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Digital skills: succeeding in a digital world
Digital skills: succeeding in a digital world

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4 Copyright and Creative Commons (CC)

The internet offers exciting possibilities to find, use and remix all sorts of media, for example, images, videos or music. In Week 4 you found out how you can use Creative Commons (CC) to protect your own and other people’s rights when creating, sharing and re-using online material in public spaces.

Knowing how to find and use freely available resources licensed under CC will enhance your study by enabling you to introduce a wider range of information and media into assignments and projects, safe in the knowledge that you are staying within the law. As you become more confident in creating your own digital content, CC licences provide an easy way to let everyone know you are happy for them to use your work. It is also a way of making others (including employers) aware of the knowledge and skills you have gained as a result of study.

For study

Getting in the habit of acknowledging others’ work is very good preparation for academic writing. When you make clear reference to the sources you have used, you are signalling clearly what you have based your arguments on. Readers of your work can follow up these sources for themselves as they engage with your writing. Good referencing also helps you to avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism is when you use the work of other people to gain some form of benefit (for example, a good essay grade) without formally acknowledging that the work came from someone else. It does not just occur in academic assignments. It may happen when you pass on information in online forums or other social networking sites without acknowledging where it came from.

In Week 4, you learned how to use the work of other people safely. The following activity is an opportunity for you to reflect on how this skill might help you.

Activity 3 Creative use of others’ resources

Timing: 20 minutes

John is publishing his online recipe collection under a CC licence, which is having the added benefit of enhancing his digital profile. Michael has really enjoyed producing his own materials (Christmas cards, leaflets and posters) using images licensed under CC. Manuela has used photographs and music for a presentation on repairing bikes. She has even been the star of an online video, which she made available under a CC licence.

  • Think about your own interests and hobbies and identify something you would like to share with others online.
  • Find a relevant image online that represents your interest and is free to use or share under Creative Commons. For example, if your interest is walking, it might be a picture of a pair of walking boots. If your interest is sport, it could be an image of the particular sport you do or follow.
  • Note down where you found it and why you chose it (i.e. how it represents your interest or hobby and how you know that you can use it freely).
  • Optional: If you wish to, post the image on the OU Library Facebook page [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] with a short explanation of why you have chosen it.

Make a note in your Digital plan of anything you plan to do to develop your skills in this area.