Month: January 2017

Regular Edition

OER Digest – January 26th, 2017

From Katie Steen (US PIRG) | Volume 23 | January 26th, 2017

With help from Brady Yano and Nicole Allen (SPARC)

THE OER DIGEST

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

PEARSON PROBLEMS: Stock prices for textbook publisher Pearson plummeted 30% last week, following information released by the company about poorer than expected 2016 results. Pearson cites lower performance in the North American higher education market as the major culprit, and has announced new steps including a cut to the price of e-books and a new print rental program. While Pearson has acknowledged OER as a player in the marketplace, it points to lower enrollments, inventory backlog and unpredictability in the market as the source of falling profits. This time last year, Pearson announced a major restructuring that eliminated 4,000 jobs. Read more>>

“Whereas we had previously anticipated a broadly stable North American higher         education courseware market in 2017, we now assume that many of these downward pressures will continue.”  — Pearson’s statement

OPEN LICENSING PLAYBOOK: The U.S. Department of State has published a new government “playbook” for federal programs to adopt open licensing policies for grant-funded resources. The playbook provides guidance to federal agencies and other funders interested in expanding the impact of their investments through open licensing of educational resources. While the playbook is primarily intended for the U.S. government, many of the topics and suggestions are applicable to grants at all levels. The playbook has been released into the public domain and can be downloaded here.

YEAR OF OPEN: Last week, the OE Consortium announced the Year of Open, an initiative aimed at celebrating openness in the fields of open access, open education, open data, open government and open source software. 2017 marks three important anniversaries for the open education movement, including the term open educational resources, the Cape Town Open Education Declaration and the Paris OER Declaration.

ONTARIO E-LEARNING FORUM: Last week eCampusOntario hosted the 2017 eLearning Seminar + Showcase in Downtown Toronto. In attendance was an array of elearning professionals from eCampusOntario member institutions, with guest speakers and industry experts on the agenda. The event provided college and university level faculty, instructional designers and administrators with a unique opportunity to network with their peers, showcase their latest achievements and work together to create the best online programs.

OPEN CONNECTIONS

Conferences, jobs, and other OER-related opportunities

EVENT: The Rebus Community is hosting an Office Hours Webinar on January 31 at 2pm EST on Making Open Textbooks With Students. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1CWGoZzcjikgRsYpxq7OODcPj4IuLH7JcTifCr-14C7A/viewform?edit_requested=true

EVENT: Registration for #OER17: The Politics of Open is now open! The conference will be taking place April 5-6 in London, UK https://oer17.oerconf.org/#gref

STORIES FROM THE FIELD

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

FROM CALIFORNIA: ““UCR students come from less-privileged backgrounds, which means textbooks are a burden,” said Chikako Takeshita, a professor of gender and sexuality studies who organized the task force. “Students skip buying books because they can’t afford it. It’s harder to do well without textbooks.” The initiative is part of a trend among American colleges and universities. At UCR, the project has saved students an estimated $507,250 since fall 2015. Read more>>

FROM GEORGIA: “We knew from our first day that we wanted to focus on making college more affordable. It’s a huge objective, so we’ve found two key ways to tackle this issue: textbooks and student fees,” Gaines said. “Our goal is to transition large lecture classrooms that currently use expensive textbooks to Online Educational Resources.” Online Education Resources are typically at a free or reduced cost. Read more>>

FROM BRITISH COLUMBIA: “This semester, all of my profs have all of their resources online — I don’t have to buy one textbook,” said Fischer. “My back isn’t breaking as I’m walking to class and it’s also much more liberating because you feel like you aren’t spending an excessive amount of money on a course.” Read more>>

TWEET OF THE WEEK

Will Cross @tceles_B_hsup

“When the Txtbook You Need Hasn’t Been Written Yet” going frm #textbookbroke to #openpedagogy w/ #OER @ncsulibraries https://www.lib.ncsu.edu/stories/when-the-textbook-you-need-hasn%E2%80%99t-been-written-yet

https://twitter.com/tceles_B_hsup/status/824628420378292224

SYLLABUS

Of OER and Platforms: Five Years Later | David Wiley

https://opencontent.org/blog/archives/4892

U.S. Dept. of Ed Launches Supplement to Technology Plan Focused on Higher Education | MIT

http://news.mit.edu/2017/department-of-education-launches-supplement-to-technology-plan-focused-on-higher-ed-0119

Students’ No. #1 Higher Education Obstacle May Surprise You | New America

https://www.newamerica.org/education-policy/edcentral/students-no-1-higher-education-obstacle-may-surprise-you/

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Regular Edition

OER Digest – January 13th, 2017

From Katie Steen and Ethan Senack (US PIRG) | Volume 22 | January 13th, 2017

With help from Brady Yano (SPARC)

THE OER DIGEST

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

BC OPEN TEXT HITS 3: The BCcampus Open Textbook Project has saved students at British Columbia post-secondary institutions $3 million. In total, 25,571 BC students have been impacted by the project. Congratulations to the team at BCcampus! Read more>>

CENGAGE LAUNCHES MINDTAP ACE: Yesterday Cengage launched MindTap ACE, a digital solution that blends curated Open Educational Resources (OER) with Cengage content. MindTap ACE is aiming to address the student learning outcomes and affordability challenges by including OER alongside Cengage’s best-in-class content. MindTap ACE is now available as a pilot program for Introduction to Psychology, Introduction to Computing, World History I, Public Speaking and Non-Majors Biology. The product’s pricing starts at $40. Read more>>

HIGH PROFILE BOARD ADDITIONS: The Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME) announced the appointment of two Silicon Valley executives, Alex Fielding and Jason Goecke, to its board of directors. “As open educational resources begin to make significant inroads into K-12 and higher education classrooms, ISKME has brought on key leaders to our board who have made a difference in shaping and sharing quality online products and services,” said ISKME founder and CEO Lisa Petrides. Alex Fielding is CEO of Ripcord, a high-tech startup funded by Kleiner Perkins, Lux, and Lenovo and Jason Goecke is a Vice President and General Manager at Cisco responsible for Spark Call, Hybrid Calling Services, Tropo, and Spark for Developers. Read more>>

GVSU PROFESSOR RECOGNIZED: Grand Valley State University (GVSU) mathematics professor Ted Sundstrom is to receive the inaugural Daniel Solow Author’s Award from the Mathematical Association of America, in recognition of Mathematical Reasoning: Writing and Proof, an OER published through the institution’s ScholarWorks@GVSU repository platform. The award celebrates authors whose materials have had a positive impact on undergraduate mathematics education. Dr. Sundstrom’s textbook has been formally adopted at 47 universities, while the digital editions in ScholarWorks were downloaded more than 22,000 times in 2016 alone! Read more>>

THE YEAR AHEAD

A special section featuring OER insiders’ thoughts on the biggest changes, developments, and opportunities expected in 2017

Reg Leichty, Foresight Law + Policy: The coming year may be consequential for public education generally and for open educational resources champions specifically. As education policy decision-making shifts increasingly to states and school districts – both as a result of passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the transition to nearly complete Republican control of federal policy levers – the open educational resources community must act strategically to build on existing OER-friendly federal policies and state and district trends. [Read the full comment here.]

Layla Bonnot, CCSSO: In 2017, CCSSO will continue to support #GoOpen states in meeting their commitments and will continue to support all states interested in the adoption and implementation of OER. I personally predict additional interest from states beyond the current cohort of 19 states and CCSSO is working on improving the search and discovery of resources via common metadata tagging and support for the Learning Registry. In 2017, I also predict greater coordination between states and districts around OER. [Read the full comment here.]

Marilyn Moody, Portland State University: I anticipate a dramatic increase in the creation, adoption, and use of open textbooks and other OER as course materials at the university level. Open textbooks and course materials have been promoted and used in individual institutions and higher education systems, but not in a ubiquitous way. In 2017, I see the use of open textbooks and course materials becoming a common and standard approach for universities, particularly public universities. Open textbooks and other open course materials will increasingly be used to support institutional goals and strategic initiatives, especially in support of student success and student retention. And their use will also be recognized as an important way to reduce student costs and increase educational affordability. [Read the full comment here.]

Rory McGreal, Athabasca University: Issues around Digital Rights Management (DRM) or digital locks will become increasingly apparent this year as people become more aware of the serious consequences of allowing companies to control their devices and other products. Customers no longer own and control their purchases, because their computers and other devices are now being supervised and limited by the software vendors. For educators, with the growing acceptance of E-textbooks, this has become problematic as the students and teachers who use them are having their devices shackled by DRM. [Read the full comment here.]

Jane Rosecrans, Reynolds Community College: Reynolds Community College was the recipient of two Virginia Community College System OER grants between 2014-2016, so the biggest challenge for our college specifically is looking for ways to continue to develop OER sections of courses and train faculty to teach these sections without the incentive of grant money that has underwritten this development in the past. In doing so, we need to revise our approach to OER training, which has been patterned after faculty training for online teaching and normally requires a multi-week training course. [Read the full comment here.]

Preston Davis, Northern Virginia Community College: Higher education is facing a period of transformation that has the potential to be unlike anything experienced in the modern era. The long held belief that college is a privilege is being questioned by a generation of young adults seeking the opportunities of previous generations. The assertion that a college education is a right, and as such should be made available and affordable to all citizens, has certainly benefitted from the open movement. [Read the full comment here.]

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OPEN CONNECTIONS

Conferences, jobs, and other OER-related opportunities

EVENT: BCcampus is hosting a one-hour Pressbooks Training Webinar on January 24 ow.ly/x13s307lkju

EVENT: BCcampus is hosting the 2017 Open Textbook Summit May 24-25 in Vancouver, B.C. The call for proposals close January 20th. https://open.bccampus.ca/open-textbook-summit-2017-call-for-proposals/

EVENT: The Creative Commons Global Summit will be taking place April 28-30. The call for submissions close January 27. https://docs.google.com/a/sparcopen.org/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSezm8y2pheNlsP4Tserougy8ht1PITIyvT3GTBUJzDCb1ansg/viewform

JOB: Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU) is looking for a North America-based Program Coordinator https://www.p2pu.org/en/jobs/

JOB: The University of Minnesota is looking for a Scholarly Communication Librarian & Research Services Coordinator https://www.myu.umn.edu/psp/psprd/EMPLOYEE/HRMS/c/HRS_HRAM.HRS_APP_SCHJOB.GBL?Page=HRS_APP_JBPST&Action=U&SiteId=1&FOCUS=Applicant&JobOpeningId=315002&PostingSeq=1

JOB: BCcampus is looking for a new full-time Web Developer https://bccampus.ca/web-developer-posting/

OPPORTUNITY: The Rebus Community is working to build an open and collaborative model for making open textbooks. They are seeking contributors for seven active open textbook projects. https://forum.rebus.community/category/5/projects-active-open-textbook-projects

STORIES FROM THE FIELD

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

FROM BRITISH COLUMBIA: “We’re trying to raise awareness of the malpractice of how [textbook] publishers stifle competition to protect profits, forcing students to lose tons of money from an unnecessary update,” Nicholson said. At the same time, UVSS is touting the financial benefits and the altruistic teaching-learning concept of OER (by making people aware of sites such as BC Open Campus (open.bccampus.ca). The UVSS projects that open textbooks will save UVic students $100,000 in 2017. Read more>>

FROM BRITISH COLUMBIA x2: Ryan McAllister, a second-year environmental studies student at the college, has already felt the positive impacts from using open textbooks in four of his courses. “The biggest perk of open textbooks are the cost-savings. Saving money as a student will always come first,” he said. Okanagan College ranked third in open textbook adoptions out of 31 participating post-secondary institutions in BCcampus’s 2015/16 annual review of its Open Textbook Project. Read more>>    

TWEET OF THE WEEK

Matt Salomone (@matthematician)

Or do what half my academic Twitter feed is doing: Go Open. #OER @actualham @Dan_Blick twitter.com/raulpacheco/st…

SYLLABUS

Interesting Reads on Education and Open

5 questions to answer about OER use | eSchool News

http://www.eschoolnews.com/2017/01/06/5-questions-answer-oer-use/

Counting Down EdSurge’s Top Ten S’Cool Tools of 2016 | EdSurge

https://www.edsurge.com/news/2016-12-28-counting-down-edsurge-s-top-ten-s-cool-tools-of-2016

District leaders offer tips for embracing OER | Education Dive

http://www.educationdive.com/news/district-leaders-offer-tips-for-embracing-oer/433618/

Is a Creative Commons-Non Commercial License killing your project? | Bold&Open

http://boldandopen.com/is-a-creative-commons-non-commercial-license-killing-your-project/

Online Learning and Training Trends for 2017 | EduMine

http://news.edumine.com/online-learning-and-training-trends-for-2017/

K-12 districts expand ‘digital first’ initiatives, skip textbooks | Education Dive

http://www.educationdive.com/news/k-12-districts-expand-digital-first-initiatives-skip-textbooks/434019/

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

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Annual Review

The Year Ahead 2017

A special section featuring OER insiders’ thoughts on the biggest changes, developments, and opportunities expected in 2017

 

Reg Leichty, Foresight Law + Policy

The coming year may be consequential for public education generally and for open educational resources champions specifically. As education policy decision-making shifts increasingly to states and school districts – both as a result of passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the transition to nearly complete Republican control of federal policy levers – the open educational resources community must act strategically to build on existing OER-friendly federal policies and state and district trends. ESSA’s greater flexibility, and express OER provisions, offer state leaders key opportunities to make encourage OER development and use by their schools, including through direct investments, such as the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant program, but also general provisions like the law’s critically important needs assessment requirements for consistently underperforming schools. These provisions offer an opportunity for OER leaders to work with state chiefs, school superintendents, principals, educators and other stakeholders to make OER a meaningful part of instruction, enrichment, and school turn around practices.

OER champions should not, however, overlook Congress and the new administration. Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander and House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Foxx plan to focus their panels’ work on reauthorizing the Higher Education Act and the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. HEA offers direct opportunities to further long sought relief for students burdened by text books cost, as well as a chance to ensure teacher preparation and induction programs build new educators’ capacities to develop and use OER. Longstanding OER champions, including Senator Hatch (R-UT) and Representative Polis (D-CO) will likely continue the work they started in 2016 to ensure the next Perkins Career and Technical Education Act provides support for OER initiatives. OER leaders should also be prepared to educate the U.S. Department of Education’s leadership about OER’s advantages. The new Secretary and her team will be closely involved with Congress’s work to reauthorize both the HEA and Perkins CTE, so the community needs to take steps to ensure they understand how OER can help strengthen and improve federal law for the nation’s students.

 

Rory McGreal, Athabasca University

Issues around Digital Rights Management (DRM) or digital locks will become increasingly apparent this year as people become more aware of the serious consequences of allowing companies to control their devices and other products. Customers no longer own and control their purchases, because their computers and other devices are now being supervised and limited by the software vendors. For educators, with the growing acceptance of E-textbooks, this has become problematic as the students and teachers who use them are having their devices shackled by DRM. Students using E-texts are limited by DRM to use their devices only in ways that the copyright owners deem acceptable. Students and teachers may not be able to access, share, move, reformat, copy, paste etc. etc. or otherwise make use of the content in any way not sanctioned by the publishers.

With DRM, we no longer own our purchases. We cannot use our iPhones, tablets and other devices without permitting companies to intrude and control them. As David Wiley has noted “You buy but you don’t get.” This is a new concept. In the past anyone who bought a hammer would not allow the producers to control how they use it. And, as computers become ubiquitous, this control becomes more and more invasive and in fact dangerous, when we think of self-driving cars, tractors, trucks, appliances and even medical devices, any of which can be controlled not by the purchase but by the copyright owner or, can be hacked and controlled by others. DRM is one of the best reasons for educators to stop using commercial E-texts and focus on using, adapting and sharing Open Educational Resources.

 

Layla Bonnot, Council of Chief State School Officers

In 2017 CCSSO will continue to support #GoOpen states in meeting their commitments and will continue to support all states interested in the adoption and implementation of OER. I personally predict additional interest from states beyond the current cohort of 19 states and CCSSO is working on improving the search and discovery of resources via common metadata tagging and support for the Learning Registry. In 2017 I also predict greater coordination between states and districts around OER.

Jane Rosecrans, Reynolds Community College

Reynolds Community College was the recipient of two Virginia Community College System OER grants between 2014-2016, so the biggest challenge for our college specifically is looking for ways to continue to develop OER sections of courses and train faculty to teach these sections without the incentive of grant money that has underwritten this development in the past. In doing so, we need to revise our approach to OER training, which has been patterned after faculty training for online teaching and normally requires a multi-week training course. Online teaching has built-in incentives for faculty such as the time saved in teaching hours; these benefits mean that faculty are willing to undergo this training in exchange for the advantages of online teaching. A similar advantage does not exist for the teaching of OER sections, so any training program based on the online training model proves to be a barrier to OER faculty training. This is why Reynolds has dramatically streamlined its OER training, focusing on the creation of OER repositories for specific courses that faculty are then trained to teach in 90-minute training sessions. Working with program heads that oversee specific disciplines, we have been able to create OER repositories for approximately 20 high enrollment courses and we have begun training and credentialing full-time and adjunct faculty to teach those OER sections. This will enable us to rapidly accelerate the rate at which we offer OER sections increasing student access to OER and thus greater savings.

In addition, the definition of OER needs to be explored. Reynolds distinguishes between OER per se and an OER section, which includes OER as well as linked out copyrighted material and college library holdings. Some in the OER movement have resisted incorporating these copyrighted materials into OER sections. Without these materials, faculty would need to create course materials from scratch, a prohibitive process for many faculty, especially community college faculty who are already teaching 10 courses a year. In addition, some courses, particularly those in the humanities, incorporate artifacts that are a required component of the course – literature, music, and art – that are under copyright protection, so there needs to be a way to expand the definition of OER to permit copyrighted materials, which the librarians I have worked with in both four- and two-year colleges see as an opportunity to promote holdings colleges have already paid for but which have long been under-utilized.

 

Preston Davis, Northern Virginia Community College

Higher education is facing a period of transformation that has the potential to be unlike anything experienced in the modern era. The long held belief that college is a privilege is being questioned by a generation of young adults seeking the opportunities of previous generations. The assertion that a college education is a right, and as such should be made available and affordable to all citizens, has certainly benefitted from the open movement. Proposals for tuition free public colleges and universities and student loan forgiveness would be far less credible or possible without the growth and acceptance of OER. As the higher education picture becomes more clear in 2017, so too will the impact of openly licensed digital content on the future of teaching and learning.

 

Marilyn Moody, Portland State University

I anticipate a dramatic increase in the creation, adoption, and use of open textbooks and other OER as course materials at the university level. Open textbooks and course materials have been promoted and used in individual institutions and higher education systems, but not in a ubiquitous way. In 2017, I see the use of open textbooks and course materials becoming a common and standard approach for universities, particularly public universities. Open textbooks and other open course materials will increasingly be used to support institutional goals and strategic initiatives, especially in support of student success and student retention. And their use will also be recognized as an important way to reduce student costs and increase educational affordability.

While the pedagogical advantages of using open textbooks and course materials will continue to be a large reason for faculty to use OER in their courses, the use of open textbooks and OER in the context of student affordability will become a major focus in 2017. The impact of open textbooks and course materials on affordability resonates not only with students, but also with a wide range of other important university stakeholders. Among them are Presidents, Provosts, and other campus administrators: boards of trustees; parents; legislators; higher education organizations; and alumni and donors. In the context of rising student debt, decreased public support for education, and seemingly every-increasing tuition levels, open textbooks and course materials are perceived as a positive, attractive, and eminently feasible way to make higher education more affordable.

NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the individual contributors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of the Digest authors.

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