OER Digest – February 9th, 2017

From Brady Yano (SPARC) | Volume 24 | February 9th, 2017


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

OPEN ONTARIO: Last month, eCampus Ontario announced funding for 24 open content projects. Of the projects that have received funding, nine are new OER, one is a university readiness resource, and 14 are course modules or full courses. All resources developed will be openly licensed and are intended to support both undergraduate and graduate level education. Read more>>

CONNECTICUT REPORT: Last month a Connecticut General Assembly Task Force released the Open Source Textbook Report. The Task Force (made up of faculty, student, and administrator representation from two and four year, public and private institutions) was established to study best practices with regard to Open Educational Resources (OER). The report provides an update of OER activities across the state and presents the findings of a statewide faculty survey. Key excerpts:

  • When compared to the national data collected by the Babson Survey Research Group, Connecticut faculty rank much higher in awareness with only 22% of the respondents indicating that they were not aware of OERs vs. the national percentage of 65%.
  • 92% of the respondents indicated a willingness to consider OER adoption over the next three years.
  • OER resources were viewed as equal or superior to traditional educational resources by 70% of respondents.

PUBLISHER WATCH: Inside Higher Ed recently reported on how textbook publishers are increasingly pushing for all inclusive access deals for college textbooks. In this model, students pay a course fee that provides access to all digital course materials (unless students pay extra for a print-on-demand copy), which is automatically included in tuition or deducted from student accounts. While publishers promote this model as a cost-saving solution, OER advocates argue that it gives publishers an even greater stranglehold over prices and access to content. Read more>>

STATE LEGISLATION UPDATE: Washington State Representative Melanie Stambaugh, R-Puyallup, a member of the House Higher Education Committee has sponsored House Bill 1768 aimed to build upon and expand existing support for open educational resources. With the desire to replicate the model used at UMass Amherst, Stambaugh aims to save students at 4-year institutions in Washington $70,000 for every $10,000 invested. Read more>>

SECRETARY OF EDUCATION UPDATE: Earlier this week Betsy DeVos was sworn in as U.S. Secretary of Education, after a contentious confirmation battle in the Senate. DeVos did not discuss OER during her confirmation hearing, however she did respond to a written question from Senator Patty Murray concerning college textbook costs and OER. DeVos’ response: “I will work with you and your colleagues to explore any remaining issues, including the question about the proliferation of ‘open textbooks’ during the HEA reauthorization.” Read more>>


Conferences, jobs, and other OER-related opportunities

EVENT: OpenStax and OER Commons will be hosting a webinar on Additional Faculty OER Resources on February 10th from 3-4 CST. https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6611168084846144769

EVENT: Lansing Community College will be hosting their 2nd OER Summit on February 24th from 8:30-4. The event is free for all Michigan educators. http://www.lcc.edu/provost/senate/oer-summit.aspx

EVENT: Apply to attend the Open Education Ontario Summit taking place on March 27th. Deadline to apply is February 28th. http://onoersummit.com/

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

OPPORTUNITY: Interested in contributing a chapter to the upcoming OA book, OER: A Field Guide for Academic Librarians? Proposals are due February 13th. https://docs.google.com/document/d/166POxN4vmdlz-Mb91qNMhdgdSNqavexQph_wGIWl8Hg/edit

JOB: The University of Washington is looking for a Scholarly Publishing Outreach Librarian. Applications are due February 17th. http://www.lib.washington.edu/about/employment/librarians/spol2017-01-09

JOB: The Ontario Colleges Library Services is seeking a consultant to build an OER toolkit for Ontario college faculty and library staff. Applications are due February 10th. https://www.ocls.ca/sites/default/files/attachments/RFQ-%20Consultant%20for%20Ontario%20College%20Libraries%20Open%20Educational%20Resources%20%28OER%29%20Toolkit_19Jan2017.pdf


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

FROM VIRGINIA: “The cost of textbooks has outpaced just about every other consumer good, and it’s outpaced even the price of tuition [nationwide],” said Hillary Miller, scholarly communications outreach librarian with VCU Libraries. “We recognize that the cost of education is going up, and there’s not a lot that we can do about that. But one of the most direct ways that libraries and faculty can affect cost for students is through textbooks and course materials.” Read more>>

FROM MISSISSIPPI: “In his first board meeting, Hickman killed an expensive textbook adoption and made a commitment to #GoOpen. With savings from open educational resources, CMSD was able to invest in a digital learning ecosystem across the district–1:1 in high school with Macbooks, 2:1 in middle school, and 2:1 iPads in elementary.” Read more>>


TJ Bliss‏ @tjbliss

What do #educators like about #OER? The #open content and up-to-date materials. Watch this video for more info: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SX0K0hb_xKE&feature=youtu.be


Interesting Reads on Education and Open

Letter: Addressing High Textbook Costs | The Cavalier Daily


Of OER and Platforms: Five Years Later | EdSurge


More Colleges Use Open Educational Resources | Community College Daily


Top Fears Shutting the Door on Open Education | Campus Technology


Digital And Open-source Options Have Advantages Over Books | La Crosse Tribune


Textbook Costs Are Up, Pushing Academic Progress Down | Pensacola News Journal


How The University of Hawaii Is Solving Today’s Higher Ed Problems | Opensource.com


When The Textbook You Need Hasn’t Been Written Yet | NCSU Libraries


Extreme Makeover: Pedagogy Edition | actualham


New Tool Arrives for Refining The OER Vetting Process | CCSSO



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