OER Digest – September 22nd, 2016

From Brady Yano (SPARC) | Volume 15 | September 22nd, 2016

With help from Katie Steen, Nicole Allen and Ethan Senack


Your bi-weekly newsletter for open education updates, opportunities, and reminders

ACCESS DENIED: On Wednesday, the Student PIRGS released a groundbreaking report revealing the new face of the textbook monopoly: access codes. Access Denied investigates both the role of access codes in the market and the transition to access codes from a student consumer perspective. The report comes as publishers continue to shift their business models toward digital content suites. Key Findings:

  • Across institutions and majors, 32% of courses included access codes as required materials.
  • At campus bookstores, the average cost of an access code alone was $100.24.
  • In bookstores, only 28% of access codes were offered in unbundled form. Even when acquired directly from the publisher, only 56% of all required access codes were offered without additional materials bundled in, despite federal law requiring materials to be sold separately.

Among other concerns, this shift eliminates a student’s ability to opt-out and precludes other affordable alternatives like used and rented books. Share it on Twitter or via HuffPost>>

COLLEGE PROMISE CAMPAIGN: Last week, the Second Lady of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden and former Undersecretary of Education Martha Kanter held a roundtable event with leaders in the Silicon Valley area to discuss the College Promise Campaign — an offshoot of the America’s College Promise initiative that President Obama announced in the 2015 state of the union. Nicole Allen (SPARC), Hal Plotkin, and Phil Kim (20 Million Minds) were present and had the opportunity to speak for a few minutes on how OER fit into the free college conversation. Look out for other roundtable events in the coming months.

OER SHAPING CALIFORNIA K-12: A partnership between Open Up Resources and Illustrative Mathematics has resulted in a large scale mathematics OER pilot test spanning 30 middle schools across five California school districts. The participating middle schools will be beta testing Open Up Resources’ OER curricula as it becomes available during the 2016/17 and 2017/18 years. The complete curricula is set to save districts up to 80 per cent of the costs associated with adopting materials from traditional publishers while also providing extensive support to facilitate district-wide adoption.

CA ADOPTS POLICY ON COLLEGE COURSE CATALOGS: The California State Legislature announced last week that as of January 1, 2018 each campus of the California Community Colleges and the California State University will be required to disclose in course catalogues which courses are exclusively using OER. The law will request that each campus of the University of California also comply.

WA ADOPTS K-12 OPEN POLICY: The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) recently launched a new open policy requiring all copyrightable intellectual property created by OPSI employees, contractors and grantees be openly licensed. In addition, Washington is also the 17th state to join #GoOpen with State Superintendent Randy Dorn noting that “We have been and will be extremely supportive of open resources”.


Conferences, jobs, and other OER-related opportunities

JOB: The State University of New York (SUNY) College at Geneseo is looking for an Executive Director for Open Educational Resources. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled. https://jobs.geneseo.edu/postings/1259

JOB: Tidewater Community College is looking for an Open Educational Resources Librarian. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled. https://jobs.tcc.edu/postings/2053

JOB: The Open Education Consortium is looking for a Communications Manager. This is a part-time position and the closing date is October 10, 2016. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_ZlUxiBMhzFPR4j3pq_EPfl0y2sEykPu1R2A7DX1ZPk/edit

EVENT: Open Education Week 2017 will be taking place March 27-31, 2017. For more information on how to participate visit https://www.openeducationweek.org/page/call-for-participation

EVENT: International Open Access Week is coming up next month, October 24-30. Events are happening around the world. http://www.openaccessweek.org/


A brief snapshot of those making change on the ground level, and those most impacted

FROM ALBERTA:The underlying problem is the fact that a student’s right to education is considered equal to a right to profit. When the right to education is commodified, students are ultimately left behind. For many, these unnecessary costs are a barrier to obtaining an education.” Read more>

FROM ARIZONA: “Lieren Hefner, a speech language and hearing sciences junior, spent $350 on textbooks this semester and didn’t even buy all of them — she said that if she had, she would’ve paid more around $500. “We’re already paying so much for tuition, and then books on top?” Hefner said. “I feel like I need to get them before school starts and then we barely use them. I’d rather go online anyways.” Read more>


@HigherEdPIRG: Access Codes? More like #AccessDenied. A new tactic from publishers to continue profiting off students: bit.ly/access-denied pic.twitter.com/FZoX7lMvgx


Interesting Reads on Education and Open

Open Educational Resources: Good for Affordability; Better for Learning | Temple University


UConn co-op to donate $250,000 to affordable textbook initiatives | the Daily Campus


As schools move to the cloud, top drivers are instruction-related | Education Dive


OER to be a Game-Changer in Higher Education | CIO Review


Brookdale Gets $900K To Create Digital Content As Alternative To Textbooks | Middleton Patch


Have suggestions for the next edition? Let us know at oerdigest@gmail.com, or tweet us @OERdigest.

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