OER Digest – November 8th, 2017

From Brady Yano and Katie Steen (SPARC) | Volume 44 | November 9th, 2017


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

DISTRICT ADOPTION RATES: A new report by the Babson Survey Research Group investigates the process by which K-12 school districts select curricula materials in four critical subject areas: Mathematics, English Language Arts, Science, and History and Social Studies. The key findings while expansive include the following:

  • Over three-quarters of K-12 districts have made at least one full-course curricula adoption decision over the past three years, with the need to meet changing standards driving most of these decisions
  • Most districts make an adoption decision for Mathematics (59%), followed by English Language Arts (44%), Science (29%), and History and Social Studies (19%).
  • Districts with a high proportion of students in poverty have adopted open licensed full course curricula materials at twice the rate of districts with low rates of child poverty (22% as compared to 10%).

ON THE RISE?: Earlier this week, Inside Higher Ed published a story on “inclusive access” highlighting the publishing industry’s move to new business models. In the article, OER advocates Nicole Allen and Rajiv Jhangiani cited concerns that these models allow publishers to control when and how students access materials while restricting student choice. Catch up on Nicole Allen’s tweetstorm on inclusive access models here.  

ZED CRED: Last week, Kwantlen Polytechnic University and BCcampus announced the release of Canada’s first Zed Cred! Students working towards a Certificate of Arts at KPU can now choose from nearly 50 zero textbook cost course offerings. As part of BCcampus’ Open Textbook Project anniversary last month, they announced that KPU is their leading institutional adopter.

TEXTBOOK GAME: No, we’re not kidding! Staff from De Anza College developed a new game aimed at showcasing how students struggle with college expenses, especially textbooks. The game is licensed CC BY, and is available for download and adaption here.

OER METAFINDER: Last month, George Mason University in collaboration with Deep Web Technologies released a new resource marketed as a one-stop search box for Open and Affordable Educational Resources. The resource sources its findings from many popular OER repositories and referatories such as MERLOT, OER Commons, and the Open Textbook Library. You can learn more about the resource here.

IT’S UP TO LIBRARIANS: Acknowledging the progress made in other states, a new paper written by Steven Bell and Joseph Salem outlines a framework for how Pennsylvania’s academic librarians can develop a statewide initiative to tackle the challenge of textbook affordability.


Upcoming Events, Proposal and Registration Deadlines, Report-Backs  

REGISTER: OpenCon Live will be taking place this weekend, November 11-13th. Tune in for a few hours, or a few days, from wherever you are to become an expert in different areas of Open, build your network, and get involved in an Open project or two! http://www.opencon2017.org/opencon_2017_live

REGISTER: Michigan is hosting a #GoOpen Summit at three sites across the state on December 5th.The program’s breakout sessions are designed for K-12 district administrators. http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mde/GoOpen_Summit_Flyer_600903_7.pdf

CALL FOR PROPOSALS: BCcampus’ Festival of Learning is set to return next spring! The deadline to submit a proposal is December 11th. https://bccampus.ca/festival-of-learning-2018/call-for-proposals/


Quick snapshots of those making change on the ground level, and those impacted

FROM ALBERTA: “The next steps are really looking at the longevity of the OER pilot project, of its potential renewal and of the effectiveness of this first go-around,” Miller said. “Ideally in the future, this pilot project, if successful, gets expanded to impact more and more students, especially lower-year classes, first-year and second-year students who have especially expensive textbooks.” Read more>

FROM CALIFORNIA: “A summer’s worth of research eventually led Harris into his fall semester film documentary class with a big idea to find the answer to the question: why are textbooks so expensive? So Harris along with classmate Evan Waugh, a 28-year-old film major, decided to find out by focusing on how students are affected by the inelasticity of the textbook market in their short documentary.” Read more>

FROM SASKATCHEWAN: “King stressed that although textbook cost is very important when he is assigning textbooks for his courses, the textbook must meet his minimum standards. The textbook has to be peer reviewed and King knew the reputation of the open textbook author, Dr. Timothy Taylor. King, himself, has written for textbooks in the past and was looking for a textbook that included instructor materials, such as powerpoints, solution manuals, and testbanks.” Read more>


Each edition, we’ll highlight an interesting, new, openly-licensed resource

The Open Textbook Network has added a new title, Beginning Japanese for Professionals: Book 2. This textbook is designed for beginning learners who want to learn basic Japanese for the purpose of living and working in Japan.


Interesting Discussions and Strategic Reads to Repost or Share

Great to Share >>

OER: Bigger Than Affordability | Inside Higher Ed


Interesting to Consider >>

Faculty Buy-in Builds, Bit by Bit: Survey of Faculty Attitudes on Technology | Inside Higher Ed


How Two Virginia Colleges Are Reducing Costs and Accelerating Completion | Washington Post


Nonprofit Launching 2 New OER English Language Arts Curricula | THE Journal


Pricey College ‘Extras’ Undercut Student Efforts to Graduate | Campus Technology


States, Not Publishers, Driving Innovation in the Curriculum Marketplace | New America


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