EDUC 932 Creative Commons
What are the challenges you find with following copyright laws? (Please do not post an admission of guilt to illegal activity.) How can you and your students contribute to Creative Commons resources?
There are two key challenges in terms of copyright law in my experience.
First is regarding my own personal work. I often feel overwhelmed with the use of others’ work because sometimes permissions feel like a murky subject. I understand that there is a balance between the so-called spirit of the law and the letter of the law here. Copyright is really about intention and protecting people’s intellectual property. When writing a report, for example, it’s much clearer to me how to give appropriate credit for ideas because there is a clearly established culture regarding how to do so. But when giving a powerpoint presentation and using imagery created by others, I often wonder what is appropriate. At the very least, when I am using images that are not considered public clip art or stock photos, I add the image urls into the comments section under my slides just so there is a record of use. Given that I’m not making any money on the images it seems to be enough, but I wonder that a sources page would be appropriate at the end of any given presentation.
The second issue is regarding students in Asia. Copyright laws are not strictly observed in my six years of experience here and students are often not taught any sense of urgency regarding the protection of intellectual and creative materials. Plagiarism is a constant issue. One of the challenges I face, and have admittedly done a poor job of, is discovering an effective way to teach the importance of giving credit where it is due in a culture that views copyright very differently.
I think inquiry based projects that require a student to produce authentic, creative work of their own is a highly effective way to contribute to the creative commons. This involves different forms of study and exploration where the students create something of their own that demonstrates an applied understanding of whatever topic they chose. Often students produce very unique ways of teaching or engaging in various concepts that can be used in a broader learning community. For example, I’ve had students find ways to tie trigonometric equations to creating unique pieces of art, or they’ve found a creative way to teach the concept of blue printing to their peers. These could easily be published as creative commons materials that students and teachers from other learning communities could use to their benefit.