I am confused about cc licensed educational resources :-(

For the first time in an eternity, I feel confused in an academic task!! For the MOOC  I am following on openness in education, the second activity is to use the advanced search feature of Google to “identify 5 – 10 CC licensed materials that are interesting to you either personally or professionally. Create a blog post in which you, (1) describe the topic you went searching for, (2) tell us why it is interesting to you, (3) link to the resources you found, and (4) describe some of the reuses, revisions, and remixes you might make of these materials.”

Just to start, CC stands for Creative Commons, which, according to the website (http://creativecommons.org/) “Creative Commons helps you share your knowledge and creativity with the world.”. According to David Wiley, “The Creative Commons copyright licenses and tools forge a balance inside the traditional “all rights reserved” setting that copyright law creates. Their tools give everyone from individual creators to large companies and institutions a simple, standardized way to grant copyright permissions to their creative work. The combination of their tools and their users is a vast and growing digital commons, a pool of content that can be copied, distributed, edited, remixed, and built upon, all within the boundaries of copyright law.”

At the very moment of writing this entry, I have more than 23 opened tabs on my browser.

What is confusing me in this task? A LOT of things. Let’s start.

First, Google does not want to allow me to use its “usage rights” option in the advanced search to determine the kind of documents I am looking for. When googling for such a problem, no answer L.

Now with some attempts to overcome the problem, it was solved, and the long trip started.

At the beginning, I wanted to look for CC educational resources. With this I was thinking of finding CC resources that I can, legally and ethically[1], use in my classroom. Google was not very helpful, because the results it gave me were results including the words “educational” and “resources” in documents dealing with, explaining and talking about CC. Not really helpful!

Solution: Narrow the subject I am looking for. Look for some one subject that I teach; let’s say: computer networks. Proudly, I google for computer networks and chose the option “Free to use, share, or modify, even commercially”. I thought that this is the most general option, and it will give the maximum number of results! Result: disappointing; nothing as educational resource.

At this point, I started to think; maybe I have a problem about the idea itself. I mean maybe educational resources are “fair use”. According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use): “Fair use is a limitation and exception to the exclusive right granted by copyright law to the author of a creative work. In United States copyright law, fair use is a doctrine that permits limited use of copyrighted material without acquiring permission from the rights holders. Examples of fair use include commentary, search engines, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching, library archiving and scholarship. It provides for the legal, unlicensed citation or incorporation of copyrighted material in another author’s work under a four-factor balancing test.”

Here, I started to google about fair use. And this was a painful task. I wanted to determine what is considered “fair use” in academia? Am I infringing the law (and ethics) when I am making complete lecture notes out of a copyrighted textbook? What about embedding videos from the web in my presentations? And images? The number of tabs augmented and augmented, and to be honest, after a couple of hours, my questions are more in number and deeper! I am confused! (Even google is suspecting my activities at this point and every time I google something it will ask me to enter a captcha, because it seems that no human on earth can look for as much as what I am doing in such a little time!!!!!!!!).

OK, I told myself, this is an artifact to the main task I am working on. Let me go back to identifying the resources I need. I started manipulating the searches in google:

  • computer networks lecture notes
  • “computer networks” “lecture notes”

Always with the previously mentioned advanced search option. Great results: an enormous number of Wikipedia pages. I love Wikipedia, but seriously speaking, it is not what I am looking for at this moment.

Enough is enough; Google does not want to help me with its advanced search options and I have to find my way to identify the required resources. Easy; do not use google advanced search and just google for “computer networks” “lecture notes” cc licensed. Partially it works.

Over 10 of Google search pages, I found the following interesting pages that are CC licensed:

  1. Free Online College Courses That Help You Learn More About Computer Security
  2. FreeVideoLectures
  3. Open michigan
  4. YouTube Education
  5. MIT open courseware
  6. Computer Networks @ SEECS, NUST

Why partially it works? Because it took me TEN GOOGLE SEARCH PAGES to get these 6 pages. I think that this too little!

Why am I STILL confused? Because:

  1. I still cannot understand the fair use doctrine!
  2. I cannot understand why it is so difficult to find cc licensed courseware on Google!
  3. I cannot understand why the advanced Google search option about the usage rights is not satisfying!

[1] I am living in a country where IP is not enforced by law.

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