Sunday, 25 May 2014



OK, so back to reflecting on ocTEL Week 3 Webinar with Cable Green, Director of Global Learning at Creative Commons. 'Post 1' focused on the well-delivered Webinar, this 'Post 2' focuses on aspects of the content.

Creative Commons (CC) - makes it simple, easy and legal to share and reuse

With CC, Cable notes you don't give up your authorship/ownership rights, but rather share under the conditions that suit you, using licencing that is recognised around the world.

With the advent of digital resources, we needn't keep paying for producing or purchasing resources, but rather share digitally, resulting in low/no cost c/to creating and shipping hard-copy resources such as books.

Open Educational Resource (OER) - what makes a resource an OER?

  • must be freely available
  • must have the rights to:
    • REUSE    (as is)
    • REVISE    (modify)
    • REMIX      (put more than one OER component together to make a resource)
    • REDISTRIBUTE (share it back)
    • RETAIN    (get to keep a copy/can't be taken away from you, e.g. the copy that you remixed, etc.).
If you see a resource within a MOOC that is (C) - Cable gives the example of a Coursera resource - if you use it without permission you would be in violation of the law and you could be sued. Such a resource is not an OER.

Creative Commons (CC) - licencing codes

I've been using Creative Commons for years, but I did not know that putting the licence conditions at the end of a citation was the preferred CC method.

For example, after I found a suitable Flickr CC image, filtered by suitable licencing requirements to save time finding good images I couldn't use, once double checked I would tend to reference as: 

This practice was since modified (not long after the period of time when many Flickr URLs became exceedingly long...) to a more sightly version, such as:

Now, after Week 3 ocTEL Webinar:

Imperial Peacock by Nick Kenrick is licenced under CC BY-SA-NC

That is, after I filter for Flickr images with the CC licencing conditions I am after, I then double check the conditions via the symbols and associated link on the image page, I now also note the licencing conditions at the end of the reference in abreviated form as above, and as illustrated by Cable and supported by the CC website.

Note, the CC website page Best practices for attribution, has examples of referencing using letters such as 'CC BY-NC' or by using the hyperlinked full term, e.g. 'Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial'. I'm going with Cable's shorthand.

Licencing Condition
Public Domain Declaration
Line in 0
Share Alike
Circular arrow
No Derivatives
= sign
Non Commercial
Line through $

Examples of Creative Commons License Use

The CC Website illustrates how the licencing denotes the most open resources through to the most restricted resources via the Examples of Creative Commons License Use webpage.

Other useful tips from Cable Green

Cable was asked and responded to a range of really useful questions. I have heavily summarised them here, mashed together some of the discussions, and re-ordered and re-worded to my preference..!

Q: Is a CC licence good practice for blogs?
A: Yes. If you (C) it, then others can't copy and use it without gaining permission from you. If you (CC) it, then - depending on your licencing conditions - others can use it and reference you with a link back to your site.

Q: Is a University that charges students tuition fees a commercial entity and therefore cannot use NC resources?
A: The University charges for tuition not for the resource. If the Uni prints a 'CC BY-NC' book in bulk for students and charges cost recovery, they are not making a profit. If they charge above the cost recovery for such a book, then they are making a profit and would be violating the NC licence conditions.

Some academics put 'CC BY' only, as they want people to:

  • use the resource
  • reference and link people back to their own work (which would show people it's available freely and they don't have to pay)
  • modify and improve the resource as a dynamic resource (best to put 'CC BY-SA' if you want to require others to share modifications back to OER community) .

Q: Can I make up an OER from a mix of OER resources with differing licencing conditions?
A: Yes. Will need an overarching statement like:
     "Except where otherwise noted, everything in this book is under the Creative Commons
     Attribution-Noncommercial licencing conditions"
Then at each otherwise licenced area, note the discrete licencing conditions. Take great care if the resource is a well-mashed resource!

Q: What if the conditions of one resource within my new, remixed resource changes it's licencing conditions?
A: You can rely on the conditions at the time you used the resource (hence the 'RETAIN' clause), but if you go to renew the work, you have to look again at the licencing conditions.

Q: I want to share my stuff; how do I choose a licence?
A: Go to the Creative Commons Choose a Licence tab, and work through the steps.
There is no charge, no privacy detail collected, no register of listed works.

Q: I want to use OERs. Where do I start?
A: Start with The Open Professionals Education Network (OPEN). This is the biggest open project ever, and all is freely available, including educational items, simulations, etc. Others can freely use, modify (e.g. translate to local language is a common modification), and has sites from around the world. Also look at OpenStax College.

I really enjoyed this Webinar, have shared it with my Uni colleagues on Yammer, and it is going to be super useful to quote from!
Shiny happy people by Donna Cymek is licenced under CC BY-NC-ND

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