Month: December 2015

Regular Edition

OER Digest – December 31st, 2015

By Ethan Senack, Student PIRGs | Volume 7 | December 31, 2015

With help from Cable Green, Nicole Allen, Sarah Cohen, and others

THE OER DIGEST
Your tip sheet for U.S. OER updates, opportunities, and reminders

WRAPPING UP: It’s December 31st! To commemorate the holiday, we’re adding a special section to today’s digest: The Year In Review. Check it out below, and as always, thanks for your continued interest, your feedback, and all the tips you’ve sent our way. Hope your holidays have been great, and we’ll see you again in 2016.

RULEMAKING RESULTS: The comment deadline has passed for the Department of Education’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on openly licensing educational materials funded by their direct competitive grants. In total, 147 comments were submitted (though some represented multiple organizations, like this coalition letter). Comments represented a wide range of opinions, and both ends of the spectrum in terms of support for the proposed rule. OER advocates submitted a variety of straightforward, merit-based arguments, and offered significant technical advice in response to the Department’s implementation questions. As such, we’re confident in the case presented for OER as we look forward to the final rule.

SPECIAL PROPS: to Nicole Allen and Meredith Jacob for their work organizing the community around the rule.

LABOR, TOO: The Department of Labor just announced that intellectual property developed under their competitive grants will be licensed under CC BY. This announcement codifies DOL’s longtime leadership at the program level, where they required open licenses on multiple grants before enacting this agency-wide policy. Hopefully, the policy gives the Department of Education more momentum to finalize their own strong rule.

READ MORE: Labor’s notice in the federal registerabout the change.

REPORT – OER IN K-12: K12 HandHelds just released a report on “adoption and implementation of K-12 core instructional materials, and business models for the successful and sustainable publishing of such open educational resource (OER) materials.”

CHECK IT OUT: it’s an interesting read.

It’s Thursday, December 31st. Ethan Senack here. Happy New Year’s Eve! Here’s to starting 2016 off right. Don’t forget to send tips, updates, opportunities, and feedback to @HigherEdPIRG or esenack@pirg.org with the subject “OER DIGEST”.

YEAR IN REVIEW:

Some of the biggest policy steps we took in 2015
LAUNCHING #GoOPEN: The Department of Education announced the launch of #GoOpen, a campaign to encourage states, school districts and educators to use openly licensed educational materials. The campaign includes transitioning 10 “Future Ready” classrooms to OER, partnerships with major technology companies to develop OER integration tools, and a commitment to pursuing open licensing on grant-funded materials.

STAFFING UP: The Department of Education also announced the creation of a new “Special Advisor on Open Education” – a role filled by ed tech champion Andy Marcinek. Andy will be working to connect K-12 and higher ed with OER and public domain materials.

TWO DEPARTMENT RULES: As mentioned above, in a final rule this month, the Department of Labor included CC BY licensing on materials produced by their grants, and the Department of Education is in the midst of a Rulemaking cycle to determine their own open licensing policy.

OPEN GOVERNMENT PLAN: The White House released their third Open Government Partnership National Action Plan. The plan, which includes dozens of commitments to transparency and openness by the government, also includes a strong commitment to open education and open access to research. The plan specifies three general activities the government will take to advance open education: openly license more Federal grant-supported education materials, convene stakeholders, and publish best practices for agencies.

AFFORDABLE TEXTBOOK ACT: Senators Durbin (D-IL), Franken (D-MN) and King (I-ME), along with Congressmen Hinojosa (D-TX) and Polis (D-CO) introduced federal legislation to support OER adoption and development on college campuses. The Affordable College Textbook Act would establish a federal grant program to fund OER development, adaption, and professional development. To highlight the bill, Senators Durbin and Franken joined advocates on a press call for campus journalists and national reporters. The press call generated almost 100 media hits discussing the bill and OER.

ELEMENTARY AND OER: Congress passed a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Besides significant changes to the No Child Left Behind policy era, the bill also includes a new OER provision in the multi-billion dollar State Support and Academic Enrichment Grant program. Looking forward, states may use that funding to support districts in making instructional content available as OER.

STATE CHAMPIONS: The states of Oregon, Connecticut, and California all passed legislation regarding OER this year. Between them, these three states are putting over a million dollars behind OER, supporting adaptation, creation, professional development, and training. Massachusetts and Texas, among others, have pending OER legislation as well.

OPEN POLICY MEETING: The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy co-hosted an “Inter-Agency Open Policy Workshop” with the Department of Education. Dozens of agencies were represented, and staff heard from OER advocates on the impact of open licensing, how the federal government can benefit, and what can be done.

OER-USA UP AND RUNNING: It’s been a banner year for OER policy, and we’ve got plenty to look forward to next year. A new home for organizing around US OER policy came online this year with the launch of the OER USA coalition. Their first action? Organizing more than 100 organizations to submit a letter to President Obama calling for a commitment to open licensing. See it here>
STORIES FROM THE FIELD:
A brief snapshot of those making change on the ground level, and those most impacted

THEY GROW UP FAST: At the close of 2015, the Open Textbook Network is celebrating membership that extends across a 100 campuses nationwide. They’ll be holding workshops this Spring at campuses in Washington, Ohio, Kansas, Oregon, and Pennsylvania, and more.  They also recently added the 200th book to the Open Textbook Library, with new additions from Open SUNY, University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, and Portland State University in foreign languages, math, science, and business. The faculty reviews they generated from their fall campus visits will be added in the new year. It’s been a tremendous year of growth for the OTN and they appreciate the leadership and hard work of their members in bringing open textbooks to campus.

THE PRICE TO PAY: “…If you aren’t financially able to buy the access code, you can’t do your homework and that’s a bunch of your grade that you’re losing. I think it’s a terrible idea because you’re pretty much paying for your grade,” from a student at Drexel University. Read More>

Want your story featured? Email it to esenack@pirg.org.

SYLLABUS:

California-based University of the People planning collaboration with India | The Economic Times
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/50360455.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

(This dialogue) Open Access and Academic Freedom | Inside Higher Ed
https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2015/12/15/mandatory-open-access-publishing-can-impair-academic-freedom-essay

Student presents legislation designed to help others | York Dispatch
http://www.yorkdispatch.com/story/news/education/2015/12/28/student-presents-legislation-designed-help-others/77877790/

Law schools lag behind on open source law | OpenSource.com
https://opensource.com/education/15/12/teaching-open-source-law

State Lawmakers Pledge to Continue Support for Affordable College Education | Suburban Times
http://thesubtimes.com/2015/12/23/state-lawmakers-pledge-to-continue-support-for-affordable-college-education/

Regular Edition

OER Digest – December 17th, 2015

By Ethan Senack, Student PIRGs | Volume 6 | December 17th, 2015
With help from Reg Leichty, Mary Lou Forward, Nicole Allen, and others

THE OER DIGEST

Your tip sheet for U.S. OER updates, opportunities, and reminders

STEP UP FOR OPEN: Not long ago, the Department of Education issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) around their interest in openly licensing educational materials funded by their direct competitive grants. Now, it’s crunch time. Comments to the Department are due by the end of the day tomorrow, Friday 12/18. We know they’ve received a number of comments both in support of the proposal and against it, so if you haven’t taken the opportunity to tell the Department how you feel, this is your chance. Every bit of feedback will help ensure they adopt the strongest possible policy, so we encourage you to consider weighing in.

TO-DO LIST:


ELEMENTARY, SUCCESS:
Congress has passed, and the President has signed, a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The bill update became due in 2007, and lawmakers have been working on the draft since 2010, so it’s long overdue. Besides significant changes to the No Child Left Behind policy era, the bill also includes a new OER provision in the multi-billion dollar State Support and Academic Enrichment Grant program. Looking forward, states may use that funding to support districts in making instructional content available as OER.

OPEN AND DEVELOPMENT:
The mission of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development is to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world. Earlier this month, they released a new report titled Open Educational Resources: A Catalyst for Innovation. Here’s a key quote from their blog post:

“In the end, perhaps OER will be one of the most significant and substantive ways that technology will transform teaching and learning.


STATE OF THE COMMONS:
Creative Commons has released their second annual State of the Commons report, which finds that over 1.1 billion CC licensed works have now been contributed to the shared global commons, up from 140 million in 2006.

OPEN ED WEEK:
Coming up in the new year, from March 7-11. The Open Education Week Planning Committee “invites your contributions to and participation in the annual Open Education Week, featuring online and in-person events around the world. You decide how you will participate: host a local event, give a webinar, submit a video about your open education work, use the week to highlight the benefits of open education, get creative and try something new!”

A NEW CLASS OF FELLOWS: The Open Policy Network just announced 16 new fellows to carry the open policy torch – including one from the US.

STAFF CHANGES AT ED: Rich Culatta, Director of EdTech at the Department of Education, announced that he’s stepping down this month. Rich was a staunch supporter of open education during his tenure, and he’ll be missed. Deputy Director Joseph South will serve as acting director – also a champ of open education. The change comes in parallel with Secretary Arne Duncan’s retirement and John King moving into that role.

It’s Thursday, December 17th. Ethan Senack here. It’s 60 degrees in DC, and I’m bummed. Coming from New England, it’s just not the holidays if it’s not freezing outside. Don’t forget to send tips, updates, opportunities, and feedback to @HigherEdPIRG or esenack@pirg.org with the subject “OER DIGEST”.

STORIES FROM THE FIELD:
A brief snapshot of those making change on the ground level, and those most impacted

#GoOPEN IN PROFILE: The Affton School District in south St. Louis County is one of 10 school systems across the country taking part in the Department of Education’s #GoOpen. Robert Dillon, director of innovation, said the prospect of allowing teacher to mix and match the best materials for students could be a game changer in the classroom. “I think the open education movement has the opportunity to bring the best resources to all kids, especially those students that may be in schools that are struggling to succeed,” Dillon said. He added that the current model of a district buying a textbook every five years is outdated. “We’re in a time and place where that cycle has to be shorter, and the only way to do that is with open resources.” Read the article>

A PROGRAM THAT’S WORKING: The OER project at North Shore Community College was launched by a campus “Vision Fund Innovation Grant” for $5000. The idea? Bring together resources on campus to help faculty identify OER for their classes. Thirty faculty attended the first summit, with ten formally applying to participate in the first semester, and five more in the second. These faculty receive a $600 “Tech Across the Curriculum” grant and are matched with an advisor from the Instructional Design Lab and a librarian, to work on replacing their texts with OER or other affordable alternatives. And while the 15 faculty are formally have saved students a modest $20,000, many others on campus are now following their lead – expanding into OER and working to get special notation for OER-based courses in the catalog.

Have a story you’d like featured? Email it to esenack@pirg.org.


SYLLABUS


Bookstore or College Store: Building a Relationship | From the Bell Tower
http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2015/12/opinion/steven-bell/bookstore-or-college-store-building-a-relationship-from-the-bell-tower/

Sharing the Benefits of Open Educational Resources with Everyone | Hewlett Foundation Blog
http://www.hewlett.org/blog/posts/sharing-benefits-open-educational-resources-everyone

Free, open-source textbooks are catching on at colleges| Orange County Register

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/open-695726-textbook-source.html

U Georgia Nears $2 million Mark in OER Savings | Campus Technology
https://campustechnology.com/articles/2015/11/20/u-georgia-nears-2-million-mark-in-oer-savings.aspx

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