Classrooms for Free Culture

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Please contribute! This is a rough idea. We're looking for Summer of Content participants interested in running a class at their universities as part of this program, please see Classrooms for Free Culture SoCon if you're interested.

the idea

CFFC is a program for university professors who want to make their course assignments and student projects into open content/open source/free culture projects that benefit the global community. Get your students doing real work for real people - not just writing for the TA who's grading their papers. Interested professors apply before the start of each academic semester to make one (or more) of their project-based courses a CFFC class, where class projects will all be released into the public domain, and designed as open materials with reusability by others in mind.

CFFC works with professors and their CFFC classes to provide resources and support for integrating open content into the classroom and finding a venue and audience for students to create for (because it's so much more fun when you know your projects are going to get used by real people). We hope to see a whole host of project classes participate and create Open-Licensed material - open source software and hardware (plans for mechanical devices, schematics for electrical ones), open content (writing books, shooting movies, recording music, taking pictures). We don't tell professors what to teach - we work with them to make their existing project classes produce open content instead.

Students will learn how to do not just projects, but free culture projects - open source, open content - which operate somewhat differently from traditional notions of how projects are done in both academia and the corporate world.

There should be some sort of incentive for people to participate - cool t-shirts, training resources and materials, networking opportunities. We need to come up with ideas for what this could be.

The plan

  • Start with a small group of professors already involved in open content and free culture and get them to do this with one of their classes in the fall semester.
  • In future semesters, can expand to include K-12 teachers, summer camps.

What's in it for them?


Support and recognition. Get help and guidance in running a project class, in making projects open content, introducing students to the concept of free culture... if you've done these things before, join a network of teachers doing the same thing, and share your knowledge with them. May be possible to arrange financial support for project budgets, etc.


Empowerment. Students are introduced to the free culture community, learn how to make open source/content projects and how to join in a community of creation (which they can belong in no matter what classes they're in or what job they might have). Their projects can get wider exposure and publicity, there's potential to collaborate with students from other schools.

Free culture organizations

Growth. New contributors, new materials - a great way to grow the ranks with quality projects.

Interested parties

Olin College (USA)

professors already have students build projects for many of their classes, and some of the profs are already into open content. See main Olin website. We are planning on starting a University program chapter and this would be one of the activities the chapter takes on and supports.

  • Mel Chua ('07 - interested in helping to run CFFC & facilitating Olin stuff)
  • Marco M ('10 - interested in helping out, but not sure how much time can be invested in planning and early involvement)
  • Andy P ('10 - would be happy to talk to profs about it with more info prepared up front (i = open content noob))