OER Digest – August 10th, 2017

From Ethan Senack (Creative Commons USA) | Volume 37 | August 10th, 2017

With updates from Manuela Ekowo, Jacob Berkman, and Brady Yano



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


ED REGULATIONS: As previously reported in this Digest, the Trump Administration has requested comments from the public on rules and regulations at the Department of Education that are overly burdensome or reduce local control – and ones that are working well. It is expected that the publishing association will submit comments in opposition to the recent open licensing rule, so expect an opportunity to sign onto a coalition letter similar to this one, highlighting the potential of the rule and how it works on behalf of the public.

STAX ON STACKS: Open textbook publisher OpenStax announced today that they’re expecting nearly 1.5 million students to use OpenStax books this year – saving an estimated $145 million. That estimate is nearly double their estimated student savings of last year.

STATE LEGISLATION: In California, legislation around innovative textbook pricing models and bulk purchasing agreements has passed the Senate and is under consideration in the House. A number of other states, including Ohio and North Carolina, will be returning from summer recess with OER and textbook legislation on the table. Check out SPARC’s new OER legislative tracking tool for more info.

NACS REPORT: A new report from the National Association of College Stores finds that student spending on textbooks has decreased slightly since last year, down to $579 on average per year from $602 in 2015. NACS cites OER as a factor in this decline. From their press release, key findings from the survey of nearly 20,000 students also include:

  • “Students are opting to rent more; campus store the primary source: 43% of students rented at least one course material in fall 2016 compared to 40% in fall 2015. And, 57% of students who rented a course material, did so through the campus store.”
  • “Campus store remains top source for course materials: In Fall 2016 students report that 82% of course materials were purchased from the campus store, 40% from Amazon, 8% from a peer/student, 7% from Chegg.com and 7% from a publisher website.”
  • “New print format is most purchased: In fall 2016, when purchasing course materials, 74% of students reported buying new print, 70% bought used print, and 23% bought digital. Purchasing of digital materials increased by 8% from 15 % in fall 2015 to 23% in fall 2016.”

OPEN UP RESOURCES: Announced this week that they are launching two new openly licensed K-12 core curricula. The first, a comprehensive high school math curriculum, will be designed in partnership with Illustrative Mathematics, and the second, a middle school English Language Arts curriculum, comes in partnership with the Louisiana Department of Education.

CAMPUS ACTION: A number of institutions made news this week for their work on OER – Florida International University for their new Textbook Affordability Taskforce and Cal State Fullerton for their new Affordable Learning Solutions ambassador program (both universities are also part of OpenStax’ institutional partners program); Ohio University for joining the Open Textbook Network; Borough of Manhattan Community College for converting the most courses to zero-textbook cost courses out of the CUNY system; and University of Wisconsin for a faculty member writing an open textbook.



Conferences, jobs, and other OER-related opportunities

EVENT: Creative Commons USA is hosting an #AskCC twitter chat for educators, librarians, and other practitioners to ask experts questions about licensing, copyright, and OER. The event will be on August 16th, at 2pm EST. Read more at http://bit.ly/askcctwitter

EVENT: Registration for the first Florida OER Summit on September 7-8th is now open. Register at https://www.flvc.org/oersummit.

EVENT: Registration for the 2017 MI OER Summit on September 22 is now open. Register at https://www.cvent.com/events/2017-mi-oer-summit/registration-6cd769897901462ba5f1c22dafa49d20.aspx?fqp=true.

OPPORTUNITY: There are a number of OER-focused panels up for consideration at next year’s SXSW, including Achieving Equity with Open Educational Resources, Can OER Take On The Publisher Giants?, What Happens When States Fund OER?, and The Information Revolution You’ve Never Heard Of, as well as many more. Create an account and upvote your choices here: https://auth.sxsw.com/users/sign_up.

RECORDING: Missed Monday’s ALA webinar with Anita Walz’ on her experience as a consultant on open education and the role of libraries in newly democratic post-soviet Kyrgyzstan? The recording is available here: http://connect.ala.org/node/268814.

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: “Veteran science teacher John Coe and his colleagues at North Lake Middle School in Lake Stevens, Washington, saw an instructional need that was not being addressed by their traditional textbooks. In 2013, they began using OER. With OER, Coe says, “we can edit down the sections of text quickly. We can create leveled readings [that] help solve some of the differences in reading levels … and give relevance to the text.” Now, student performance levels on eighth-grade state assessments are 10 percent to 15 percent higher than those in neighboring districts.” Read More >

FROM NEW YORK: “At CUNY, where almost half of the student body comes from households earning less than $20,000, officials said the cost of a student’s books can total as much as $1,200 a year. The officials said faculty members were converting 350 popular courses to free digital materials for the fall and were being trained on their use. These resources will be shared publicly. The infusion of funding for this project is “a real shot in the arm for efforts to make college attendance even more affordable,” said CUNY Chancellor James Milliken. He said the course catalog will show which classes have no textbook fees, and, in a year or two, some CUNY degrees won’t require such fees.” Read More >



Via: Layla Bonnot‏ @LaylaBonnot Aug 3  Click to ReTweet >>

From Washington to Utah, #OER help #students succeed. @CCSSO shares their stories: http://bit.ly/2v3og9F  @The74



Interesting Reads Relating to Education and Open

Free Online Course Materials Help Take Textbooks off N.Y. Students’ Shoulders | Wall Street Journal


To Find Alternatives to Capitalism, Think Small: Why co-ops, regional currencies, and hackerspaces are pointing the way toward a new economic vision | The Nation


Big Publishing Wants To Co-Opt The Open Textbook Revolution | Fast Company


Nowhere is tech more important than in curriculum-here’s why | eSchool News


The Pros and Cons of OER | Direct Network



Have suggestions for the next edition? Let us know at oerdigest@gmail.com, 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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s