Encouraging people to share their innovations, in a more open way, is a movement in education with the ability to impact a lot of what we do as course designers, developers, and instructors. This is especially the case as we work with technologies that are changing the way we do things at such a fast pace.

For more information on…

Open licensing options  – check out Creative Commons licensing  creativecommons.org/ both for your own work and to find work others have decided to share.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office – visit http://www.uspto.gov/

U.S. Copyright Office – visit http://www.copyright.gov/

Can we post this in the course?

Working as an instructional designer in a higher education setting to develop online courses, I find myself answering this question on a pretty regular basis. Deciding what is “Fair Use” can get complicated. What is okay to make available or present in a traditional classroom, may not be okay to post online. The act of adding it to a course website  is distribution and can violate the copyright of a document, presentation, video, recording…. Earlier this year I found a document that helps.

ARL’s Know Your Copy Rights website offers a helpful brochure subtitled: Using works in your teaching – What You Can Do: Tips for faculty and teaching assistants in higher education. This is a user-friendly, six page document that provides the essential information about using material in courses – face-to-face and online. Four factors are outlined to help you make a decision about using copyrighted works without permission. In brief:

  1. Purpose and character of the material – nonprofit, educational use? restricted access to students?
  2. Nature of the copyrighted material – published, out-of-print?
  3. Amount of the material used – part or entire work?
  4. Market effect of the material – is the material for sale?

The last page provides an easy matrix to assist you. I have urged faculty and course developers alike to review this if there are any questions at all. There are many shades of gray here, but the legal-speak is at a bare minimum. The author(s) are trying to assist those of us out here making these kinds of decisions without the benefit of a law degree.

This is a brochure of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), published in 2007. Thank you, ARL, for making this available for re-use under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License!

Creative Commons Licensing

Creative CommonsWith so many people already interested in providing and using open resources it is important I think that there is some type of organization to the movement. The non-profit group Creative Commons (CC) provides some leadership in this area, particularly in licensing of these resources. The CC website proclaims that the group is “dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright.”

While these various license types (there are more – these are just the “main” ones) seem to cover a lot of ground, there are still some areas left for interpretation. What kinds of materials can or should be licensed this way? CC recommends other options, such as Open Source Initiative, for open software licensing considerations.

Several other blogs have addressed the question of “how should I license my own original work?” The CC licenses provide some key issues to consider:

1) Commercial v. non-commercial – should others be allowed to offer the material for a fee?

2) Share alike – should others be required to make their versions and revisions of the original work available for yet others to revise?

3) Derivatives – should the original work be considered only as-is, as a whole, without changes or can the original work be modified or used in part?

Below is a summary of the primary types of licenses CC addresses. These get more restrictive as you move down the list.

Attribution (CC-BY)

This license type allows anyone to use your work in whole or in part as long as you are given credit in a way you specify. This material can be modified as well, as long as credit to the original author/creator is given. Commercial redistribution is okay.

Attribution – Share Alike (CC- BY, SA)

A little more restrictive, this license type has the same requirements as CC-BY, but adds the requirement that the new version of the work also be licensed this way, so that others may continue to use and share the material. Commercial redistribution is okay here, too.

Attribution – No Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)

This license type requires that the original be work be passed along in its original, complete form, with credit given to the original author/contributor. No modifications can be made. Commercial redistribution is still allowed.

Attribution – Non-commercial (CC-BY-NC)

This license prohibits commercial redistribution, allows for the original work to be modified or used in part, and requires the original author/contributor be acknowledged.

Attribution – Non-commercial, Share Alike (CC-BY-NC-SA)

Like CC-BY-NC, this license does not allow commercial versions be created. The original work can be modified and used in part. The original author/contributor must be given credit, and the resulting work must also be available under the same license, so that others may continue to use and share the material.

Attribution – Non-commercial, No Derivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Original works with this type of licensing can be redistributed, non-commercially, in their complete and original form, with credit given to the author. No modifications can be made.

image credit: jorgeandresem, Flickr