From Cailyn Nagle (PIRG) | Volume 127 | April 15th, 2021
THE OER DIGEST
Your bi-weekly newsletter for open education updates, opportunities, and reminders
UPDATES FROM THE STATES: In Colorado, bi-partisan legislation that would expand the statewide OER grant program to include zero textbook cost degree pathways is moving through the state senate. The bill would also provide $1 million in annual state funding for the next five years. Meanwhile, legislation that would regulate automatic billing for course materials has met with strong resistance from the commercial publishing industry, who have framed the legislation as OER vs automatic billing. California’s AB403, which would require automatically billed materials to allow students to opt-in, has stalled in the Committee on Higher Education for now. Two bills in Texas remain under consideration after hearings last month, HB 1707 and HB 1027.
UCF CHOOSES OPT-IN: Students at University of Central Florida have won their campaign to maintain the opt-in structure of their campus’s “First Day” Barnes and Noble program. After a strong grassroots effort of a broad coalition of student groups including WikiKnights, FloPIRG Students, College Republicans, College Democrats, and Young Socialists of America, UCF has decided to not move forward with the proposed opt-out change to their automatic billing program, and will allow students to choose whether to get billed.
MIT OCW TURNS 20: On April 7th, MIT OpenCourseWare celebrated its 20th anniversary. One of the first large-scale open education programs, MIT OCW has become an invaluable resource to millions of learners around the world. “The idea for OCW came from MIT faculty: to give away MIT’s course materials to the world online,” said MIT President L. Rafael Reif. Over the last two decades, people of all ages and all walks of life have used the lectures, videos, problem sets, and other content.
Conferences, jobs, and other OER-related opportunities
REGISTER NOW: The Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) is hosting a webinar on Thursday, April 22 at 1pm ET investigating how stakeholders in Canada can successfully collaborate to advance national capacity for OER. Learn more and register here.
REGISTER NOW: The webinar, OER in Dual and Concurrent Enrollment Programs: Current Practice and Best Practice, shares the findings and best practices of a study funded by the Midwestern Higher Education Compact and the Southern Regional Education Board. The webinar will take place May 26th from 1:00 – 2:00 PM CT. Learn more and register here.
JOB OPPORTUNITY: University of Tennessee at Chattanooga library is looking for a new Director of Acquisitions and Content. The position is tenure track and the review of applications begins May 10th. Learn more and apply here.
JOB OPPORTUNITY: Utah State University Library is looking for a new Open Educational Resource and Outreach librarian. This is a tenure track position and review of the applications begins April 26th. Learn more and apply here.
JOB OPPORTUNITY: Texas Tech University is looking for a new OER Librarian. This full-time position assistant librarian position is based in Lubbock. Learn more and apply here.
CALL FOR PROPOSALS: The Open Learning & Teaching Collaborative and the Interdisciplinary Studies Department at Plymouth State University have a paid opportunity to contribute to a new textbook. The chapter must be on the history of disciplinarity. Submit a cover letter, writing sample, and outline by May 14th. Special preference will be given to graduate students and adjunct faculty. Learn more here.
STORIES FROM THE FIELD
Quick snapshots of those making change on the ground level, and those impacted
FROM NEBRASKA: At University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the Successful Teaching with Affordable Resources initiative has saved students over $3.5 million in textbook costs since it was created in 2019. The program encourages faculty to use cheaper or free textbooks through participating in an automatic billing program or adopting an open textbook. “The other big win is that no matter what area a student is struggling in we can provide them a textbook in that area without any costs (through OER),” said Nathan Wakefield, director of first-year mathematics programs. “So there’s the real cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars we’re saving, but I think there’s also this big benefit of access. We’re giving the book to them at their fingertips without any extra expenses.” Read more>>
FROM MICHIGAN: Grand Valley State University plans to expand the use of OER on campus through their Innovation Fund. “If you imagine OER as a bus line, we’re adding more stops so that people who are interested in getting involved don’t have to walk all the way to the early adopter station,” said Matt Ruen, scholarly communications outreach coordinator for University Libraries. The program will fund a student editorial assistant, adjunct OER coordinator, a faculty workshop, and stipends for reviewing an open textbook. Read more >>
FROM WISCONSIN: Starting next fall, students in statistics courses across the Chippewa Valley Technical College campus will be using Lori Ann Simmons’ new OpenStax textbook, saving $200 each. Simmons wrote the book after attending an OER class funded by the Federal Open Textbook Pilot. This is the second open textbook to come out of CVTC, and while this statistics book is currently an on campus project Simmons is working to make it available on more campuses. Read more >>
FROM INDIANA: The Private Academic Library Network of Indiana’s PALSave Program has created a grant to fund six new open textbooks. The grant has funded textbooks in subjects from religion and theater to mathematics and actuarial science. The textbooks funded by the program will be available for the public in 2023, tentatively. Read more >>
HOT OFF THE PRESS
Each edition, we highlight an interesting, new, openly-licensed resource
From Florida A&M University comes From Growing to Biology: Plants, by Dr. Gokhan Hacisalihoglu. This “voyage through plants” features horticultural information suitable for both academic and industrial audiences. The textbook comes with assessments, vocabulary, learning outcomes, and identification information for over 120 plants.
Great reads to repost or share and interesting discussions to consider
Great to Share >>
Our OER Epiphany: Advocating for Open Educational Resources as Tools for Affordability and Equity | Association for American Colleges and Universities
Boosting Adoption of Open Educational Resources | Inside Higher Ed
Interesting to Consider >>
Opinion: Buying college textbooks is an avoidable stress | Taunton Daily Gazette
The Challenge of OER and Experiential Learning | CUNY Academic Commons
The OER Digest is a public newsletter distributed to a broad group of stakeholders across the higher education community. Subscribe here.