The School of Open is a global community of volunteers focused on providing free education opportunities on the meaning, application, and impact of “openness” in the digital age and its benefit to creative endeavors, education, research, and more. Volunteers develop and run online courses, offline workshops, and real world training programs on topics such as Creative Commons licenses, open educational resources, and sharing creative works. The School of Open is coordinated by Creative Commons and P2PU, a peer learning community and platform for developing and running free online courses.
In recent years, many great art museums have decided to open up their collections, putting online huge troves of images that showcase the masterpieces hanging on their walls. They’ve also made available free art catalogues and books, letting you learn all about important artists and styles of painting. Now, university presses and libraries are starting to follow suit, giving readers free access to books from their archives. We’ve tried to keep you posted on these cultural developments here on Open Culture. But you’ve likely missed a great resource or two. To make sure you stay up to speed, we offer a roundup below:
very funny & probably a good student/teacher aid
The Public Domain Review is a not-for-profit project dedicated to showcasing the most interesting and unusual out-of-copyright works available online.
All works eventually fall out of copyright – from classic works of art, music and literature, to abandoned drafts, tentative plans, and overlooked fragments. In doing so they enter the public domain, a vast commons of material that everyone is free to enjoy, share and build upon without restriction.
Google Guide is an online interactive tutorial and reference for experienced users, novices, and everyone in between. I developed Google Guide because I wanted more information about Google's capabilities, features, and services than I found on Google's website. --Nancy Blachman
"This morning, the majority of Bill C-11, the copyright reform bill, took effect, marking the most significant changes to Canadian copyright law in decades. While there are still some further changes to come (the Internet provider notice-and-notice rules await a consultation and their own regulations, various provisions related to the WIPO Internet treaties await formal ratification of those treaties), all the consumer oriented provisions are now active. These include:
The addition of education, parody, and satire as fair dealing purposes.
The creation of a non-commercial user generated content provision that creates a legal safe harbour for creators of non-commercial UGC (provided they meet four conditions in the law) and for sites that host such content.
The adoption of several new consumer exceptions including time shifting (recording of television shows), format shifting, and the making of backup copies.
Changes to the statutory damages rules that distinguish between commercial and non-commercial infringement. The law now includes a cap of $5000 for all non-commercial infringement. The change reduces the likelihood of lawsuits against individuals for non-commercial activities and would apply to educational institutions engaged in non-commercial activity and significantly reduce their potential liability for infringement.
The inclusion of an exception for publicly available materials on the Internet for education. This covers the content found on millions of websites that can now be communicated and reproduced by educational institutions without the need for permission or compensation.
The adoption of a technology-neutral approach for the reproduction of materials for display purposes. The current law is limited to manual reproduction or on an overhead projector. The provision may be applicable in the online learning context and open the door to digitization activities.
The implementation of a distance learning provision, though use of the exception features significant restrictions that require the destruction of lessons at the conclusion of the course.
The inclusion of a restrictive digital inter-library loans provision that will allow for digital transmission of materials on an inter-library basis, increasing access to materials that have been acquired by university libraries.
A new exception for public performances in schools, which will reduce licensing costs for educational institutions."
"Google can do more than display lists of websites – Google will give you quick answers to many special searches. While Google isn’t quite as advanced as Wolfram Alpha, it has quite a few tricks up its sleeve.
We’ve also covered searching Google like a pro by learning the Google search operators – if you want to master Google, be sure to learn those."
AnatomyZone was started in 2011 after I stumbled across Google Body and thought it would be a very useful tool to learn anatomy with. There are not that many user friendly resources on the internet for students trying to learn anatomy, so I thought I would try and create one to help others to learn anatomy. This website is aimed at many different levels and at a wide range of different users, from nurses, to physiotherapists, to osteopaths, to medical students.
"Academia has lots and lots and lots of systems in place for assuring that credit is always given where credit is due. If you're writing a paper, there are particular ways to cite internet sources-- even tweets and Facebook posts.
But what about on the internet? We know we're supposed to cite sources, but a standardized system hasn't developed, and in the meantime, you could face a lawsuit if you steal someone else's work, even by accident.
Does that mean you can't ever elaborate on someone else's ideas or repeat a little of what someone else said? Of course not. Just use some common sense and always err on the side of caution."
Morguefile: This site is filled with amateur photos of anything you could ever want. Pizza? Check. Toys? Check. Bears? Yep. A closeup of a microwave? Yes, sir! I’m not sure what kinds of sites would use most of these photos, but I guess that’s up to you. While you do have to wade through some less-than-perfect shots, many photographs are actually quite good, and all of them are free.
FreeDigitalPhotos: Another great site, this one is filled with quality stock photos. You know the ones I am talking about: those white-background, static and professional-looking pictures that big site owners love to use so often. If you want to a professional, high-quality look, check FreeDigitalPhotos first. Only the small version is free with the appropriate photo credit, but sometimes, that’s all you need.
Stockvault: Have you uncovered a need for colorful, artistic photos? Then check out this site. Though there are not as many free photos as I would like, the ones available are well worth a look. See the “Most Downloaded” tab for photos used most frequently.
Unprofound: This oddball photo site is something to behold. What makes it different is that instead of searching for subjects, such as butterflies or cars, you search for photos by their dominant color. Need something green? There are eight
Public Media for Public Understanding
An exploration of natural gas drilling
and development in the Marcellus Shale.
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Students these days are discovering their own applications and tools to enhance their learning online. I’ve learned about some of these tools from my students themselves, as well as through the teenager grapevine. Not only do these applications reveal to us that students are discovering ways to use social media and web tools for more than entertainment, but they tell us something about our kids’ needs in an online environment.
While I'll occasionally purchase a cool retro stock photo, most of the vintage images on The Art of Manliness were completely free thanks to the wonders of the public domain.
When an intellectual or creative work--whether a book, a video, or a photo--enters the public domain, it means the property right of the original creator has expired. That means anybody--you, me, your Aunt Judy--can use that work without permission without paying a dime.
Public domain law varies from country to country and the rules that determine when a work enters the public domain have been changing here in the U.S. during the past few decades. Generally, works (including images) published before 1923 are in the public domain. There are some other factors that determine public domain status, but I won't get into that. Instead, I thought it would be more helpful to round up a list of some of the best and easiest resources I use to quickly find awesome public domain vintage photographs.
What can you do with the images you find on these sites? Anything your little vintage-loving heart desires. Use them in a blog post, make greeting cards out of them, re-mix them in a collage, hang them in your room...the possibilities are endless!
From e-books to online swap meets, there's absolutely no reason to plop down money for glossy hardbacks when you could be funneling that cash into paying off those student loans.
Here's a quick guide for buying, renting, selling and swapping your text books online:
Precalculus: An Investigation of Functions is a free, open textbook covering a two-quarter pre-calculus sequence including trigonometry. The first portion of the book is an investigation of functions, exploring the graphical behavior of, interpretation of, and solutions to problems involving linear, polynomial, rational, exponential, and logarithmic functions. An emphasis is placed on modeling and interpretation, as well as the important characteristics needed in calculus.
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