OER Digest – September 7th, 2017

From Katie Steen and Brady Yano (SPARC) | Volume 39 | September 7th, 2017

With updates from Apurva Ashok and Ethan Senack


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

HOT OFF THE PRESS: This week SPARC released the first “Connect OER Annual Report, 2016-2017,” detailing insights from their Connect OER pilot which ran from May – July 2017. The report comprises of information collected from 65 SPARC member institutions. During the pilot phase, Connect OER profiles were available only for SPARC member institutions. In early October, all higher education institutions in the U.S. and Canada will have the opportunity to join the directory. To be notified when registration is available, academic libraries may sign up here. Key Insights:

  • Libraries are the most engaged entity on campus in efforts to advance OER.
  • Mathematics and statistics is the academic subject with the most OER traction.
  • Nearly half of the participating institutions have a faculty or staff person with explicit OER responsibilities.
  • SPARC member institutions saved students an estimated $5 million through the use of OER in the 2016-2017 academic year.

STATE UPDATE: The Colorado Open Educational Resources Council, created after a bill passed the Colorado legislature this session, has already started meeting to discuss the current state of OER in the state and to develop recommendations for future OER development. You can check out Council membership and meeting agendas here. A digital discount bill in California, SB 727, has been amended after OER advocates in the state expressed concerns over the bill’s impact on OER and students. The amendments removed language promoting digital materials that can only be “used within a course” and added language to protect students from being required to purchase materials through an “innovative pricing technique”.

REBUS RESOURCE: The Rebus Community has developed a new resource to support those interested in running an open textbook project in their classroom. The new collaboratively-created Guide to Making Open Textbooks With Students contains project ideas, case studies, resources, sample assignments and more. You can learn more about the project here.

AMAZON INSPIRE: The Amazon Inspire Beta—geared towards the K-12 OER market—has once again started to allow contributors to upload OER to the site. This time, however, all content submitted is set to be reviewed prior to publishing. The Beta allows four different Creative Commons licenses and an Amazon Inspire Custom License.

PLATFORM LAUNCH: The Creative Commons Global Network announced the launch of their Open Education Platform, an international community focused on collaboration and coordination around furthering open education. These platforms are open to all interested parties working in the platform area and adjacent spaces. Those interested can join via Slack, Google Groups, or phone from the link above.

‘OPEN’ MATH: Open Up Resources released an open version of major middle-school math curriculum aligned with the Common Core Standards. The most recent release comes with edits from feedback gathered after the curriculum was initially piloted. Open Up Resources will provide training on how to use the open curriculum for an added cost.



Conferences, jobs, and other OER-related opportunities

EVENT: Please note that due to potential impacts from Hurricane Irma, the Florida OER Summit has been postponed.

EVENT: The Rebus Community and Open Textbook Network are hosting their September Office Hour event on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in OER. The call will be taking place on September 26th at 12pm EDT. Click here to RSVP.  

EVENT: The Lumen Learning team is holding office hours from 4:30-5:30 ET Monday-Friday for anyone that needs help with Lumen Candela and Waymaker courses and Open Educational Resources (OER). http://lumenlearning.com/office-hours/

JOB: Farmingdale State College is looking for a new Scholarly Communication Librarian at the Greenley Library. Applications close on September 29th.  https://farmingdale.interviewexchange.com/jobofferdetails.jsp?JOBID=88908.  

JOB: The University of Tennessee, Chattanooga Library is hiring for a Director of Desk and Patron Experience. Applications opened on August 28th and will remain open until the position is filled. https://www.utc.edu/library/about/jobs/index.php

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 CALIFORNIA: “For me, it was getting over this textbook mentality, which was developed before the internet was around,” says Farmer, a recipient of Sonoma State’s Excellence in Teaching Award. “When I started teaching, I thought you have to have a textbook for the course. That’s how I learned to do it.” Read more >>

FROM MICHIGAN: “One of the big initiatives that I’m working on is open textbooks,” Appiagyei-Dankah said. “I just really think that textbook affordability is something that is really important and it is a huge barrier to student success, so I’d really like to have some faculty members adopt open textbooks.” Read more >>


Open Up Resources @OpenUpResources Aug 28th

BIG NEWS! We’ve debuted our first freely licensed curriculum. Check out Illustrative Mathematics 6–8 Math: http://im.openupresources.org  #OER


Interesting Reads Relating to Education and Open

An Unlikely ESSA Provision: Warning on Copyright Piracy | Education Week


Free Textbooks? Effort Aims to Take Some Financial Burden Off Students’ Shoulders | Berkeley Library


State to Study Open Source Materials to Lower Textbook Costs | The Durango Herald


Barnes & Noble Education Shares Plunge on Earnings Miss | USA Today


Sharing Information Globally: BU Should Utilize OER in order to Benefit Students | Pipe Dream



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.


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