Creative Commons Workshop for Concordia Students

If you’d like to learn how to get, collaborate on, and share open access research or creative content with Creative Commons (CC) licences, then you should register for my next workshop happening on Tuesday, 26 October (during Open Access Week 2021).

The workshop will help you get a better understanding of how to find CC-licensed materials, which you can use for research purposes, in presentations, and for a broad variety of creative applications. You will also learn about open access issues and the impact of using these licences for your own work.

Companies Can’t Just Put Surveillance Tech into Libraries

There’s a good read about a few oligopolistic publishers that proposed unethical surveillance technologies for academic libraries. I thought that the original article, while addressing a lot and from a variety of people, was missing some perspective from librarians on the subject. I wrote some points about this third-party potential for breaching confidentiality in a library and an ethical approach from librarians on my other blog.

Proctorio Legal Aggression

A Learning Technology Specialist at UBC was rightly critical of Proctorio so the company is suing him. Considering the ethical, technical or other transgressions of automated test proctoring/surveillance tools like Proctorio, it’s worth thinking about how this situation is unfolding. He’s set up a GoFundMe campaign for some support and if successful, proceeds would go to the BC Civil Liberties Association.

There’s a good blog post, In Defence of Ian Linkletter, which explains the situation.

I think it’s worth noting, in Linkletter’s message about the suit, he explains: “This kind of lawsuit, in which a company like Proctorio sues an outspoken critic like me, is sometimes referred to as a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation: or “SLAPP”. SLAPP lawsuits are a threat to freedom of expression.” [emphasis mine]

Think about Algorithmic Test Proctoring

Read Shea Swauger’s article, Our Bodies Encoded: Algorithmic Test Proctoring in Higher Education. It identifies deep concerns about algorithmic test proctoring. Right now, with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing everyone to quickly adapt to different ways of doing things, students are facing their final exams. Within universities, I know many people at all levels that are working incredibly hard to find ways to support students and help them successfully complete what they set out to do. Students ought to inform themselves on this issue and listen carefully to all of the options, which the university is providing them.

Continue reading “Think about Algorithmic Test Proctoring”

Creative Commons Certificate Program

If you have an interest in learning more about the Creative Commons and open access licensing issues. This year, the Creative Commons began offering an online certificate program, which helps you learn about all things CC. It started as a sort of beta offer but has matured. The certificate originally targeted educators and librarians, which got my interest so I signed up certificates.creativecommons.org

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Some Tips on NC, SA, & ND attributes in Creative Commons Licences

Here are three things about various attributes that can be found in Creative Commons licences, which I find are not necessarily obvious, but good to know (details on the CC site).

First, when a CC licence has a NonCommercial (NC) designation, it means, roughly, that employing the work for a commercial use is not permitted. But it’s not quite that straightforward. The work’s creator wants other people to use the work (according to whatever permissions they’ve granted) but does not intend anyone acquiring the work through its Creative Commons licensed version, to profit from it.

There’s an interesting distinction though between use and user. You can’t make a blanket assumption about the use of the work based on the person or organization using it. Even a for-profit company for example, could use an NC designated work for a variety of things so long as they’re not selling it for profit (which would then qualify as commercial use).

The ShareAlike (SA) designation results in something like a viral impact. When someone licences a work with SA then other people that for example make something new with it, also have to release their new work with an SA designation in kind. This is beneficial in that those adopting it, potentially increase the availability of new works and ensure that work continues to be shared (nourishing the commons). This is akin to the requirements in Free software licences like the GPL, which have contributed to an extremely large Free and open source software ecosystem.

And finally, if the NoDerivatives (ND) aspect is present in a CC licence, it’s actually more permissive than it might sound. It does not prohibit making derivatives entirely. The Creative Commons pus a lot of emphasis on the commons, an effort in  large part to increase what we can all share access to. So in that sense, ND has more to do with the act of sharing a derivative than of making it. That’s to say, you can make a derivative work of an ND-licensed work but you don’t have the permission to distribute that derivative.