Build Your PLN

There is more to building your Personal Learning Network (PLN) than just finding the right tools. Two important issues you should consider are licensing and privacy.
Not everything you find on the Internet is free. In fact, even when something is free, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are allowed to share it or modify it. It’s important to always be aware of the copyright and licensing laws involved with content you find. One way to be safe is to look for content that is in the public domain (for example, the Gutenberg Project has many public domain works) or uses a Creative Commons license.

 

Creative Commons

Creative Commons licenses let you reshare content as much as you want, just as long as you give credit to the author. There are six types of Creative Commons licenses, all of which are aimed to protect the artist’s rights while encouraging sharing:

Attribution

This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation.

Attribution-ShareAlike

This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms… All new works based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use. This is the license used by Wikipedia, and is recommended for materials that would benefit from incorporating content from Wikipedia and similarly licensed projects.

Attribution-NoDerivs

This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to you.

Attribution-NonCommercial

This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.”

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.”

Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs

This license is the most restrictive of our six main licenses, only allowing others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.”

 

Searching for Creative Commons content

Creative Commons search website allows you to search for images, media, video, music, and websites that are licensed under Creative Commons. You can narrow down your search by specifying whether you are going to use it for commercial purposes and make any modifications to the original piece. This search site is helpful because it will only bring up the CC-licensed content. However, you can also search for CC-licensed content in the most common search tools Google and YouTube using the advanced search features. You can watch the following video tutorial to learn how to do this.
If you are logged into a Gmail (or CyMail) account, you will see an options icon at the top right of Google search page. Click on it and you will see “advanced search”. If you do not have a gmail account you can directly go to the Google Advanced Search. Down at the bottom of the page, there is a field called “usage rights.” Here, you can select the type ofCreative Commons content you want to search for.

 

Software Licenses

There are types of licenses for software that are similar to Creative Commons, that is, they encourage free sharing of software. For example, software licensed under a General Public License is free for anyone to use and modify. More precisely, “users have the freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software” (GNU.org). The Free Software Foundation is a good place to get informed about free software options.
Open Source software is also an option for free software. There is usually an open-source equivalent for every commercial piece software. Open Source licensed content can be modified provided that the modified content is shared under the same terms as the license of the original software. Open Source software is pretty common. The Internet browser Firefox, for example, is open source. Perhaps you have also heard of LibreOffice, an open source equivalent to Microsoft Office. To learn more about open source license visit the Open Source Initiative website. You may also refer to the tools section in this module for more information about different types of open source software you may use for free.

 

Privacy

 “…more than two-thirds (71%) of social networking users ages 18-29 have changed the privacy settings on their profile to limit what they share with others online…” (Pew Internet)
In addition to licensing, it’s important to keep privacy in mind when you make your PLN. Social networks aren’t as private as they can seem. Be mindful of the privacy options you are given and make a point to go back to privacy settings after some time. A recent study revealed that “more than two-thirds (71%) of social networking users ages 18-29 have changed the privacy settings on their profile to limit what they share with others online” (Pew Internet).
Privacy settings are often a moving target. They change frequently and they may become more sophisticated as tools are more widely adopted. For example, Facebook and Google are notorious for changing privacy options on a regular basis. It’s a good idea to check privacy settings in your main social networks on a regular basis.

About creative commons

Attribution means:
You let others copy,
distribute, display, and
perform your copyrighted work
– and derivative works based upon it
– but only if they give you credit.
 
Noncommercial means:
You let others copy,
distribute, display, and
perform your work
– and derivative works based upon it – but
for noncommercial purposes only.
 
 
No Derivative Works means:
You let others copy,
distribute, display,
and perform only verbatim
copies of your work, not derivative works based upon it.
 
 

Share Alike means:
You allow others to
distribute derivative works only
under a license identical to the license that governs your work.