Assignments


Baby playing with yellow paint. Work by Dutch artist Peter Klashorst.It has been an interesting 8 weeks with you all. I have been surprised how hard many of you have worked and how many of you have been willing to invest your time to make the study project an interesting experience for all. Thank you!

We are actually so excited that we are not willing to stop yet. What I am missing a bit in the course and the class is comments and evaluation of each other work in the last eight weeks of working. As this is a Wikiversity course, however, we are free to change the plans and add another extra week to the program. So let’s go one another two weeks. I hope this is ok for all?

The first final assignment for all of you is to visit each other blogs and comment the posts in there. Please, be nice for each other but also feel free to give real feedback, too, if you do not agree with something. We could all try to comment at least one blog posts in each other blogs. You will find other blogs from the list in the left side of this page.

The second final assignment is to give more general feedback about the course and the class. The wiki way is to write it together to the Wikiversity page called feedback. I already made a structure to the Composing free and open online educational resources/Critique and feedback -page. I hope that you all will write your own thoughts and suggestions how this kind of self-organized and voluntary study projects following a weekly program could be improved. This is very valuable and important for the future of the Wikiversity. So, please take some time to do this.

With Hans we are also planning one or to synchronous videoconference to meet “face to face” with all of you. The global time zones may cause so challenges but we will work it out. I am anyway in the US west cost time and Hans in time zone of the Euroland, so one of us can make it online almost anytime of the day. We will post the schedule to this blog next monday.

But, in the next coming weeks, please, spend some time reading each other blog posts and reflect also your own work. If there are some missing posts in your own “portfolio” you may still catch up with them in the coming next two weeks. We will do this with Hans, too. We will visit your blogs and comment your posts and write some reflective thoughts to this blogs.

Infinite Recycling I just completed listening your podcasts from last week. This task was perhaps a little bit more technical and we received less posts than usually. If you didn’t manage to complete the task last week, then you can try to do it this week. From the feedback it seems that people found Switchpod easier than Odeo for posting their podcast. You can see how Keith has embedded Switchpod player to his website. This week Mark introduced us his desk and Bonifatius told about his house. Rose had a nice background music played by her colleague and Juha spent some extra time to make a nice panorama photo. Thank you for another set of interesting works!

This week we will focus on video. You all probably know YouTube. Teemu absolutely loves that website. In our Wikiversity page we have links to many more online video sites. Unfortunately many of these videos are not really open educational resources. Most of the videos do not have Creative Commons licenses and you can’t download the video in a format that you can easily edit on your computer. Instead of that these sites provide you and embed code that you can use to post video on your blog or in some learning resource. You can see an example of using video in a learning resource in LeMill.

People often think that they need a video camera for making videos. Actually you can easily bypass this problem. I do not have a camcorder, so I’m taking videos with my digital photo camera or webcam when needed. The quality is not the best but I can still get the video. It is also possible to use photos, presentation slides, screen recording software (try Wink) or video clips for making your video. In YouTube there is one wonderful example of what people can make based on existing movie clips:

This week you should begin by embedding some video to your blog. After that you should try to make your own short video clip and post it to blip.tv and YouTube. You should also try to add subtitles with dotSUB. Finally you should write a post on your blog that points out the video sites that do contain openly licensed videos and suggest a process that you might go through to negotiate the open use of videos that you find that do not already have open license rights. As always, more detailed guidelines are on our Wikiversity page. Have fun!

PS. I made one video yesterday evening. It looks very amateurish, but because of my travelling I had to replace one presentation with that short video. I’m a Mac guy, so I used built in webcam, iMovie, ScreenFlow, Keynote and Audacity for doing that.

The Old Jukebox We have reached the 7th week of our course and I am happy that 17 participants are still keeping up with the tempo and a few others are a few weeks behind. Tomorrow I will do a small clean up in the list of participants. I noticed that James has just created a section for self paced study, so I will add a section for people who have started the course but are not active anymore. They have still written some interesting blog posts and I don’t want to remove all links that point to their blogs.

You posted a variety of nice photos last week: snow-white Canada, spring flowers from Sweden, stormy coast in France, beautiful Macedonia and math lesson from Indonesia are just a few ones to mention here. Also it is good to see that Marjut is back with an impressive collage of photos from a small Finnish town Kotka.

This week your works will not only look but also sound interesting. You will read about podcasting, open audio formats and Creative Commons licensed audio. You will install free audio editor Audacity, try to record your own podcast and publish it in some online service such as Odeo or Switchpod. There are more free podcasting sites, you will find something useful from Go2Web20.net when you choose podcast from their tag cloud.

We have a very simple topic for your podcast: a detailed (and creative) description of the view outside your home. You should also take a photograph of this view. Finally you should write a blog post about your reading and the process of doing a podcast. Do not forget to add link to the podcast and a photo. You will find more guidelines for this week from our Wikiversity page.

Town Hall Square in Tallinn This week we will focus on something that most of you have probably done many times before — taking digital photos. I hope that all of you will learn something new about that topic, whether it is about composing the photo, editing it on the computer or sharing in the web.

Even if you are using automatic mode on your camera you can improve your shots by careful composition. Perhaps the most widely known composition principle is the rule of thirds. You can see an examples of this and other composition rules from Digital Photography School. If you want to know more about the basics of photography you can watch a nice lecture by Joi Ito:

After reading about the composition rules you are ready to put it into practice. Take a digital camera and shoot some photos in your home town. Choose one or two pictures that can be used in learning resources.

When you have chosen the photos you probably need to do some basic image editing on them. One new and very simple image editor is Adobe Photoshop Express. It is a web-based software that you can use without installing anything on your computer. It only requires Flash player that you probably have anyway. Other options include Gimp, Paint.NET, Picasa, Seashore and various commercial image editors. I typically start editing by cropping out this part of the photo that I want to have in the final image. By cropping you can often also improve the compensation. Then I fix problems with exposure and white balance, add saturation (if needed) and sharpen the image. From YouTube you can find a lot of helpful videos about using different image editors.

Last two years I have used Flickr to post my photos online. The benefit of having your photos in Flickr is its large user base — more people have a chance to notice your photo. I publish my photos under Creative Commons Attribution license. This gives other people more freedom to reuse my photo, because they are free to choose any license they want for the derivative works that contains my photo. It is important to notice that only part of the photos in Flickr are under Creative Commons licenses. You can search and browse these at http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/.

As a practical task you should join Flickr and upload the photos that you selected. Describe photos with tags, place them on a map and add a Creative Commons license. Please also try to upload one photo to Wikimedia Commons or LeMill. In LeMill you can add photos in the Content section. Just choose adding new content and upload the photos as media pieces.

What if you don’t have a digital camera? Don’t worry. You will definitely find a Creative Commons licensed photo from your home town or country. Find a photo that is under Attribution or Attribution-ShareAlike license. Maybe you can improve the photo by cropping out this part that you want to focus on. When you are done, please upload the result to LeMill as a media piece. Don’t forget to add who was the original author and where you found this photo.

Finally write a blog post where you summarize what you have learned from the task. Also add links to the photos that you have uploaded and found online.

Kizu Naoko, aka Aphaia in the Wikimania 2006 To be honest I am late with my reading. I am late about reading your blogs from the last week. When checking the blogs now shortly I noticed that at least some people have already done the assignment of the week 5.

This is great, though for keeping the discussions going on it is good if we will all keep about the same rhythm in the course. Still, I like the idea of people planning their own schedule in the course. We all are, however, the best experts of our own time.

So, please do not speed-up too much and those who are late week or two, please, catch us up as soon as possible. I think a week ahead or late is accessible and manageable for all.

With Hans we will again clean up the participants list after the week 6. So write down this date in your calendars as the checkpoint day. That day your blog should have all the posts from the first 6 weeks in the place. If not, Hans will ruthlessly remove your name from the list of participants.

The topic of the week 5 week 3 is the Wikipedia and Wikimedia – the crown prince of open educational resources and his family. Actually, I am not sure if the metaphor makes sense at all (some native speaker of English from a country of kings and queens could comment on this :-), but I’ll try to explain.

Wikipedia is the largest collaboratively edited reference projects in the world: more than 10 million articles in more than 250 languages. Without Wikipedia we probably would not talk about Open Educational Resources at all. The success of Wikipedia has demonstrate the power of “open source” way of working with content. The two articles of this weeks reading are trying to enlighten how Wikipedia works: it isn’t anarchy, it isn’t a miracle, it’s not perfect but it works somehow.

So, what is the Wikimedia then? It is the family of the Wikipedia – a general term used when referred to other projects originated by the Wikipedia community. When the family of projects has grown, and at some point a Foundation called Wikimedia was found to support the community, the overall community working with the projects is nowadays often called as Wikimedia community. To make everything even more complicate – at least to remember there is also Mediawiki, which is the open source software running the project. The Wikimedia projects do not only share the same platform but also the commitment to create free content. All the content are licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License (except Wikinews, which is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5). This way all the Wikimedia content can be freely used, freely edited, freely copied and freely redistributed subject to the restrictions of that license. If you did your readings for the last week you know what all this means.

Finally, one more piece of information that may make the whole picture more confusing. Also many other projects online are using the Mediawiki software, and because of this they may look similar to the Wikimedia project. Some of them also have the a name with “wiki” in them but are not necessary Wikimedia projects. The Wikimedia projects are listed in the Wikimedia.org and in the website of the Wikimedia Foundation.

I hope the articles will explain how Wikimedia projects work. To understand that it is not only Wikipedia, please, have a look of the other Wikimedia projects, too. These are Wikitionary – a dictionary in all the languages of the world; Wkinews – alternative news service; Wikiboooks – a collection of free study and text books; Wikimedia Commons – a site with free media flies; Wikispecies – directory of the world species; Wikiquote – a site with quotations taken from famous people, books, speeches, etc; and Wkiversity – this you all already know. At least take a look of the full list of Wikimedia projects with short descriptions. In addition to these the Wikimedia community is also developing the Mediawiki software – the platform used in the projects and organizes an annual conference called Wikimania, this year in the Library of Alexandria in Egypt. Hope to see you there.

What do you think about the Wikimedia projects? What do you think will be the future of the Wikimedia projects? How do you see the future of OERs when you think about the Wikimedia projects?

Lawrence Lessig is thinking We have been extremely delighted that so many of you are still with us. Hans promised to do the cleaning up of the participants list later this week. He has a good reason for the little delay with this task.

I was today preparing a lecture with the title “Wikimedia – Media for All”. I am going to give the talk next month in Helsinki. When working on it, I realized that I must somehow prepare to have a good answer to the most common question: Why people are giving away their copyright for nothing? What is their motivation?

My wild guess is: they do it because they can and because they care. At least, this is why I do it.

What it means that you can? It means that you have access to the technology. Naturally, you need the tools to do your media. You also need tools to replicate your work with minimal cost and tools to distribute it. You need a computer and Internet connection. Finally you need a legal instrument – something like a license that will give other people rights to use your creations. Now you can.

What it means that you care? It means that you enjoy different kind of media. The greater the diversity, the better. The more, the merrier. You want to see what other people have made, improve and build on them. Again you need the technical tools and the legal instrument. Now you can care.

There are many commercial interest related to the question of copyright. Because of this I want to add here two commercials talking about the topic in their own way.

The first one is a TV advertisement from the year 1984. The advertisement makes references to George Orwel ‘s famous novel, 1984, published in 1949. In Orwel’s future the authorities will control everybody with a surveillance technology. The Big Brother is watching you! In the TV add, a computer manufacturer promises to give the power (back) for the people.

The second one is more recent, twenty years later, from the year 2004. This advertisement points out the fact that today ordinary children are sued for downloading music. Children are labeled to be criminals, though they don’t see themselves doing anything wrong.

Already waiting to see your blog posts about copyright, free culture and alternatives.

LeMill front page.This week we will do some hands on work with open educational resources. I think a higher level of learning requires that we get our hands dirty: go to the field, work in there and same time reflect our experience. It’s like the medical students in a hospital or teacher students in a school.

We have to write only one blog post, but in addition to that we should do some other things.

First of all, register to LeMill or Wikiveristy and write basic information about yourself to the site. I know, that continuous self-introductions may get boring but you may also just link to somewhere where there is information about you. In the case of Wikiversity you should write something in your user page. If you have already done all this, you are doing pretty well.

After this try to locate people or projects you would like to work with in LeMill or Wikiversity. Start working on some of them and start also your own project. Be bold! Be very bold! You really can’t do anything “wrong” in these sites. The idea of having the “edit” button in almost every page in these sites means that you really are free to edit the pages. In these sites there is history (like UnDo) to make things right if something goes wrong. However, be aware that even that in most cases people in these sites are nice and polite to each other you may find some very passionate and hot-tempered people, too. My advice is that just stay cool when someone is hot. For those who will work on Wikiversity, Erkan wrote some hints on that. Please, check them out. Thank you Erkan!

Now you are done – almost. There is only the blog post describing your trip to the fields. What did you like? What did you hate? What kind of feeling did you have? Do you think you will come back or was this enough? You can write your post like a field trip report or travelogue. Please use links in your post to so people can have a look from LEMill or Wikiversity what you are working on.

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