CC Certification – NC and SA

Both the Non-Commercial (NC) restriction of the Creative Commons licenses and the Share-Alike (SA) condition of the licenses are poorly understood by many CC users. I’ll use my current context as a teacher educator to respond to these prompts, since it will help me clarify and communicate this information to colleagues and students.

  1. How would explain the issues with NC to a person choosing to use a CC license for the first time? 

ncCreative Commons licensing that designates works as non-commercial means that anyone using those materials cannot make ANY money for the reuse or reprinting of that content. As a teacher educator, employed in a higher education institution, I need to consider possible scenarios where money could be made using course materials I create that includes items designated with an NC license. For example:

  • I can use NC licensed materials in my course content, only if I am not making any money from this work (not including the remuneration I receive as an instructor).
  • If I were to charge additional funds for these course materials or sell additional services from these materials, I could not use any items with an NC license designation.
  • As an educator, I cannot make any money if I print OER materials for my students that contain NC licensed images or content. This must be done on a cost recovery basis only.
  • If I am asked to present for a local organization, even for a few minutes, even if it’s done with remuneration in kind, I cannot use any materials or content, or anything I use for that purpose, that has an NC designation.
  • If I will be making money on a publication or book chapter I create, I cannot use anything that has an NC license attached.
  1. How would you explain the way SA works to a person choosing to use a CC license for the first time?

saThe share-alike (SA) Creative Commons license designation is a way to say to others – this is my work, I’m sharing it with you, if you use it, you need to share it too! This is a way to ensure your work as an author, artist, creator, is also shared by others who may use your works in a remix or revision. When SA is present on a shared work, those who use that image, icon, music clip or creation are required to also share their version of what they’ve created with your material. This ensures a sustainable, sharing culture and enriches your credibility as a creator, in that your original work is attributed in each new version.

As a teacher educator, I can revise and remix materials that are SA, and share them openly, with attribution, as part of my course materials. If these materials are published openly on a course site, then your works, as the original creator, are forever linked to my remixed revisions. If these remixes are posted to an LMS site (learning management site) for student use, I need to also consider posting to an open URL location (blog, website, Instagram, Flickr, etc.) in order to ensure that I am honouring the spirit and intention of the CC SA license. It’s a provocation to share-alike, but one that cannot be denied, since it’s a layer over your rights as the copyright holder.

CC SA meme

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Anatomy of a CC License

This video production is part of the Creative Commons Certification course. This assignment submission is a brief anatomy of CC licenses, the three layers, the four elements, the six combinations, and includes some basic information about the CC license generator. There is more about how CC licenses are impacted by fair use, CC Zero designations, and works in the public domain.

The two images of the Creative Commons lapel pins are

  1. “CC lapel pins” flickr photo by hj_dewaard shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license
  2. “CC lapel pins B&W” flickr photo by hj_dewaard shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

This video is Creative Commons licensed. All images, music and text are attributed at the end of the video and are CC-BY. The music is licensed CC-BY-NC.

Creative Commons License
Anatomy of a CC License by H.J. DeWaard is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at Adobe Spark.

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CC Certification – discussion post

Creative Commons and Copyright

For this response, I’m using my particular context, as a teacher educator in a higher education institution. Since the focus for this discussion is on how Creative Commons licenses work within copyright law, I’ll focus on how these two impact my work as a teacher educator in creating and using course materials.

  1. How would you explain the relationship between Creative Commons and copyright law to someone new to Creative Commons? What kinds of examples would you use?

Copyright comes first! As an educator, author or creator, the minute I fix my conception, idea, image into a tangible format (draw, create, make, record), I own the rights to that work. As a teacher educator, the copyright comes first for all the work created by others that I wish to use in my course of study with preservice teachers.

Fair use is a semi permeable layer on top of copyright! As a teacher, I can fairly use materials that others have created and have copyrighted. When teaching in the classroom or in an online course, I can use, share and reference some of this material. There are limitations, so this layer can only stretch so far. It is somewhat permeable since there are specific rules applied to what I use, where I use it, and how I share copyrighted materials. This can limit me when creating course content and materials.

Creative Commons is a set of coloured overlays that surround the copyrighted materials I have created or that I can use in my teaching. The colours and applications vary, depending on the license designation and use. First, I need to identify and separate the stuff I make and create from the pile of stuff other people have created and made. For my own creation, I can include a Creative Commons license on my works (unless bound by my employer’s policies on copyright) so it can be shared in the ways I choose e.g. CC BY. For the work created by others, I need to examine how they want their work to be used and respect that designation when I use it in my course materials. If it’s licensed with Creative Commons overlays, then I can use all, some, or none, based on their sharing requirements. If the works are OER, then I am not bound by the fair use requirements. If they are not, then I can stretch the fair use layer over the materials I wish to use in my teaching. The total colour effect of the CC overlays will determine the overall effect on the complete ‘body of work’ I can include in my course.

  1. Give an example of the common struggles educators face in accessing and/or using & sharing OER.

One challenge or struggle for educators is determining the original copyright of the material they wish to use, particularly for commonly used content, and then figuring out which overlays apply to that work. Often, it is not clear, or has not been designated by the creator of the material, how it can be used. For example, I have only recently started using CC licenses on the materials I create. For earlier materials, that I have posted online, it will not be clear to others how I wish to share or the original sources for the information.

I have not always attended to the CC license on the works I’ve integrated into the works I’ve used. As with many other educators, the fair use overlay has created opaque understandings about what is copyrighted and what is not. When I use material in my course that is available on the web, it does not mean it is CC licensed or that it is OER. When I create an open, online repository as a course, it does not mean that others can necessarily use or share this material since there are fair use issues that they may not be able to see or understand.

Another issue that educators face is the open vs. closed learning management system (LMS) in which learning and teaching often takes place. This is like putting a black overlay over top of the copyrighted material, making it unsearchable and out of sight for all, except those with the code to see inside. There may be great materials available, that are CC licensed, in an LMS, such as this CC course for example, which are not accessible without an account or log-in credentials. Unless this same course material is posted to an open, password free, accessible URL location, then it is not searchable, usable, sustainable, or remixable for my educational purposes. Educators who only teach from within an LMS are limiting their sharing from behind the black curtain or invisible overlay. The materials used in the LMS may be copyrightable, fair use shared, or creative commons created, but they are bound in ways that limit rather than permit.

yoda meme     As a teacher educator who is passionate about modelling open educational practices and pedagogies, but who is bound by institutional requirements, there are limitations to where, when, and how I share course materials with my students, and with others who are interested in the same topics. I have published course materials on open web sites for each course I’ve taught, but the challenge that I now face, is ensuring that this can be sustained, maintained, accessed through open licensing, and supported within the structures of my institutional policies and mandates. This CC Certification course is making CC licensing and copyright adherence very clear to me.

There is much work I need to do to get my CC licensed house in order!


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10 Things About Copyright

This infographic is a submission for Unit 2 in the Creative Commons Certification Course.

Copyright and Me

You can also access this infographic from the Canva location where it was created. All images are from openly accessible sites such as Pixabay and Unsplash. All information is from the Creative Commons Certification course material.

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Creativity and Copyright

Here is my response for week two and three for the Creative Commons certification course.

The Purpose of Copyright

In order to consider either of these rationales as a dominant or over-arching reason for creative production, it would mean an individual, in the process of putting thought or idea to paper, canvas, or computer, would need to have a reason for doing so. I’m not sure, in the act of fixing the idea to tangible medium, that the greater common good or personal monetary gain is on their minds. There may be some consideration of audience, but even that doesn’t usually come into play until the creation is completed. I’m connecting to Jonathan’s comments about a ‘singer’s gotta sing’. So the greater common good may be a factor after the fact, but not as the works are being crafted. Most author’s will admit, perhaps reluctantly, that they’re not writing for fame and fortune. Other than perhaps Nora Roberts or Stephen King, that may be fact.

Some creators gain so much more by giving works away for free. Jonathan mentions Cory Doctorow but my favourite example is Jonathan Worth – a photographer who’s photographs (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. and Selfless selfie (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. campaign caught attention and catapulted him to both fame and fortune.

As an educator, I’m cognizant of copyright and the limitations this places on use of works created by others when teaching. It’s interesting that many teachers do not consider their creations (lesson plans, great art ideas, songs they create for their students) as having a copyright attached they minute it is fixed in a tangible medium. Not that there’s money to be made, unless you’re posting your worksheet or creative ideas to Teacher’s Pay Teachers (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (don’t get me started on the underlying reasons for this!), teachers tend to just share as common practice. Applying a CC-BY or CC-BY-NC on their stuff could go a long way to at least acknowledge the source of this great idea, for the common good.

Creativity and Copyright

Creativity doesn’t always build on the past, but the past is certainly fodder for creative inspiration. Inspiration comes from anywhere, anytime, with or without others present. A walk in the woods can be inspiration. A conversation with a friend, when you’re attentively listening, can be inspiration. There may be some unconscious element that springboards the ideas, or something you’ve done before that makes a connection that wasn’t there before. There are unique human qualities in some individuals that allows this to happen a lot, while others, like myself, need something to be our inspiration. I tend to use works created by others as a mechanism to re-mix and repurpose to create something new. Does that make me creative? Maybe. I couldn’t say if someone else could combine two or three elements together in quite the same way I do, or create an image, narrative, or sound in the exact sequence I could. I think that how we define ‘creativity’ will ultimately determine if my work is unique or has been recomposed from the past.

I do think that ending copyright is required so more works can be enjoyed. I’m thinking about the work the Rijksmuseum (Links to an external site.) is doing to bring art into the public realm, and how this can become a springboard for others who may never travel to see classic works of art. Someone from remote or distant places can enjoy and marvel at these works, view the collection online (Links to an external site.), and potentially build on, recombine from, or create anew from one or many of the art pieces in this online exhibit.

One of the accommodations to copyright is the public library, public art galleries, or public performances, where works can be purchased or paid for, as a way to provide a return on inspiration (ROI) for the creator, but also allow members of the public to view, read, and enjoy. This becomes a way to work around the constrictions of copyright. But this requires a consistent commitment by public agencies and the general public to put funds toward arts and creative works.

As a teacher, I appreciated the ability to apply fair dealing or fair use. While the rules and tests of this exception can be challenging for any educator, it still gives permission for engaging in conversations and dialogue, without fearing to be in breach of copyright. Some teachers fail to clearly understand how the fair dealing rules work, or have a basic understanding of copyright as it applies to their work in the classroom.

If the length of copyright is extended well beyond the life of the creator by 70+ more years, the impact on society in general will be more litigious action by more owners or survivors, who aim to continue milking the creative works, to which they have no other vested interest other than monetary gain. There will be overly cautious creators who won’t put their works out into any public venue for fear of being sued for copyright violation. Creativity will go underground. It’ll be the end of the open, shared culture we see today in global contexts, with Creative Commons.

I’ll connect the project for the end of week three here when it is completed.
Resource Collection from the course
The Era of Fake Video Begins – the digital manipulation of video may make the current era of “fake news” seem quaint. May, 2018.
Fair Use evaluator – USA context
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CC Cert – Week 1

creative-commons-785334_1280I’ve begun work on the Creative Commons Certification course, so will post my work and reflections here. This is a personal passion for me, as it should be in my global, sharing culture. This first week was a review of the Creative Commons movement and licensing system, much of which I’ve previously read or knew. There were some videos that caught my attention, which I’ll post here. The assignment for this week included creating a video or slide show about key events in the creation of Creative Commons. This information helps frame the rest of the course and builds my understanding of the context for the licensing system.

Listening to Larry Lessig also provided some insights into the historical context for the Commons.

After completing this module, I created a slide show in Buncee (something I’ve not used before and wanted to try). Here is the presentation.

On to week two – all about copyright.

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Hospitality –

As part of my work and passion for personal learning and improving my teaching practice, I’ve participated in cultural competency training and engaged in a MOOC to learn more about reconciliation through Indigenous education. These learning opportunities have given me new understandings and continue to bring new concepts to my awareness.

Two terms that have meaning and resonate for me are ‘NUMWAYUT‘ and ‘KASWENTA‘.

But let me share a story first.

I wrote a blog post quite some time ago, filed it in my draft folder, didn’t post it through fear and reluctance, but returned to it recently. After re-reading, I had to reflect deeply about why I hadn’t posted it, particularly with the term ‘hospitality’ fresh on my mind.

Now, with the conversations from the Festival of Learning conference held in Vancouver, and the conversations held through Virtually Connecting still resonating in my mind, I’m reframing, yet again. I can also thank Steven Hurley and Doug Peterson for this reframe, coming from their conversation In Ontario Edublogs conversation about my blog post Curate Your ‘Self‘.

It comes down to taking care, and having courage to make it public. Thank you for reading this post, considering how you can publicly show you care, and for sharing a courageous comment. Here’s my original draft post:


Imagine. You have a lovely home, well positioned in town, with the yards looking their best. The interior design suits your needs and showcases all that you hold dear. Your children run happily in the yard, learning about nature and life cycles as they play.  A car pulls into your driveway and unexpected guests arrive. You welcome them into your home, seeing that they have food and drinks. You show them how things work and give them a tour so they can find their way around.

These guests decide to stay awhile. They begin to eat more than you can provide. They don’t clean up after themselves or extend a hand to ease your burden. They take over the living room and move you into the basement, saying you’ll be more comfortable there. Your children are sent away to attend school, since they are not learning what they really need to survive in this modern, new world. You are powerless to remove these ‘guests’ because they are claiming squatters-rights. You have nowhere to turn and are powerless to stop what is happening.

This is a simplified story, but brings some perspective to what I’ve been watching the past few weeks. As I hear the emotional and heartfelt stories of First-nation people sharing their experiences in residential schools or the ‘60’s scoop’, I am torn from my white, privileged perspective. My heart goes to those who have lost so much. With the publication of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report, difficult stories are revealed and lives are laid bare. Cultural genocide is a challenging, complex concept to recognize. My own culpability is revealed.

My personal involvement is implicit if I remain silent. It’s time to accept that I am one of those guests who came to stay. That’s a difficult truth to admit. If I am to make a difference, I need to read the whole story. Awareness and knowledge is key. Reading and learning from the TRC report is an essential first step. 

To be fully human to one another, we need to acknowledge our part in the stories revealed in the TRC report. As a nation, we need to know what has happened or it will continue to happen. We need to reconcile the roles of homeowner and guest. Moving beyond squatter’s rights and basement dwelling will be extremely difficult. Supporting and acknowledging First Nation heritage and stories is an important place to start. Become informed. Learn from lived experiences. Recognize the truth. Find a way through, together. Our relationship as a Canadian rather than guest or host, immigrant or First-Nation depends on acknowledging our twisted and tangled roots. A renewed sense of Canadian hospitality will result.

Now! Today! I come to new understandings – of shifts in relationship and hospitality, of an ethos of care, and how I can publicly stand ‘together as one’.


I share this acknowledgement since it is mine as well.

“I would like to acknowledge the place where I began my journey, the traditional territory of Attawandaron First Nations peoples of Turtle Island and neighbouring territory of the Munsee-Delaware Lenni Lenape, Oneida Nation of the Thames, and Chippewas of the Thames First Nations peoples. The colonial name for this place is London Ontario, Canada.” (Sisco, 2015)

How will you publicly acknowledge, build relationship, and honour kaswénta? How will you develop a sense of numwayut?

Begin by taking one step to learning more:


Peterson, D. (2018, May 30). This week in Ontario edublogs. [podcast] Retrieved from

Peterson, D. (2018, May 30). This week in Ontario edublogs. [blog post] Retrieved from

Sisco, A. (2015). Honouring the kaswénta (two row wampum): A framework for consultation with indigenous communities in Canada and Australia. (Doctoral Dissertation). University of Wollongong. Retrieved from

Image attribution: Photo by Teddy Kelley on Unsplash


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Curate Your ‘Self’

badge for curator moduleI’ve written about curation before in The Web We Weave – Curation in Action and Curation – a call to action – I’ll return to these blog posts, as suggested by Alan Levine in Blog Posts As Old Concrete Slabs or Alive in the Cracks In Between?, to curate my notions of curation. I’ve been awarded the Curator badge from eCampus Ontario Extend for my collection of reflections for the curator module. My self curated list – Curator Completion – is an extension of my curating.

As I prepare this post for the Extend West cohort of Ontario Extend participants, I realize that reviewing and analyzing is a process of curating my ‘self’. What are the benefits of curation for our ‘selves’, as teachers, educators, leaders and learners? What are the benefits of curating for our students?

The etymology of the verb ‘to curate’ comes from the root word ‘cure’ and means ‘to be in charge, manage’ the care of others. In terms of digital and physical resources, such as libraries or museums, it takes on the weight of responsibility for managing and guarding that which needs to be overseen. Within teaching and learning spaces, curation comes to mean that we, as teachers and learners need to “take charge of or organize, to pull together, sift through, select for presentation, to heal and to preserve” (Mihailidis & Cohen, 2013). How can we contribute to our subjects of interest through the acts and actions of curating our ‘selves’? How can students take responsibility for their ‘self’ through the act of curation?

As we venture into digital spaces and places, it’s wise to apply curation tools to build a ‘spotlight’ on your own work, your repositories of course materials, and your work in the open. Mihailidis & Cohen describe curation as an organizational tool, as value-added, and as a means for critical thinking and problem solving. As a curator of your ‘self’, you become better organized, more valuable in your work as a teacher and learner, and can model a critical, problem solving stance for your students. Asking students to curate, as part of their course work, can enhance their ‘selves’ in digitally connected, global conversations around your subject specific content.

Curation as an organizational tool

Every curator needs a set of tried and true organizational tools. What are yours? Knowing that some digital curation tools can and do ‘die’ (see Alan Levine’s alternative to using Storify), it’s critical to have a variety of curation devices. Purpose and audience can help you determine which tools to apply to specific teaching and learning contexts. A few of the curation tools I currently use include Diigo,, Pinterest, and Zotero. Each is used for specific purposes in my professional and teaching work. What tools do you currently use and which curation tools do you hope to apply to your teaching?

Do you bookmark? How you manage, search and share your bookmark organization for your subject matter can be informative to your students. Exporting a course related bookmark file or a collection of links for a specific topic can enhance your course reading materials in open collaboration with your students. With bookmarking as part of a course regime, you’ll always have a current and vetted curation of resources.

In Chrome, open the Bookmark Manager under the Bookmarks tab, select the three ••• in the right hand corner, select Export. In Safari, select the Show Bookmarks under the Bookmarks tab, then go to the File tab and select Export. You will have a full list of all your bookmarks as a document on your computer’s desktop, from which you can copy/paste selected lists as a topic or course specific resource.  You can merge links from your preferred Internet browsers to create a curated list from these curated lists.

Do you tag? On your blog posts, get into the habit of using categories and tags to make your content searchable and curate-able.  Including your name as one of those tags can make your ‘self’ and your work more recognizable when conducting open web searches. With other social media, such as Twitter or Instagram, you can use hashtags to select and identify audience, purpose, and content. Use a course specific hashtag to curate conversations for course related topics. More than two or three hashtags can become confusing, so stick to memorable ones. Do a search of possible tags before you decide on which hashtags to use for course related use. Search for a ‘clean tag’ – one that does not have any history.

Curation as value-added

Curation can add value to your ‘self’ in terms of digital presence. Having students curate resources and links for course content can add value to your course AND their digital presence. Within Twitter, you can use lists to capture participants from a course, event or topic. Using Moments in Twitter can curate tweets from a course or event.

Do you YouTube? Curating video resources by using channels and subscriptions for a course or topic can extend your ‘self’ for personal or professional curation. Having a link to a curated set of videos can ensure students can readily find, review and revisit course related content. One link can rule them all.

Curation as problem solving and critical thinking

Adding value to the web, while engaging in critical discourse with others, can be done using This enables collaborative annotation of web resources and pdf files. Not only can this engage teachers and students into deeper analysis of course readings, but  it can also leave a legacy of insights for other web wanderers to find (if the settings are left open).

As you curate, you will analyze and make judgements about the value of internet resources for your particular purposes.

  • Does this particular resource or link require a deeper look? Then bookmark it for later.
  • Does this web site provide value to students? Then include it as a class task using
  • Does this material add value to your thinking? Then add it to Diigo with a comment or explanation.

Mihailidis & Cohen state that curation of “information to tell a story creates a sense of responsibility for the curator” so let’s work toward students as ‘self’ curators. When students “access content, analyze and evaluate the messages, create presentations, reflect on findings, and work together in collaborative environments” they move beyond the mundane learning tasks and apply “critical skills to combat passivity, groupthink, and the spiral of silence”. Isn’t that worthy of any curation task in any course?

“Students, as curators themselves, can struggle with assessing content, perspective, platforms, agendas, and frames as they sift, sort, and organize information from the depths of the Internet. Through student-driven, creation-driven, collective and integrated teaching approaches to curation, the framework aims to build towards savvy media consumption and production, critical evaluation and analysis, and participation in local, national and global dialog.”  (Mihaidlidis & Cohen, 2013)

Let’s curate our ‘selves’ as a fully engaged, digitally literate teachers and learners. Let’s model for our students what it means to be a curated ‘self’. Let’s collaborate on curations for the benefits of all open educators and learners. It’s a call to action – Curate your ‘self’!


The online etymology dictionary 

Mihailidis, P. & Cohen, J.N., (2013). Exploring Curation as a core competency in digital and media literacy education . Journal of Interactive Media in Education . 2013 ( 1 ) , p . Art. 2 . DOI:

Image attribution: Photo by Erol Ahmed on Unsplash (this image has been edited and remixed to suit this blog post)

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