Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand joins forces with the OER Foundation

Posted by Matt McGregor on 28 July 2014

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As of the first of July, Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand (CCANZ) is now hosted by the Open Education Resource Foundation.

CCANZ logo

"Most Creative Commons affiliates – and we are proud to be in an international community of over one hundred affiliates (and growing), in over seventy jurisdictions – are hosted by local institutions, often universities" said Matt McGregor, Public Lead of CCANZ.

For the last four years, Creative Commons in Aotearoa New Zealand has been hosted by the Royal Society of New Zealand, a non governmental organisation with a mission to promote excellence in science, technology and the humanities.

During this time, we strengthened our networks in the tertiary sector, and began to make inroads across a range of different projects, including heritage, arts, research, government and data. You can see all eight project areas on our homepage.

A particular focus during this time has been open educational resources, particularly in the compulsory sector (i.e. pre-tertiary). In the last two years, we've given well over fifty workshops to school groups of various kinds, advocating for the adoption of Creative Commons policies by school governance boards.

These policies enable teachers to legally share and collaborate over the production of educational resources using an open licence. You can read more about the issues involved here.

In March last year, we had only four schools with CC policies; a year later, we had over fifty. At the time of writing, I'm confident that the number has risen to closer to one hundred, with many major educational organisations supporting CC policy adoption.

More recently, a major report from a Ministerial advisory group on 'Future Focused Learning' recommended that the Ministry support open licensing in schools, so we hope to see the number of schools grow to closer to 2,500 (the number of schools in our small country!)

Creative Commons Kiwi from CreativeCommons AotearoaNZ on Vimeo.

While we've been focusing on schools, organisations like the OER Foundation have been busily recruiting kiwi tertiary institutions, seven of which have now made commitments to the OERu. This is quite astonishing progress, especially given that New Zealand only has twenty-nine public tertiary institutions. 

While we've been beavering away on open policy adoption, a number of academics have started experimenting with open textbook production. A team based at the University of Otago produced Media Studies 101 – a Creative Commons textbook, which they hacked over a weekend last November. Tim Bell from the University of Canterbury has been working on a Computer Science Field Guide, a similarly open textbook.

With all these developments, it is truly exciting to join the OER Foundation. A big thanks to the folks at OER Foundation headquartered at Otago Polytechnic, for supporting Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand.

While the OER movement has made great progress so far, we're still only at the beginning. Most educational resources, including those that are publicly funded, remain closed, and unjustifiable legal, technical and price barriers still get in the way of student learning.

But change is coming. Working with the OERF and the international OER community, we're getting closer to seeing open licensing as the default setting for educational resources produced in Aotearoa New Zealand. The local CC community looks forward to a busy few years ahead with the OERF helping to make this a reality.