OER Digest – October 20th, 2016

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

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


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!


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.


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>


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


Interesting Reads on Education and Open

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


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


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


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


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


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.

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