On discoverability

There is a lot of talk in OER circles about discoverability. Much of it deals with metadata schemes and other technical details that may seem arcane to some.

Here’s a real-world story of discoverability.

Over the past couple weeks, I have been looking open materials on sustainable agriculture, permaculture, and food systems. I looked in the usual repositories and found a few things, but not much.

Then today on a phone call, a guy told me about an open textbook he just put out on this subject. “With a Creative Commons license,” he said. Really?!? Wow!

Sometimes we discover things in the most analog ways. (And yes, I’ll be putting this item into the repositories! :)

Shotcut: An open video editing tool

For a long while now, I’ve been looking for a free, preferably open source, video editing tool that was reasonably full-featured but also easy to get started with. With the recent demise of Windows Movie Maker, the need for this kind of tool is more urgent than ever.

Looking around a few weeks ago, I found Shotcut, and I’ve been really impressed with it. (Shotcut has been around for a while but has recently been completely rewritten.) This tool is cross-platform (Windows, Mac, Linux) and does most of what you’d want to do in terms of basic video editing. Once you open the timeline window, the tool will look familiar if you’ve done video editing.

Here is a quick start guide I’ve put together for this tool (Word, PDF). If anyone has suggestions for improving it, let me know. Otherwise, I’d recommend checking out this tool if you’re looking for an open video editing tool.

Remix attributions

I think attributing borrowed work is important, and I see a lot of remixes that don’t include attributions to the borrowed work. Instead they attribute only the remixer/compiler.

Best practices for attribution require that “when you are using a work that is an adaptation of one or more pre-existing works, you may need to give credit to the creator(s) of the pre-existing work(s), in addition to giving credit to the creator of the adaptation.” (Creative Commons).

So for example, for a photo that includes other (open licensed) photos from someone other than the creator of the adaptation, the attribution could read:

“Photo by Karen Fasimpaur, © 2016, licensed under CC BY 4.0; includes picture of apple by Alan Levine, licensed CC BY 4.0 and illustration of the moon by Brad Emerson, licensed CC BY 3.0″

Here’s another example (see Source section).

This gets more complicated with all the web sites that produce images for you (e.g. memes, quotes) like the one created with recite.com:

Image credit: Created by Karen LaBonte with recite.com

In this case, I know who wrote the words and compiled the image on recite.com (Karen LaBonte), but I don’t know where the typewriter image came from. Most likely though, this composite image cannot be open licensed unless it can be determined that the components are themselves open licensed. While this can sometimes be sussed out from the creating web site, often it can’t. (Recite.com for example doesn’t appear to have any info on the licensing terms or even terms of use. The site is marked “Copyright 2015 Recite.com | All rights reserved.” but this doesn’t tell us much. Obviously it is designed to create images that are meant to be reshared, but there is no supporting license for this. As is often the case, the creators probably didn’t think of it. In other cases, the licenses seem to run counter of the intent, most likely because of overzealous lawyers.)

The credit I included above was the best I could come up with. No Creative Commons license on the composite image.

This may seem like a lot of nuance for most people, but the salient points are: 1) you should include attributions for all the works that made up the final piece and 2) you can’t open license something that contains borrowed work that isn’t open licensed.

Student voices: An invitation

This year, I’m convening a strand on Student Voices for the K12 Online Conference, and I’d like to invite you and especially the youth you work with to get involved.

There are several ways you can participate:

We think having a strong student voice both as an input and an output of our learning environments is super important. We hope you agree and that you’ll help us make this part of this year’s K12 Online conference.