Month: October 2016

Regular Edition

OER Digest – October 20th, 2016

From Brady Yano (SPARC) | Volume 17 | October 20th, 2016

With help from Ethan Senack, Richard Saunders, and Nicole Allen

THE OER DIGEST

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

FLORIDA VIRTUAL CAMPUS SURVEY: This week Florida Virtual Campus released it’s third report on textbook costs since 2010. The report investigates the impact textbook costs are having on college affordability, student actions to address cost, as well as college success and completion. This survey had more than 22,000 students from all of Florida’s public colleges and universities voluntarily participate in 2016 alone. The report identified recommendations for how the state could work toward building partnerships and a statewide infrastructure to support the use of OER. From the report:

The findings suggest that the cost of textbooks is negatively impacting student access to required materials (66.6% did not purchase the required textbook) and learning (37.6% earn a poor grade; 19.8% fail a course). Time to graduation and/or access is also impacted by cost. Students reported that they occasionally or frequently take fewer courses (47.6%); do not register for a course (45.5%); drop a course (26.1%), or withdraw from courses (20.7%).

NEW US NATIONAL STUDENT DEBT FIGURES: A new report from The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS) reveals that students from the class of 2015 who took out loans to pay for college graduated with an average debt of $30,100. The figure, which is up 4 percent from the previous year, captures the average debt of students who received a bachelor’s degree from either a public or private nonprofit college. Nearly seven in 10 graduating seniors in 2015 used student loans to finance their education. These numbers underscore the importance of efforts to reduce college costs including OER.

#GOOPEN REGIONAL SUMMIT: On October 7th, the Vista Unified School District in Vista, CA hosted a #GoOpen Regional Summit for K-12 administrators, teachers, librarians, media techs, and the business community. “#GoOpen Regional summits are intended for new districts who have recently committed to become a #GoOpen Launch district or are curious about making a scalable transition to openly licensed educational resources. Read more>>

PARTNERSHIP FOR ANCILLARY MATERIALS: OpenStax and OER Commons announced they were partnering to provide online community hubs where instructors can freely share and modify syllabuses, homework, study guides and other open-copyright course materials that are made specifically for OpenStax textbooks. Read more>>

OPENSTAX GOES OUT OF THIS WORLD: OpenStax has also released its newest open textbook, Astronomy. Designed to meet the scope and sequence requirements of one- or two-semester introductory astronomy courses, this is the first open textbook within the discipline.

ONTARIO STUDENT LEADERS GO OPEN: This week, eCampus Ontario hosted a Student Engagement Seminar, bringing together student leaders and staff from the province’s five largest student organizations to learn about OER. The event provided a rare opportunity for the various groups to meet with one another and engage in conversations about strategic approaches to OER advocacy and how OER can be used in learning. Brady Yano (SPARC) and Kelsey Wiens (Creative Commons) were present to help guide conversation throughout the day.

4th ANNIVERSARY: The B.C. Open Textbook Project marked its 4th anniversary, having saved students an estimated $2.3 million. The project is the first government-sponsored initiative of its kind in Canada. It is estimated that more than 18,000 students in B.C. have benefitted from using open textbooks since the project was first announced on Oct. 16, 2012. Read more>>

SEE YOU AT #OPENED16: Our next OER Digest will be put together at the 13th Annual Open Education Conference. With one of the community’s capstone events just around the corner, we recommend taking a minute to check out the awesome program. Looking forward to seeing you there!

OPEN CONNECTIONS

Conferences, jobs, and other OER-related opportunities

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

EVENT: The University of North Dakota is hosting the Open Education Resources Summit 2016 on October 27. http://und.edu/calendar/index.php/view/event/detail/44967/open-education-resources-summit-2016

EVENT: The 13th Annual OpenEd conference is next month, November 2-4. http://openedconference.org/2016/

EVENT: RSVP now to attend OpenCon Live, the live webcast of OpenCon 2016 this November 12-14. http://www.opencon2016.org/opencon_2016_live

JOB: BCcampus is looking for one or more Freelance Writers for their news blog. The start date is October 26, 2016. https://bccampus.ca/rfp-for-freelance-writing/

OPPORTUNITY: Southern Utah University is beginning a peer-reviewed open digital publication titled Case Studies in Open Educational Resources. Submissions related to any field or level of education are invited. For more information contact csoer@suu.edu.

STORIES FROM THE FIELD

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

FROM BRITISH COLUMBIA: “Students are just not purchasing their textbooks because of the costs of them,” said Erin Fields, flexible learning coordinator at the UBC Library. “If it’s a choice between being able to live and to have food, or spending thousands of dollars on textbooks for one term, the choice becomes really a simple one for a student to make.” Read more>

FROM MISSOURI: “We think that everyone should have access to scholarly information as cheaply as possible, ideally free.” MSA is currently in the process of creating two surveys they hope to implement by the end of the semester: one for the students, and one for faculty. By the end of the year, MSA plans to recognize the professors at MU who use OERs. Their long-term goal is to see the number of professors who use OERs rise to 15 percent in 10 years. Read more>

TWEET OF THE WEEK

Giulia Forsythe ‏@giuliaforsythe: Advancing #OER in Ontario, #ecampusontario  Student Leadership prez by @bradyyano  #textbookbrokeBC http://bit.ly/2drcImi

SYLLABUS

Interesting Reads on Education and Open

Pearson faces a textbook lesson in how markets wane | The Telegraph

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/10/17/pearson-faces-a-textbook-lesson-in-how-markets-wane/

A possible solution to one college cost problem: free books | The Hechinger Report

http://hechingerreport.org/a-possible-solution-to-one-college-cost-problem-free-books/

In this case publishers should root for the OER guys | BookBusiness

http://www.bookbusinessmag.com/post/case-publishers-root-oer-providers/

5 ways to participate in the #GoOpen movement | Getting Smart

http://gettingsmart.com/2016/10/5-ways-to-participate-in-goopen/

OER in K-12 Education – What does the research tell us? | CCSSO

http://www.ccsso.org/Resources/Programs/OER_Home_/OER_Blog_-_October_2016.html

Have suggestions for the next edition?

Let us know at oerdigest@gmail.com, or tweet us @OERdigest.

You can subscribe to the OER Digest here.

Regular Edition

OER Digest- October 4th, 2016

From Ethan Senack, Student PIRGs | Volume 16 | October 4th, 2016

With help from Brady Yano and Austin Beck

THE OER DIGEST

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

SMALL STATE, BIG ACTION: Last week, Rhode Island became the latest state to launch an effort to address rising textbook costs through the use of OER. Governor Gina Raimondo announced a challenge for the state’s higher education institutions to save students $5 million over 5 years through the use of OER. The Rhode Island Open Textbook Initiative includes support from 7 higher education institutions in the state. SPARC and the Open Textbook Network have both signed on as partners to support institutions as they work to meet the challenge through expanded OER adoption.

STAX OF CASH: The open textbook publisher OpenStax announced last week that more than 1.5 million students have used their free textbooks. The numbers? OpenStax founder Richard Baraniuk sums it up best: “More than 811,000 students are using our books this fall, which is a 106 percent increase over spring 2016, and the books are being used in over 4,500 courses at 2,688 universities, colleges and high schools.” The Rice-based publisher also announced that they expect students using their books to save a collective $70 million in the ‘16-’17 school year.  

NEW ENGLAND GOES OPEN: School leaders across the New England region went to Amazon’s Boston offices to attend the #GoOpen summit hosted by North Reading Public Schools on Sept. 23rd. They had a jam-packed day as they networked and learned about the #GoOpen campaign, the basics of OER, implementing OER in classrooms, and scaling OER across the district. OER community leaders led many of the sessions, and participants had the chance to meet with many different education vendors. Kristina Peters and Andrew Marcinek, current and former #GoOpen leaders at the Department of Education, also spoke.

RUTGERS GETS ROLLING: The new Open and Affordable Textbook Project at Rutgers University in New Jersey launched this week, with a goal of saving students $500,000 in its first year. $1,000 grants will be made available to 12 different groups at the three main Rutgers campuses and Biomedical branch, and more than 100 faculty have already expressed interest in the program. Librarians and students are leading the charge.

FULLERTON CONTROVERSY RESURFACES: OER advocates may remember the controversy around CalState Fullerton Professor Alain Bourget last school year, when he assigned a cheaper textbook and OER to his class in place of the Department-required book and was reprimanded by the university. Last week, the Orange County Weekly looks at the fallout in a feature-length story on Professor Bourget and the Cal State Fullerton Math Department and where they are now.

ACCESS MATTERS: A new study suggests a link between funding for K-12 textbooks and student performance. Conducted by a researcher at the American Institutes for Research, found that students at California schools with additional funding for textbooks tend to perform better on state reading and math tests than those at schools with less textbook funding. The study points to textbook shortages caused by lack of adequate funding in an era when prices are rising rapidly. These findings reinforce the opportunity to leverage OER to provide better materials to all students at a lower cost, and thereby reduce inequities caused by access to materials.

B.C. STRATEGIZES: BCcampus hosted an Open Education Strategy Forum this week, bringing together leaders from B.C. post-secondary institutions to engage in conversations about strategic approaches to integrate Open Education practices to improve quality of education.

OPEN CONNECTIONS

Conferences, jobs, and other OER-related opportunities

DEADLINE: The Call for Proposals for the Open Education Global 2017 Conference closes this month. Submissions are due Oct. 17th. http://conference.oeconsortium.org/2017/call-for-proposals/

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

EVENT: The 13th Annual OpenEd conference is next month, November 2-4. http://openedconference.org/2016/

EVENT: RSVP now to attend OpenCon Live, the live webcast of OpenCon 2016 this November 12-14. http://www.opencon2016.org/live

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/edi

STORIES FROM THE FIELD

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

 

FROM BRITISH COLUMBIA: “Carson Varney’s responsibilities include a two-year-old son, with another child expected soon, and rent payments, all while attending Camosun College. It makes the $600 to $1,000 he saves in a year through British Columbia’s Open Textbook Project that much more important.” Read more>

FROM OKLAHOMA: “We can’t, as an academic institution, afford to have students foregoing access to information simply because a company has to turn a profit,” said Cody Taylor, an emerging technologies librarian who helps with the project. “OER is important because of the students who would otherwise, without it, go without access to that information. It’s just something we can’t afford to see happen.” Read more>

TWEET OF THE WEEK

Rhode Island Governor @GinaRaimondo, Sep 27: You might have $1,200+ of books in your $40 backpack. This initiative will put $5 million back in students’ pockets http://bit.ly/2cIiaE0

SYLLABUS

Interesting Reads on Education and Open

The U of O should prioritize open textbooks | The Fulcrum

http://thefulcrum.ca/opinions/u-o-prioritize-open-textbooks/

From Silos to Sharing: Why Are OER Still So Hard to Find? | EdSurge

https://www.edsurge.com/news/2016-10-02-from-silos-to-sharing-why-are-open-educational-resources-still-so-hard-to-find

Curriki Debuts New Tools to Help Teachers Find Open Resources | T.H.E. Journal

https://thejournal.com/articles/2016/09/28/curriki-debuts-new-tools-to-help-teachers-find-open-resources.aspx

Pressing the Reset Button on OER | Education Week

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/reinventing_k12_learning/2016/10/pressing_the_reset_button_on_oer.html

Have suggestions for the next edition?

Let us know at oerdigest@gmail.com, or tweet us @OERdigest.

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