By Stephen Downes
August 18, 2004

Announcing the Commonwealth
In various fora I have warned of the danger that Creative Commons will commercialize. It would be too great a temptation, I argued, to create special 'business' Creative Commons licenses for commercial content, possibly charging a fee for managing the license. When the Creation Commons 'Education' licenses were proposed a few months ago, I warned that this was first step in the process (here, here, here, and here). That day has now come. The commercialization of Creative Commons has taken a large step forward with the development of what is being called the 'Commonwealth'.

From one of the web sites: "The goal of this discussion list is to develop a new form of hybrid commercial / non-commercial license for various kinds of intellectual property with particular emphasis on software. We hope to combine the best of open source and proprietary models. In so doing, we'll explore questions like: Can we create the greatest social welfare and the greatest innovation? Can we simultaneously benefit businesses, developers, and end users over the long run? Can we build models of the process of software growth and diffusion?"

Now on the one hand I have long argued that there should be a common marketplace for commercial and non-commercial content - that is, indeed, at the heart of my digital rights management proposal. But Creative Commons was built upon a different premise: that it is the home for free online content - it is for that reason that it enjoyed such widespread support. That is why I opposed CC Education. I always wondered why Creative Commons never had anything like a voting process, why its decisions were made centrally, why it was run more like a business than a part of the open source community. With the arrival of Creative Commons Inc. (aka the Commonwealth) I think we know.

Sometimes, I get tired of saying "I told you so..." By Matt Haughey, Creative Commons, August 16, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Play and Learning in The Brain
Maish Nichani summarizes this nicely in elearningpost: "Nice article on the importance of play in learning. Learning is not all about external rewards and punishments, rather “the human brain determines our learning potential, and subjective experience is, clearly, more than just stimuli and responses. Furthermore, it has been shown that even the most intricate system of rewards and punishment cannot change certain species-specific behaviour. In fact humans exhibit much behaviour where the reward is only rarely external, but rather ‘natural’, as in the children’s play with crayon and paper." By Robert B. Cialdini , Learning Lab Denmark, August, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Perplexing Problem? Borrow Some Brains
It's not mentioned in this article, listed via elearningpost, but the advice here is very similar to that documented in James Surowiecki's The Wisdom of Crowds. The premise is that, with some caveats, a group of people will consistently find a better answer than a single person, and often a better answer than even the best individual in the group. The upshot for this article is that managers should not think that they are in the uniquely best position to propose a solution - with some very few exceptions, they are not, and the decision they reach will be worse than one they would have obtained had they consulted with the group. By Robert B. Cialdini , HBS Working Knowledge, August, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Rip. Mix. Feed. How?
Some nice work bvy Alan Levine, who has been on a tear lately (he must be on vacation). In this item he describes his use of a tool called Blogdigger to create topic-specific feeds of learning objects listed in RSS feeds, much the way Edu_RSS creates topic-specific pages from blogs. By Alan Levine, CogDogBlog, August 18, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

New Format Hastens Textbook Accessibility
From the article: "Students with disabilities can anticipate faster access to curriculum materials now that the U.S. Department of Education (ED) has formally endorsed a voluntary national publishing paradigm known as the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS). The standard will make it easier to convert traditional textbooks into formats such as Braille or text-to-speech." By Cara Branigan, eSchool News, August 12, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Reading: Barabasi, Linked: The New Science of Networks
Found while looking for an image from the book, a nice set of notes summarizing Albert-Laszlo Barabasi's Linked: The New Science of Networks (Perseus, 2002). This book is well worth reading if you haven't seen it yet. "Barabasi provides a rich yet readable source for the non-mathematician seeking to understand and apply the emerging science of self-organizing, scale-free networks." More... More... By Doug Simpson, Unintended Consequences, August 25, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Know a friend who might enjoy this newsletter?

Feel free to forward OLDaily to your colleagues. If you received this issue from a friend and would like a free subscription of your own, you can join our mailing list at http://www.downes.ca/cgi-bin/website/subscribe.cgi

[ About This NewsLetter] [ OLDaily Archives] [ Send me your comments]

Copyright © 2003 Stephen Downes
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.