From Kaitlyn Vitez and Nick Sengstaken (USPIRG) | Volume 81 | May 16th, 2019
THE OER DIGEST
Your bi-weekly newsletter for open education updates, opportunities, and reminders
PUBLISHER CONSOLIDATION CONTINUES: Shortly after Cengage and McGraw-Hill announced their intention to merge (our top story in the last edition), another textbook publisher, Wiley, finalized the purchase of Knewton. The eleven year old ed tech startup has focused on adaptive learning technology and, recently, lower-cost access codes based on openly licensed content. While this acquisition is giving some advocates more reason to worry about greater consolidation of publishers in an already tight marketplace, it also shows that there are increasing pressures on major players to expand their lower-cost offerings.
- Inside Higher Ed: End of the Line for Much-Hyped Tech Company
- Education Dive: Publisher consolidation continues with Wiley, Cengage and McGraw-Hill deals
- Chronicle of Higher Ed: Another Big Move Hits Higher-Ed Publishing, as Wiley Buys Knewton
STATE UPDATES: A bill that would require institutions to make textbook affordability plans heads to the governor’s desk for signature in New Jersey. In North Carolina, the House passed a funding bill that would allocate $300,000 for open textbook adoption and curation in the UNC statewide system, and now awaits action in the Senate. Meanwhile, bills passed out of the House in Texas to set up a state OER repository and require dual-enrollment courses to consider OER, while a bill on inclusive access will not move forward. A new inclusive access bill has started moving in New York.
STATEWIDE FUNDING: An Indianapolis-based foundation, the Lilly Endowment, recently awarded $520,000 to the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI) for their PALSave initiative. According to Kirsten Leonard, Executive Director of PALNI, “The PALSave program will provide education and funding support to the faculty of the 24 private Indiana colleges, universities, and seminaries to adopt, adapt, and create affordable learning materials.” Read more here.
ACHIEVEMENTS ABROAD: The recent UNESCO report ‘Understanding the Impact of OER: Achievements and Challenges’ provides a series of case studies detailing OER policies and initiatives happening across the world. The publication includes achievements and discussions from 15 countries, seeking “to shed light on such important issues as the economic and pedagogical value of investing in OER; the role of OER in fostering diversity, inclusion, and in purposively pursuing quality improvement and innovation; and, finally, the extent to which these important issues are being researched.” These global achievements are also outlined in the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s report, Understanding the Global OER Landscape.
NEW AUTHOR: Hello! I’m Nick Sengstaken, and I’m excited to be joining the OER Digest team as a summer intern with U.S. PIRG. Now a rising senior at UNC Chapel Hill, I’ve spent the last three years advocating for OER as both Coordinator for NCPIRG’s College Affordability Campaign and Affordability Co-Chair for UNC’s Undergraduate Student Government. I currently serve as Undergraduate Chief of Staff. You can find me @NickSengstaken.
Conferences, jobs, and other OER-related opportunities
OPPORTUNITY: BCcampus is searching for a Project Manager to focus on Business and STEM Zed Cred Development. Submit your cover letter and CV to email@example.com by May 31, or learn more about this and other open positions here.
OPPORTUNITY: George Mason University is seeking an Open Educational Resources & Scholarly Communication Lead to collaborate with colleagues in Mason Publishing, within the Libraries more broadly, and across the university to support the adoption and creation of open and affordable course content. Learn more and apply here by June 3rd.
STORIES FROM THE FIELD
Quick snapshots of those making change on the ground level, and those impacted
FROM NORTH CAROLINA: NC Live hosted their first annual conference since launching a statewide initiative to identify open textbooks for the most frequently taught courses across the states colleges and universities, awarding a total of 87 grants. Not only did the investment create an estimated $5.7 million in savings for 41,849 students over a two year period- with a return on investment of 1:66- but 100% of faculty who switched to open textbooks stated that they would continue using the materials. Read More >
FROM CALIFORNIA: Since leading the charge for OER use at Pasadena City College in 2015, when she became the first professor to adopt a textbook from Rice University’s OpenStax collection, Julie Kiotas and her Open Education Resources Committee have saved students $1.2 million with the support of Zero-Textbook Cost (ZTC) option courses. At Pasadena City College, 195 faculty now teach 559 ZTC sections which serves 15,383 students at the college according to Shatford Library. Read More >
HOT OFF THE PRESS
Each edition, we’ll highlight an interesting, new, openly-licensed resource
Open Oregon celebrated the addition of the 600th entry in its OER repository after just four years. The entry, a grant-funded textbook on introductory Chinese, was written by Lin Hong of Central Oregon Community College. The text includes ten sections, two of which are “pre-units”, with section communication objectives, several modules, and a unit review. The full text can be accessed in PDF or Microsoft Word formats.
Interesting Discussions and Strategic Reads to Repost or Share
Great to Share >>
- Leah Wasser Receives Open Educator Award l UC Boulder Libraries
Interesting to Consider >>
- 5 Reasons to have OER and Open Up Resources on Your Radar | Teacher Tech with Alice Keeler
- Knewton Is Gone. The Larger Threat Remains | 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.