Back in May I was asked to pull a group of people together to envision a new site and set of resources to help educate Penn State students to the ills of illegal downloading, plagiarism, and other cyber-based issues that face our campus on a regular basis. When we got the team together for the first time it was clear that the group wanted to do something different — we wanted to share messages that weren’t preachy and didn’t just say “stealing is bad.” We wanted to build something that provided insights into why it was wrong, but we wanted to let the students come to these conclusions without us beating them over the head.
After the first meeting I asked my friend and colleague, Allan Gyorke, to take the lead and run with the project. A few weeks later he and the team emerged with a plan that I thought was a little too ambitious, but he assured me they could pull it all off prior to the start of classes. In addition to the requisite website, they would take that positive approach we talked about and would create a series of videos that featured students being visited by their future selves at critical junctures in their own decision making process. What blows my mind is that we produced these videos end to end in ETS. They were written by the team, directed, shot, edited … you name it. The professionalism in the outcomes is outstanding. Take a look at the most recent one below.
Allan took some very lose conversations and turned it into a very powerful demonstration of what can be done when a team of people get behind a vision. In the other two videos the notion of Creative Commons is exposed as real solutions to the challenges facing the students. What I like about sharing the CC idea is that students can actually learn something about the environment they spend so much time in online. Too many people don’t understand copyright and it feels like this project is a first step towards us taking a new approach in sharing alternatives. I think if students took the time to understand alternatives, we’d see far fewer violations. I know the Digital Commons staff are making sure this is a big part of the message they share when working with faculty and students on digital media pieces. What more can we do? If you have ideas for subsequent Copyright Perspectives videos, please let us know!