OER Digest – March 31st, 2016

From Ethan Senack, Student PIRGs | Volume 11 | March 31st, 2016

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

50 MILLION: the number of scholarly research articles posted online by a 27-year old graduate student from Kazakhstan. Drawing comparisons to the music-sharing site Napster, Alexandra Elbakyan published a searchable database of journal articles that “shatters the $10 billion-per-year paywall of academic publishers.” Modern day hero, or thief? You decide. Here’s a few reads to help you make up your mind:

Cincinnati State Technical and Community College recently announced a partnership with Pearson Education to take over a big chunk of their marketing, recruiting, and student services. The school says that they’re caught between a rock and a hard place – a 12% decrease in enrollment and a statewide mandated tuition freeze, so they’re looking for innovative solutions. It’s a ten year deal, with Pearson earning $500,000 from the school’s marketing budget each year and up to 20% of tuition revenue from new students. It’s a one-of-a-kind agreement, and while stakeholders on campus say they are cautiously optimistic, many others are just plain concerned. Read more>

REPORTING BACK: Creative Commons just wrapped up their second Institute for Open Leadership in South Africa. The Institute “is a training and peer-to-peer learning opportunity that brings together up-and-coming leaders to develop and implement an open licensing policy in their institution, province or nation.” This years fellows were a diverse group from around the world, including two from here in North America. Check out CC’s report back on the Institute and their next steps.

GETTING BIG WITH DIGITAL: A study from the Center for Digital Education and the National School Boards Assn marks an increase in the number of districts that have digital content and curriculum strategies on the books – from 49% last year to 62% this year. Another 33% of districts have plans under development. Even more relevant: More than half of those existing strategies incorporate the use of open educational resources.”

CONFESSIONS OF A COMMUNITY COLLEGE DEAN: A very straightforward case for OER.

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It’s Thursday, March 31st. There will be no follow-up discussion about March Madness. It’s been a rough few weeks. On another front, there are an estimated 1.5 million tourists on their way to DC for the Cherry Blossom Festival, so….there’s that. Don’t forget to send tips, updates, opportunities, and feedback to esenack@pirg.org or @HigherEdPIRG.

Conference, job, and other OER-related opportunities

CALL FOR PROPOSALS – OPEN ED: The 13th annual Open Education conference will be in Richmond, VA this November 2nd-4th. Workshops proposals are due April 15th. See the call>

REGISTRATION DEADLINE – OPEN EDUCATION GLOBAL: The last day to register for the conference is tomorrow, April 1st. Sign up here>

REGISTRATION DEADLINE – OPEN APEREO: The last day to early register for Apereo Foundation’s “Open for Education” conference is April 22nd. Sign up here>

Have an opportunity you want featured? Email it to esenack@pirg.org.

A brief snapshot of those making change on the ground level

VIDEO BREAK: Open Washington recently released a new set of videos about open education. Here’s what they’re hoping to answer: “Everyone talks about OER Policy, but what does it mean? What do OER policies look like in practice? How do they impact OER initiatives? How does our government and our world perceive Open policy? Is policy always necessary in OER implementation?” Check out the videos for yourself>

Interesting Reads on Education and Open

McGraw-Hill Education Latest to Adopt Knovation | Ed Week

School Reading Unbound | Slate

Flat World CEO: Content, not tech, should be focus of CBE | Education Dive

SCC to study textbook costs | Mantako Free Press

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