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certs-team
CC Certs Team by Creative Commons, CC BY

In order to better teach open tools and practices to communities around the world, Creative Commons has developed open educational resources and a certification program called the CC Certificate. CC’s Senior Counsel Sarah Hinchliff Pearson is now leading the project with a group of researchers, writers, and instructional designers. The project is funded by the Gates Foundation and the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

The CC Certificate program is a training program that leads people through the basics about the organization, copyright law, and the CC tools. The goal is to equip people with the knowledge and skills they need to advocate for and support adoption of CC licensing in their work and creative pursuits.

There are a wealth of opportunities to tailor the certificate to specific audiences. Initially we’re focusing on two groups: academic librarians and educators. The certificate for these two segments will run as a 12-week online course on Canvas, facilitated by an instructor fluent in the issues and opportunities surrounding CC licensing and open collaboration. The majority of the content will cover the basics of copyright and open licensing, and participants will be expected to choose either the academic librarian or educator track because the final unit will be domain-specific. The content will include online discussions, quizzes, and learning activities throughout to help solidify concepts and allow learners to demonstrate their understanding. The course will be entirely online, but CC may eventually offer an optional in-person session as a capstone offering at the end of the course. Upon successful completion, students will receive a certificate from Creative Commons.

Of course, the underlying course content will be freely available to the public and CC-licensed, including text, images, and videos. The content covers Creative Commons as a whole – the organization, the tools, and the movement. We are treating this as a chance to tell the full story of what CC is and what we do. The materials include sections on the basics of copyright law, many of the ins and outs of CC licenses, practical information about how to use the licenses and how to use CC-licensed work, information about the values connected to use of CC, and case studies about what it looks like in the real world. For a full preview of the course topics, see the current syllabus here.

The full beta test of the 12-week course will begin in January, with the official certification program launching after the Global Summit from April 13-15 in Toronto, Canada. We will be running one library-specific track and one education-specific track during the beta phase and will be asking participants to help us evaluate and shape the content. If you are interested in participating, please fill out this interest form.

We expect the CC Global Network will play a crucial role in this program. In the future, we hope network members can be certified in order to help run the course in their parts of the world.

Over the course of the next year, we will be exploring customization of the project for three different audiences: GLAM professionals, lawyers, and governments. An early, abbreviated version of the certificate beta has already been delivered to more than 150 academic librarians in the US, with great success. We are anxious to expand the program to fit a greater variety of professions, and to work with and empower the future leaders of the commons. Any questions, comments, or suggestions? Get in touch with us via Slack or Twitter.

For even more CC content, please sign up for our email list.

The post CC Certificates spring into action appeared first on Creative Commons.

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cc-on-slack

Almost a year ago, we announced that our community’s real time communications were migrating from IRC to Slack. As we pass 1,000 active users, we want to take a moment to give gratitude to our community for making it happen.

active users

1,000+ active users

More than 450 of our users joined Slack in our first month and a half, an incredible lift for us. Read more about our first month of Slack on the blog.

We’ve grown consistently since then, but our next big influx of community came this week, when our Open Education Platform launched. #cc-openedu is now our most populous channel outside of #general and #announcements, with 167 participants collaborating daily in the channel. We expect an increasing number of people signing up in all our platforms with the launch of our exciting new Global Network Strategy.

Our community as a whole hosts 250 Weekly Active Users sending approximately 1,000 messages per day. However, certain days are definitely busier than others: after we sent out our invitation to our Global Summit attendees to join us on Slack, our engagement shot up to 1,700 messages in one day in April. The community is friendly and welcoming, and we try to say hello to every member who joins and posts!

hello-to-new-friends

 

35 Public Channels

35 public channels feels like a lot of channels, but the number of access points allows members to hop into (and out of) any of our global communities or programs with ease. The many channels allow us to open up our work to the world and facilitate communication between a variety of users on six continents. (We’re not yet in Antarctica – anyone want to start a chapter?)

In addition to our 1,000 members milestone, we’re nearing another important landmark: The CC Community has sent nearly 200,000 messages! We’re talking a lot between each other – more than 50% of our messages are sent via Direct Messages to develop our close-knit, relational culture of Community Builders.

where-p

To call out some of our favorite channels, #cc-openedu is acting as a catalyst and inspiration for other network-platform based communities, with more than 60 users regularly posting messages and a channel membership of 166. The #general and #announcements channels remain incredibly popular, with over 1,000 total members and 100 daily active users, as does, of course, #cc-animals, which provides all the cuteness from the commons. Want to learn more about how we work? #cc-culture-club has you covered! While most of our chatter is about the commons, we can also get silly in the #random channel.

random-talk

We’ve also been excited to see the growth of users in global communities like #cc-europe, #cc-canada, and #cc-arabworld.

pleasant chatter

A vision for community growth

Our adoption of Slack has seriously grown our capacity as a network and as a community. We’ve been able to use the platform to chat, connect, and collaborate across disciplines. Through Slack, we’re privileging accessibility and community in order to reach our goals as a connected, growing network.

Our next steps include possible Slack chats, more fun, (like these Slack awards,) and frankly, who knows what else? Our community surprises us every day.

If you haven’t yet joined us, please do! We’d love to meet you.

The post Lessons learned from a year of Slack, 1000 members, and immeasurable community growth appeared first on Creative Commons.

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Bassel
Photo by Joi Ito, CC BY 2.0

On August 1, 2017, we received the heartbreaking news that our friend Bassel (Safadi) Khartabil, detained since 2012, was executed by the Syrian government shortly after his 2015 disappearance. Khartabil was a Palestinian Syrian open internet activist, a free culture hero, and an important member of our community. Our thoughts are with Bassel’s family, now and always.

Today we’re announcing the Bassel Khartabil Free Culture Fellowship to honor his legacy and lasting impact on the open web.

Bassel was a relentless advocate for free speech, free culture, and democracy. He was the cofounder of Syria’s first hackerspace, Aiki Lab, Creative Commons’ Syrian project lead, and a prolific open source contributor, from Firefox to Wikipedia. Bassel’s final project, relaunched as #NEWPALMYRA, entailed building free and open 3D models of the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra. In his work as a computer engineer, educator, artist, musician, cultural heritage researcher, and thought leader, Bassel modeled a more open world, impacting lives globally.

To honor that legacy, the Bassel Khartabil Free Culture Fellowship will support outstanding individuals developing the culture of their communities under adverse circumstances. The Fellowship — organized by Creative Commons, Mozilla, the Wikimedia Foundation, the Jimmy Wales Foundation, #NEWPALMYRA, and others — will launch with a three-year commitment to promote values like open culture, radical sharing, free knowledge, remix, collaboration, courage, optimism, and humanity.

As part of this new initiative, fellows can work in a range of mediums, including art, music, software, and community building. All projects will catalyze free culture, particularly in societies vulnerable to attacks on freedom of expression and free access to knowledge. Special consideration will be given to applicants operating within closed societies and in developing economies where other forms of support are scarce. Applications from the Levant and wider MENA region are greatly encouraged.

Throughout their fellowship term, chosen fellows will receive a stipend, mentorship from affiliate organizations, skill development, project promotion, and fundraising support from the partner network. Fellows will be chosen by a selection committee composed of representatives of the partner organizations.

FELLOWSHIP DETAILS

Organizational Partners include Creative Commons, #FREEBASSEL, Wikimedia Foundation, GlobalVoices, Mozilla, #NEWPALMYRA, YallaStartup and SMEX.

Amazon Web Services is a supporting partner.

The Fellowships are based on one-year terms, which are eligible for renewal.

The benefits are designed to allow for flexibility and stability both for Fellows and their families. The standard fellowship offers a stipend of $50,000 USD, paid in 10 monthly installments. Fellows are responsible for remitting all applicable taxes as required.

To help offset cost of living, the fellowship also provides supplements for childcare and health insurance, and may provide support for project funding on a case-by-case basis. The fellowship also covers the cost of required travel for fellowship activities.

Fellows will receive:

  • A stipend of $50,000 USD, paid in 10 monthly installments
  • A one-time health insurance supplement for Fellows and their families, ranging from $3,500 for single Fellows to $7,000 for a couple with two or more children
  • A one-time childcare allotment of up to $6,000 for families with children
  • An allowance of up to $3,000 towards the purchase of laptop computer, digital cameras, recorders and computer software; fees for continuing studies or other courses, research fees or payments, to the extent such purchases and fees are related to the fellowship
  • Coverage in full for all approved fellowship trips, both domestic and international

The first fellowship will be awarded in April 2018. Applications will be accepted beginning February 2018.

Eligibility Requirements. The Bassel Khartabil Free Culture Fellowship is open to individuals and small teams worldwide, who:

  • Propose a viable new initiative to advance free culture values as outlined in the call for applicants
  • Demonstrate a history of activism in the Open Source, Open Access, Free Culture or Sharing communities
  • Are prepared to focus on the fellowship as their primary work

Special consideration will be given to applicants operating under oppressive conditions, within closed societies, in developing economies where other forms of support are scarce, and in the Levant and wider MENA regions.

Eligible Projects. Proposed projects should advance the free culture values of Bassel Khartabil through the use of art, technology, and culture. Successful projects will aim to:

  • Meaningfully increase free public access to human knowledge, art or culture
  • Further the cause of social justice/social change
  • Strive to develop both a local and global community to support its cause

Any code, content or other materials produced must be published and released as free, openly licensed and/or open-source.

Application Process. Project proposals are expected to include the following:

  • Vision statement
  • Bio and CV
  • Budget and resource requirements for the next year of project development

Applicants whose projects are chosen to advance to the next stage in the evaluation process may be asked to provide additional information, including personal references and documentation verifying income.

ABOUT BASSEL

Bassel Khartabil, a Palestinian-Syrian computer engineer, educator, artist, musician, cultural heritage researcher and thought leader, was a central figure in the global free culture movement, connecting and promoting Syria’s emerging tech community as it existed before the country was ransacked by civil war. Bassel co-founded Syria’s first hackerspace, Aiki Lab, in Damascus in 2010. He was the Syrian lead for Creative Commons as well as a contributor to Mozilla’s Firefox browser and the Red Hat Fedora Linux operating system. His research into preserving Syrian archeology with computer 3D modeling was a seminal precursor to current practices in digital cultural heritage preservation — this work was relaunched as the #NEWPALMYRA project in 2015.

Bassel’s influence went beyond Syria. He was a key attendee at the Middle East’s bloggers conferences and played a vital role in the negotiations in Doha in 2010 that led to a common language for discussing fair use and copyright across the Arab-speaking world. Software platforms he developed, such as the open-source Aiki Framework for collaborative web development, still power high-traffic web sites today, including Open Clip Art and the Open Font Library. His passion and efforts inspired a new community of coders and artists to take up his cause and further his legacy, and resulted in the offer of a research position in MIT Media Lab’s Center for Civic Media; his listing in Foreign Policy’s 2012 list of Top Global Thinkers; and the award of Index on Censorship’s 2013 Digital Freedom Award.

Bassel was taken from the streets in March of 2012 in a military arrest and interrogated and tortured in secret in a facility controlled by Syria’s General Intelligence Directorate. After a worldwide campaign by international human rights groups, together with Bassel’s many colleagues in the open internet and free culture communities, he was moved to Adra’s civilian prison, where he was able to communicate with his family and friends. His detention was ruled unlawful by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, and condemned by international organizations such as Creative Commons, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the Jimmy Wales Foundation.

Despite the international outrage at his treatment and calls for his release, in October of 2015 he was moved to an undisclosed location and executed shortly thereafter — a fact that was kept secret by the Syrian regime for nearly two years.

The post Honoring Our Friend Bassel: Announcing the Bassel Khartabil Free Culture Fellowship appeared first on Creative Commons.

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Photo of Bassel by David Kindler (CC BY)

Our friend and colleague Bassel Khartabil was Creative Commons’ Syrian project lead, an open source developer, a teacher, a Wikipedia contributor, and a renowned free culture advocate. He was also a devoted son and husband, and a great friend to many in the global open knowledge community.

We were heartbroken and outraged to learn earlier this week the awful news of Bassel’s execution by the Syrian regime.

At the request of Bassel’s family, Creative Commons is announcing today that it has established the Bassel Khartabil Memorial Fund to support projects in the spirit of Bassel’s work. Creative Commons is accepting donations, and has seeded the fund with $10,000. Bassel was our friend and colleague, and CC invites the public to celebrate Bassel’s legacy and support the continuation of his powerful work and open values in a global community.

Contributions to the fund will go towards projects, programs, and grants to support individuals advancing collaboration, community building, and leadership development in the open communities of the Arab world. The fund will also support the digital preservation, sharing, and remix of creative works and historical artifacts. All of these projects are deeply intertwined with CC’s core mission and values, and those of other communities to which Bassel contributed.

Visit the Bassel Khartabil Memorial Fund page for more on how to get involved. Learn more about Bassel and his work at Wikipedia, FreeBassel.org, EFF, BBC, CNN, and Al Jazeera.

The post Announcing the Bassel Khartabil Memorial Fund appeared first on Creative Commons.

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