Month: June 2017

Regular Edition

OER Digest – June 29th, 2017

From Ethan Senack (Creative Commons USA) | Volume 34 | June 29th, 2017

With updates from Katie Steen, Brady Yano, Jennifer Wolfe, Richard Sebastian, David Wiley, Nicole Finkbeiner, and Erika Aparaka



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


ACHIEVING THE DREAM: Achieving the Dream released preliminary results from its 38-campus OER Degree Initiative in the report Launching OER Degree Pathways: An Early Snapshot of Achieving the Dream’s OER Degree Initiative and Emerging Lessons. Per their press release, key findings include:

  • 84% of faculty members said that students in the new OER courses had the same or a higher level of engagement with the learning materials as compared to courses they have taught using traditional course materials.

  • More than 7 in 10 instructors say that they are very or somewhat likely to promote use of OER to colleagues.

  • Early research also indicates that students saved, on average, about $134 per course or between 5 to 22 percent of annual student textbook costs in those colleges (with caveats).

UNIV OF MISSOURI: Last week, the University of Missouri System (Digest author Katie Steen’s alma mater) announced an initiative to drive OER development on four campuses serving 77,000 students. A working group of students, faculty, and staff across the System will implement and oversee the initiative with input from stakeholders at each campus. UM System President Choi – formerly an OER champion as provost at the University of Connecticut (Digest author Ethan Senack’s alma mater) – will offer incentives ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 to adapt and create OER.

STATE LEGISLATION: Texas SB810, which creates a state OER grant program, establishes protocols for OER course designations in course catalogs, and orders a statewide feasibility study – has been signed into law by the Governor. The Governor also signed a bill relating to use of OER in K-12 public schools. A substantial bill reorganizing community colleges in Florida that included a small provision around open textbooks was vetoed by the Governor. In Washington, their Governor signed legislation requiring schools to list textbook prices and inform students about OER use in classrooms during course registration.

ANNOUNCING: The Open Education Group – the interdisciplinary group of OER researchers – is launching a “Designing with OER” Fellow Programs with funding from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The DOER Fellows Program invites instructional designers to partner with subject matter experts to apply for grants, supporting the creation of renewable assignments based on the principles of OER-Enabled Pedagogy and designed to be used with specific open educational resources. For more information, join the DOER Network listserv.

SNAPSHOT: From the Learning Accelerator comes a new report – TLA Snapshot: A New Tool to Personalize Learning with Open Educational Resources: The Middletown Learning Path. In their words: “The prevalence of high-cost, low-quality, and often out-of-date textbooks is a problem across U.S. school districts. This Snapshot highlights one strong example of how a district in New York is solving this problem by creating a new tool to facilitate the use Open Educational Resources, by making it easy for educators to adopt materials approved for both quality and copyright.”

SCI-HUB: A US court ruled that the widely-used research-sharing site, Sci-Hub, violated US copyright law, and has awarded publishing giant Elsevier $15 million in damages. Owners of the site, which hosts over 62 million academic papers, said that they see more than 200,000 requests per day. Questions remain, however, on whether or not the ruling will impact the site, which has no assets in the US. 

OPENSTAX NEWS: On the heels of announcing their new list of OER Institutional Partners, OpenStax is now announcing that their 2016 Institutional Partners are expected to save students over $8 million in textbook costs. That announcement and the list of 2016 partners here, along with the list of their new 2017 partners.

Flashback: One interesting name on the list – Cal State Fullerton, which made headlines last year after a professor’s unapproved use of OER resulted in his censure. 

ALSO INTERESTING: Three of these topics (Sci-Hub, OpenStax’ Institutional Partnership Program, and Cal-State Fullerton) appeared together in the OER Digest on May 12th, 2016.



Conferences, jobs, and other OER-related opportunities

EVENTApply now to attend OpenCon Nov 11-13 in Berlin, Germany. Travel scholarships are available. OpenCon is the conference to empower the next generation to advance Open Access, Open Education and Open Data. 

EVENT: Registration for #OpenEd17 is now OPEN! The conference will be taking place Oct 11-13 in Anaheim, CA. Click here to register.

EVENT: Registration for the iNACOL Summit on October 23-25th closes in just over two weeks. Click here to register.

SUBSCRIBE: If you haven’t already – subscribe to the OER Digest here!



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

FROM WASHINGTON: “Stambaugh, a prime sponsor of Open Education Resource Legislation for the past three years said she is a fierce advocate of expanding open education resources. She said she has been communicating with Pierce College and other two- and four-year institutions to learn of their current open education resource options, how they are being implemented and where they can expand. “The first two years, the model that I used was based off the University of Massachusetts Amherst that funded faculty grants for them to develop open education resource,” she said about the bill she sponsored.” Read more >

FROM CALIFORNIA: “At COC, 75 percent of students stated that the cost of books and supplies are the top barrier to them achieving their educational goals, according to the agenda item. The college also found that 70 percent of students said the cost of textbooks and supplies influences their enrollment choices and 67 percent of students said they were concerned their grades would suffer if they do not buy textbooks.” Read more >



Barbara Illowsky‏ @DrBSI: See the latest research on how #OER help #students learn in this special issue of #IRRODL:  @johnhiltoniii @cccoer




Interesting Reads Relating to Education and Open

Collaborating to Scale OER | Inside Higher Ed

Free textbooks for first-year university students could help improve retention rate | The Conversation CA

Textbooks in the Digital World | The Conversation US 

What Happened to Amazon Inspire, the Tech Giant’s Education Marketplace? | EdSurge

Districts Work to Close Digital Equity Gap | Ed Tech Magazine


Have suggestions for the next edition? Let us know at, or tweet us @OERdigest.

The OER Digest is a public newsletter distributed to a broad group of stakeholders across the higher education community. You can join the open Google Group or check out the distribution list here.

Regular Edition

OER Digest – June 15th, 2017

From Brady Yano (SPARC) | Volume 33 | June 15, 2017


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

ONTARIO’S OT LIBRARY: Last week, eCampusOntario announced the launch of a new virtual Open Textbook Library established to offer students a repository of resources which are licensed to be freely used, adapted, and distributed. The library will host 180 faculty reviewed OER, sourced from the BCcampus collection. The Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development also announced $1 million which will be put towards developing new OER.

NE OER SUMMIT RECAP: Earlier this week, the University of Massachusetts Amherst hosted the first Northeast Regional OER Summit. The main event brought together over 260 attendees from across the Northeast region (and beyond!) for a day focused on strategies and best practices for implementing OER on campus. Many of these attendees also attended an OER Leadership Day the day before. David Wiley of Lumen Learning and Marilyn Billings of UMass Amherst’s Open Education Initiative keynoted the event. Follow the conversation on Twitter at #NEOERsummit17.

DMAPS UPDATE: The Digital Instructional Materials Acquisition Policies for States (DMAPS,) an online database, initially launched by SETDA, has recently been updated. The online database that details states’ policies for digital instruction, shows state-by-state comparisons, which now includes filtering options such as “Open Educational Resources – Recommended/Endorsed by the State” and “Open Education Resources Materials Developed by State”. Read more>>

OER FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION: The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services has announced a new call for applications to establish and operate a center that will “design, develop, and disseminate digital open educational tools and resources to build the capacity of educators to use practices supported by evidence and improve results for students with disabilities.”

SAVINGS AT TCC: Tacoma Community College has officially saved students $2 million since to adoption of their Z-Degree Program in 2011! Congratulations to the team at TCC!

OPEN ED ADVISORS: The Open Education team at BCcampus has just announced the addition of two new Open Education Advisers, Lucas Wright and Rajiv Jhangiani! As Open Education Advisors, they will support open education projects, including the new Zed Cred degrees, OER grants, advocate for open education in B.C., and work with all B.C. post-secondary institutions to advance open education initiatives. Congratulations to Lucas and Rajiv!

FINALIST ONCE MORE: For the second year in a row, Curriki, has been named a 2017 SIIA CODiE Award finalist in the Digital Aggregation & Sharing Solution category. Curriki which hosts a free library of 265,000+ educator-vetted OER spanning all K-12 subject areas. The SIIA CODiE Awards are the premier awards for the software and information industries. Curriki has been honored as one of 160 finalists across the 34 education technology categories.

THANK YOU TJ BLISS: On behalf of the OER Digest team, we would like to take a moment to recognize TJ Bliss who as of yesterday has officially concluded his time at the Hewlett Foundation. Thank you for your support in making projects like the OER Digest possible, and for your insight shared during your time at Hewlett. We look forward to working with you in your new capacity at the Wiki Education Foundation!


Conferences, jobs, and other OER-related opportunities

EVENT: Cengage will be hosting a webcast entitled the Journey to OER on June 28th at 3 EDT. Click here to register.

EVENT: Registration for #OpenEd17 is now OPEN! The conference will be taking place Oct 11-13 in Anaheim, CA. Click here to register.

JOB: Open Up Resources is looking for a new Associate to join their team, based out of New York or Seattle. Click here to view the posting.

OPPORTUNITY: The Hewlett Foundation is looking for your feedback on its OER Metrics and Targets. All feedback is welcome here.

OPPORTUNITY: The Commonwealth of Learning is looking for your feedback on its Regional Consultations on Open Educational Resources: Stakeholder Survey. Click here to get started.

RESOURCE: Recordings of the keynotes from the University System of New Hampshire ATI 2017 have been made available here.


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

FROM IOWA: “Perhaps to you can relate to the struggle in finding the ‘right’ textbook for your course.  My office bookshelf is littered with my attempts. The ongoing search for a better book left me frustrated,” says Kirkwood Community College, Assistant Professor, Emily S. Logan. “The more frequently I taught the courses, the more I brought in ‘supplemental’ readings, outside of the required textbook.  From these experiences, I wondered if relying solely on open educational resources, as well as other non-copyrighted sources, would be a better alternative.” Read more>>

FROM UTAH: “Mower, who is an advocate of free open educational resources (OER), said there was a movement on campus led by librarians to get faculty to implement OER in their courses, but that many instructors were skeptical and balked at the idea. “If it hasn’t come through the publishing industry, it lacks peer review,” Archer recalled some Utah faculty members saying about OER. Read more>>


TJ Bliss‏ @tjbliss

Well…I just approved my last grant as a #Hewlett Program Officer (you’re welcome, @lpetrides @ISKME). It’s been a great ride, ya’ll. #OER


Interesting Reads Relating to Education and Open

Challenges in Curation: Successfully Integrating Open Educational Resources in the Classroom | Digital Promise

From Open to Action: Open Textbook Summit 2017 | BCcampus

OER Researchers Don’t Disaggregate Data on Diverse Students. Here’s Why They Should | EdSurge

Open Educational Resources Fill Gap for Underserved Students | EdWeek

Opening the Framework: Connecting Open Education Practices and Information Literacy | Open Oregon

Supporting the Full Life-Cycle for OER-Based Lessons is Critically Important | THE Journal

UC Irvine Secures Global Partnership with IEEE Computer Society | MarketWired


Have suggestions for the next edition?

Let us know at, or tweet us @OERdigest.

You can subscribe to the OER Digest here.



Regular Edition

OER Digest – June 1st, 2017

From Ethan Senack, Creative Commons USA | Volume 32 | June 1st, 2017
With help from Brady Yano (SPARC) and Katie Steen (SPARC)


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

OPEN LICENSING RULE: After numerous delays, the Department of Education’s Open Licensing Rule has gone into effect starting on May 22nd. The rule, finalized earlier this year, ensures that educational resources and other copyrightable works created with Department discretionary grant funds are openly licensed. A number of organizations wrote comments in support of implementing the rule, including this coalition letter.

LEGISLATIVE UPDATES: In Connecticut, the Senate passed SB948, which grants the state Office of Higher Education the authority to establish guidelines that encourage public and private colleges and universities to implement programs that reduce the cost of textbooks and other educational resources for students. In Maryland, Governor Hogan signed SB424, which provides a $100,000 grant to the University System of Maryland for their open textbook initiative. In TexasSB810 – which creates a state OER grant program, establishes protocols for OER course designations in course catalogs, and orders a statewide feasibility study – has been sent to the Governor for his signature.

ACROSS THE POND: More than 60 civil society and trade organizations are calling for the European Union to get copyright reform efforts back on track. From the letter: “Deliver a reform that is fit for purpose in the digital environment and that upholds and strengthens fundamental principles such as the rights of citizens to freedom of communication and access to knowledge”

B&N + UNIZIN: Barnes and Noble recently announced a partnership with the campus education consortium Unizin, to provide LoudCloud – their OER-based learning management system and learning analytics tools – to Unizin’s 22 member schools, including Penn State, Colorado State University, University of Michigan and Ohio State University.

REPORTING BACK: On May 24th-25th BCcampus hosted the 5th Annual Open Textbook Summit at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC. The Summit had more than 25 sessions with participation from a variety of Open Education advocates including faculty, student leaders, university administrators, librarians, government officials, and nonprofit policy staff. Ryan Merkley of Creative Commons and Kory Wilson of Aboriginal Initiatives and Partnerships, British Columbia Institute of Technology keynoted the Summit. Check out #OTSummit17 to see more photos and tweets from the Summit!


Conferences, jobs, and other OER-related opportunities

EVENT: The Rebus Community will be discussing accessibility and open textbooks during their June Office Hours taking place on June 5th at 3pm EDT. To RSVP, click here.

EVENT: The UMass Amherst Libraries will host the Northeast Regional OER Summit June 13-14. Registration is required and can be done here.

OPPORTUNITY: The OER Hub is looking for a few more participants to complete their survey on different models of Open, Online, Flexible and Technology Enhanced Learning in higher education. To participate, click here.

RESOURCE: Recordings from the Alberta OER Summit that took place on May 11th are available here.



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

FROM NEW YORK: “The college has an enrollment of almost 27,000 students, half of whom have household incomes under $20,000 and 4,000 of whom have taken one of the classes using OER. Now the school intends to expand the use of no-cost materials and generate cumulative savings of a million dollars.” Read More >

FROM GEORGIA: “Keeping college education affordable is a guiding principle at Dalton State, and one key way faculty members contribute is by collaborating to create open educational resources for their students allowing them to avoid buying costly textbooks for some classes. So far, 10 teams of Dalton State faculty and staff members have sought Affordable Learning Georgia grants to develop course materials, the second most such projects in the University System of Georgia. They have received more than $122 thousand in ALG grant funding to develop materials; cost savings to students over a three-year period could top $1 million.” Read More >



Rajiv Jhangiani‏ @thatpsychprof

Even the commercial publishers predict that use of #OER as primary materials will TRIPLE within 5 years #USNHShare



Interesting Reads Relating to Education and Open

OER Pioneer Predicts Community Colleges Will Dump Traditional Textbooks By 2024 | EdSurge

OER, Vertical and Horizontal | Inside Higher Ed

Tech and Costs | Inside Higher Ed

Cengage Continues to Show Strong Digital Growth | MENA Financial Network

Why Pearson shares ‘aren’t good value’ | What Investment


Have suggestions for the next edition?

Let us know at, or tweet us @OERdigest.

You can subscribe to the OER Digest here.