From Mo Nyamweya, SPARC | Volume 76 | March 7, 2019
THE OER DIGEST
Your bi-weekly newsletter for open education updates, opportunities, and reminders
OPEN TEXTBOOK PILOT UPDATE: The U.S. Department of Education has awarded the second round of $5 million in Open Textbook Pilot funding to Chippewa Valley Technical College and Arizona State University. Instead of opening a new competition as per Congress’s instructions, the Department funded high-ranking proposals that were submitted in the first round. While that means there will not be a chance to apply, the funding will go toward projects that benefit the broader community. Senators Durbin and Murray sent a letter to Secretary DeVos requesting an explanation of the Department’s actions.
OE WEEK HILL BRIEFING: A group of open education leaders including representatives from SPARC and U.S. PIRG took to Capitol Hill during Open Education Week to educate lawmakers about open textbooks and college affordability. Events included a panel briefing for Congressional staff, a meeting with OER champion Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), and meetings with offices of both parties. According to SPARC’s recap, the goal is to renew and strengthen the Open Textbook Pilot funding and pass the Affordable College Textbook Act.
NEBRASKA UPDATE: Doubling down on their commitment to OER, Nebraska has launched the Nebraska OER Hub, joining more than 30 OER Project Hubs on the OER Commons public digital library, which brings together groups of educators to create, organize, and share their resources. Meanwhile, students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln saved $117,836 in textbook finances during the 2018 fall semester thanks to UNL’s Successful Teaching with Affordable Resources initiative which was designed to lower the costs of textbooks and course content through the use of OER. UNL expects to save students at least $275,000 during the 2019-20 academic year.
POLICY UPDATES: The Washington House of Representatives unanimously passed a measure that would ensure that community and technical college students are aware of which courses use low-cost or free materials. Oregon introduced a bill that would require community colleges to ensure that course descriptions include textbook costs, and another that would allocate money to fund Oregon’s OER Program. Texas, which passed OER legislation in its last session, is now considering a bill that would support inclusive access.
Conferences, jobs, and other OER-related opportunities
REGISTER NOW: Registration for the Textbook Affordability Conference (April 14-16) has opened. The conference takes place at the University of Minnesota and will focus on affordability, accessibility, and effective course content.
REGISTER NOW: Registration for the 2019 Digital Initiatives Symposium (April 29-30) is open. The event takes place at the University of San Diego and registration closes on April 19.
REGISTER NOW: Registration is open for the first-ever 2019 Statewide Colorado OER Conference (May 31). The conference hosted by the Colorado Department of Ed and taking place in Denver at CCCS.
CALL FOR PROPOSALS: The 2019 Miami University Libraries Copyright Conference (September 25-26) is now accepting proposals for poster and breakout sessions. The deadline for proposals is March 31.
STORIES FROM THE FIELD
Quick snapshots of those making change on the ground level, and those impacted
FROM KENTUCKY: University of Kentucky Libraries is entering the fourth round of their Alternative Textbook Grant Program. As of August 2018, 15 of the funded courses had an approximate enrollment of 4,318 students and an accumulative estimated savings of $665,690 for enrolled students. Each student saved about $154 on average. “I now have a plethora of resources to use going forward with this course and will likely not go back to a standardized textbook,” said Robin Vanderpool, associate professor in the Department of Health, Behavior & Society and grant recipient. Read more >>
FROM ILLINOIS: Triton College is celebrating $1 million in student savings, thanks to their innovative Low Cost/No Cost Textbook Alternatives Program. The program, launched in 2013 with support from a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, aims to better prepare students for success by providing access to high quality open textbooks and other free learning materials. “Once we have an opportunity to have a dialogue with faculty, they realize that there are high quality resources available that are created by faculty and reviewed by faculty at institutions across the country — they become excited to learn more about it,” said faculty librarian Lauren Kosrow. Read more >>
FROM COLORADO: Educators from the University of Colorado have launched the Open CU Initiative, designed to leverage existing infrastructure, advocacy and leadership support to increase OER awareness, evaluation and adoption across the campuses’ 66,000 degree-seeking students and 9,000 faculty and instructors. “We are excited to work with a vast group from all four campuses to really bring awareness and use of OER to UCCS to help support our mission of putting our students and their financial needs first,” said Provost Tom Christensen. Read more >>
HOT OFF THE PRESS
Each edition, we’ll highlight an interesting, new, openly-licensed resource
The University of Duisburg-Essen Department of Business Administration and Economics recently published Introduction to Econometrics with R, an interactive learning material for students learning the statistical programming language R. The resource is currently in open review.
Interesting Discussions and Strategic Reads to Repost or Share
Great to Share >>
Interesting to Consider >>
Letter to the editor: Pearson’s All-in Digital Access program is a mistake | The Daily Tar Heel
Today’s Context Demands Use of OER | Inside Higher Ed
The OER Digest is a public newsletter distributed to a broad group of stakeholders across the higher education community. You can join the open Google Group or check out the distribution list here.