This past weekend (April 28- April 30, 2017), Creative Commons held their global summit in Toronto. There was a packed program of sessions, workshops, keynotes, etc. over the three days. Here are a few of my highlights from the Summit.
The first day of the Summit got off to a spectacular start with Ryan Merkley’s (CEO of Creative Commons) announcement of the 3D printing of a column from the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria. This tetrapylon is a copy of one that was destroyed in 2016. More information about this project can be found on the #NewPalmyra website.
This story was featured on the CBC National on Wednesday May 3 (at the 36:45 minute mark)
Can you Plant That Seed?
Tom Michaels (University of Minnesota, Dept of Horticultural Science) asked this question when talking about preparing a bright red pepper for eating. When you have trimmed, cored and sliced the pepper, can you go ahead and plant the seed? Fifty years ago the answer to this question would be “Yes”. Today the answer is “Maybe” as many large plant breeders have placed limitations on what you can do with seeds. Thirty years from now we do not want the answer to be “No”, so we need an alternative to patent-protected seeds sold by large agricultural companies. Enter the Open Source Seed Initiative (OSSI) which aims to create open source varieties of crop seeds.
Since seeds do not lend themselves well to software licenses, other options were considered to ensure that at least some seeds are always available for sharing and are not locked by intellectual property rights. The following simple pledge was developed to provide an alternative to the legal restrictions on many seeds:
“You have the freedom to use these OSSI-Pledged seeds in any way you choose. In return, you pledge not to restrict others’ use of these seeds or their derivatives by patents or other means, and to include this pledge with any transfer of these seeds or their derivatives.”
Open Syllabus Project
I caught the latter part of this presentation about the Open Syllabus Project software that mines the syllabi from millions of courses, primarily in the United States but also with representation from Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand, to surface the texts being taught in these courses.
From the OER perspective, the data surfaced via the Open Syllabus Explorer, software that mines the data collected by the project, gives a clear picture of which public domain works are heavily used across the college and university curriculum and would be good candidates for including in open text projects.
The list to the left was generated by the Explorer and shows the top ten titles appearing in Canadian syllabi as of early May, 2017.
Future versions of the project will include a syllabi map, bar charts, ability to see changes over time, metadata improvements and more.
Creative Commons Certificates
This session introduced a new and exciting certification initiative from Creative Commons. This is not going to be a read some text, complete some disposable assignments and answer a few questions course, but rather a big questions, applied practice, reflection, creating and sharing learning experience. The bank of assignments being developed for the program borrows many positive characteristics from the popular DS106 (Digital Storytelling) course which challenges participants to take their learning to a higher level.
Currently there are four certificates planned: a Core Certificate and three sector-based (Library, Education and Government) Certificates.
The Creative Commons Certificates aren’t quite ready for prime time yet, but you can check them out, start thinking about how you might complete the assignment, or provide feedback on the project.
The Capturing the Community of Photographers session highlighted two recent photo sharing projects. Unsplash, based in Montreal, has created a collection of high-resolution public domain photographs that you can use as you wish. All photos published on Unsplash are licensed under Creative Commons Zero which means you can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos for free, including commercial purposes, without asking permission from or providing attribution to the photographer or Unsplash. Attribution would be a great way of thanking the photographer and Unsplash for making the images freely available.
This photography app is Government of Canada project which received funding as part of the Canada 150 celebrations. The app is designed to let Canadians take pictures of the country and upload them to a living archive. Coming soon to a phone near you.