CC and ME

I’m a Creative Commons teacher. I’ve got a growing relationship with the ideas and people behind the Creative Commons movement. I’ve stepped over the licensing line and made a conscious choice to be a teacher, advocate, and connector for openly sharing  creative works. I’ve blogged about building connections with the Creative Commons (CC) organization (Remixing Recipes, April 19, 2017) and I’m working on building my own awareness of CC licensing in education.

My work as an instructor and teacher puts me squarely in the middle of the copyright and licensing mess where it’s tricky to untangle the ‘fair use’ from the copyright protected and the CC licensed. I’ve been slowly threading through the maze with the help of others. After attending the CC Global Summit last spring, I’ve joined the open CC Slack space where the conversations about CC licenses and global copyright issues spill into awareness. This recent announcement about Termination of Transfer caught my attention. I learn more about Canadian copyright issues by listening to folks within this openly accessible space.

Original Open Ed MOOCAfter viewing the conversations between David Wiley and George Siemens for the #OpenEdMOOC (Week 2 Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3) it becomes clear as mud that copyright and Creative Commons licensing has an impact on my work as an educator. I know there are rules and best practice when dealing with ‘fair use’ but those lines are blurred and fuzzy – no wonder teachers have a hard time understanding them. I know that when I create something, it’s copyright mine, and I can choose to share it freely under a CC license, as I did with the #OpenEdMOOC graphic I created and shared on Twitter.

The challenge in the tangle of copyright and fair use arise when the ideas for my lessons or the resources I plan to use in my teaching really belong to someone else – I’m remixing them, or a bit of them, for a particular teaching activity. The flip side to this idea is that my students are also creating interesting items that are then copyright to them. How do I manage that issue as well or should I have to?

I’ve included teaching about Creative Commons (CC) in my courses to raise awareness and I advocate for the use of the CC licenses with creative works produced as a result of learning events. I’ve come to realize that my own creative productions need to have a CC license attached cc licensed BYin order to model for my students how CC licensing works as well as communicating to others how my creative artifacts can be shared. I’m trying to remember that when I write, draw, talk, or present, I need to tag my work with a CC license. I’m trying to make this an important consideration for those I teach and others in the educational community.

I am part of a grassroots organization supporting K-8 children across Canada called A Kids Guide to Canada. Students are creating and teachers are sharing unique artifacts about the country. To build understanding about copyright and Creative Commons, I’ve crafted a video (AKGTC and CC) to encourage teachers and students to use and apply CC attribution and licensing to their creative works. It’s a small step in shifting the copyright conversations into the open. It’s part of a bigger conversation about digital citizenship that is also becoming increasingly important in educational contexts. We need to step out from behind the ‘fair use’ screen and talk about how copyright and CC licensing will impact our work as educators and our student’s work as learners.

Now is as good a time as any to spread this message and work to untangle this mess together. We can unravel this mess a little bit more if we share what we’re thinking and why it matters.

  • How do you attribute the works of others that you include in your own creative works?
  • How do you license your creative work to let others know how they can use or share these artifacts?
  • How do you teach your students about copyright, fair use and the Creative Commons?

Add a comment below and let’s talk!


This post ignited some conversation in Ontario education spaces thanks to Doug Peterson who took some time to blog (I Got a Zero Once) and respond to the ideas presented here. Doug continued to open the conversation about the copyright and creative commons on This Week in Ontario EduBlogs as well as sharing this topic with Stephen Hurley on their weekly podcast where topics in Ontario education are shared and discussed. Their conversation is found on the VoiceEd Radio archives HERE. I thank them for extending the conversation further than I thought it would go, and prompting some new questions and ideas by doing so.

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10 Responses to CC and ME

  1. Pingback: This Week in Ontario Edublogs – doug — off the record

  2. Cog.Dog says:

    You are such a wonderful exemplar Helen, I love how this post and the video goes broader than just the different flavors of licenses and stresses the role of attribution and seeking open licensed content to use. You are a CC Hero.

  3. Pingback: I got a zero once – doug — off the record

    • HJ.DeWaard says:

      I’ve shared a comment on this post, Doug. This engaging conversation will spark some thinking for educators and their students. CC or Copyright. It’s a decision that requires critical thinking from an informed stance. Thanks for furthering this topic!
      Helen DW 🙂

  4. Hi Helen, this is a generous public service you’re providing here. You just cleared up a number of my own questions with the video. Thank you! I look forward to sharing this with my colleagues at school and elsewhere. Well done!

    • HJ.DeWaard says:

      Happy to share! Glad it helped answer some questions since there are so many more around this topic that keep coming up. Conversations to clarify and then make informed decisions with our creative works. CC-BY for me! 🙂
      Helen DW

  5. Debbaff says:

    What a great resource Helen .. I thought the video was fab and I am sooo loving the sketchnote !

    • HJ.DeWaard says:

      Thanks so much for your comments Deb. My learning curve with sketch noting is still on the steep side but it’s becoming easier to think graphically. It’s like learning a foreign language – you have to translate from text to image and then sort through the variety of combinations to make them fit your vision for that ‘concept’. Thanks for leaving a comment!
      Helen DW

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