OER Digest – January 26th, 2017

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

With help from Brady Yano and Nicole Allen (SPARC)


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.


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


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>>


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



Of OER and Platforms: Five Years Later | David Wiley


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


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


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